In a week when the Sunshine State is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D) is calling for the CDC to release the state’s breakthrough COVID-19 data. In a letter sent to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC Director, the gubernatorial hopeful called for the information to be released.
Florida has added more than 85,000 COVID cases, but exactly how many of those people have been vaccinated is not known.
The Tampa Bay Times released a report arguing that the Florida Department of Health was refusing to provide news organizations with the data regarding “breakthrough” cases.
In his letter, Rep. Crist comments that “the State of Florida claims that withholding this data is necessary to protect the personally identifiable health information of Floridians.”
Calling it “nonsense,” Crist added that he was “proud that our state has some of the strongest transparency and open government laws in the nation.”
Because of this, “Florida’s public access laws clearly state that data can be made public ‘when necessary to public health,’” and ‘if this this isn’t necessary to public health – especially in the face of an omicron-driven surge – then nothing is.”
At the end of 2021, Florida experienced the lowest cases in the entire country, but with the spread of the omicron variant, the state has been battling a surge in cases that becomes larger each day.
“Now that we’re facing an intense outbreak of the highly infectious omicron variant, time and information are of the essence,” Crist wrote, noting that “our researchers, scientists, and policymakers at all levels should have a full understanding of what we know about the variant so far, as well as how it is impacting vaccinated and boosted Floridians.”
Crist also criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) in the letter, writing that “Florida has refused to provide regular, useful data on COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccination rates for months – even as the state once again became the global epicenter for infections and death.”
This alleged misinformation, Crist calls “a hallmark of the DeSantis administration.”