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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26)

Mucarsel-Powell Calls On Florida Governor And Inspector General To Address Concerning Pattern Of Sharing Misleading And Incomplete COVID-19 Data

Building On Her Reputation As The Public’s Watchdog During This Crisis, Mucarsel-Powell Calls For Decisions To Be Made Based On Trustworthy Information And Input From Experts

Washington, April 30, 2020

MIAMI, FL – Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26) released the following statement following reports that Florida medical examiners were ordered by the state to stop releasing data on coronavirus deaths:

“I am extremely concerned that Governor DeSantis is taking steps to relax safety measures across our state, while major news outlets continue to uncover examples of his administration attempting to manipulate the very data being used to justify those public health decisions. If those reports are true, it amounts to an active suppression of information aimed at lulling the public into a false sense of safety,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “We cannot effectively respond to this threat to our community’s health and safety if the information we’re receiving is incomplete or misleading. This is not the first time I have heard reports of inaccurate data coming from the Florida Department of Health. I call on the governor to address this issue immediately and on Florida’s inspector general to investigate this extremely concerning matter. Floridians must be able to trust that our elected leaders are making decisions based on trustworthy data and the advice of experts, especially when lives are on the line.” 

  • On March 23, Mucarsel-Powell sent a letter to Gov. DeSantis citing a March 21 WRLN report on inconsistency in the cases being reported and with patients disappearing from the state’s case data, and called for increased transparency.
  • On April 11, Mucarsel-Powell released a statement after a Miami Herald article reported that the State of Florida is significantly under-reporting the state’s COVID-19 testing backlog.
  • On April 13, NBC 6 South Florida reported that “the State of Florida asked Miami-Dade to restrict information of COVID-19 deaths.”
  • On April 14, Local 10 reported that “Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees [was] escorted from [the] room shortly after making comments” on the “need to practice social distancing until there’s a [COVID-19] vaccine.”
  • On April 20, Mucarsel-Powell requested that state and county executives include public health experts in press conferences and updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.
  • April 29, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Florida medical examiners were ordered by the state to stop releasing data on coronavirus deaths.