Miami Herald by Mary Ellen Klas
March 1, 2021
A year ago on March 1, 2020, Florida announced its first two cases of the novel coronavirus, and declared a public health emergency recognizing the emergence of the novel coronavirus. Only later did we learn that the spread of COVID-19 in Florida likely began in January, if not earlier, but as late as March 11, as the White House downplayed the virus, Gov. Ron DeSantis denied that community spread was taking place in Florida.
Here is a summary of the state of transparency in Florida over the last year:
Jan. 24: The Florida Department of Health acknowledges the existence of the novel coronavirus and launches a bare-bones web page with information.
Jan. 27: Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledges at a news conference that the state is monitoring the virus and calls it a “significant public health threat.”
Feb. 15: Raul Pino, the newly appointed director of the Department of Health’s office in Orange County, sends an email to FDOH that he is growing concerned about COVID-19 overwhelming his resources and asks the state to declare an emergency to allow his agency to monitor dozens of potential COVID-19 patients.