July 16, 2024

Two years after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration was sued for not sharing info on the unfold of COVID-19, the case is now settled and the state will once more have to start out offering weekly virus updates to a web based dashboard.

Former Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith introduced the settlement Monday, after suing the Florida Division of Well being (FDOH) for denying his public data request for COVID-19 information from 2021. Whereas neither the FDOH or Florida Surgeon Common Dr. Joseph Ladapo admitted any fault in denying the request, Smith mentioned the state has agreed to cowl his greater than $152,000 in authorized charges and also will present COVID-19 information to the general public for the following three years, together with weekly updates on circumstances, deaths, and vaccination charges.

“All Floridians have a constitutional proper to public data and the precise to obtain essential public well being information in a well timed method with a view to make knowledgeable selections impacting the well being and security of their households,” Smith mentioned in a statement. “The Division LIED concerning the existence of those public data in courtroom and did every little thing to limit info and downplay the specter of COVID even whereas the Delta variant ripped by way of Florida — a choice that price many lives.” 

Florida stopped posting each day COVID-19 updates on-line in June 2021, citing a lower within the variety of circumstances and a rise in vaccination charges. Many different states later adopted go well with.

FDOH spokesman Jae Williams III criticized Smith’s lawsuit as a “political stunt,” saying it is unlucky that the state is losing authorities assets “arguing over the formatting of knowledge with armchair epidemiologists who’ve zero coaching or experience.”

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