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Florida guv Ron DeSantis heckled at press con after new Covid-19 cases break record: 'You're doing nothing'

The protester targeted the governor in Miami where he claimed the pandemic was under control, even as state recorded 15k new cases
Ron DeSantis (Getty Images)
Ron DeSantis (Getty Images)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continued to face an angry audience as coronavirus cases spiked in the Sunshine State. On Monday, July 13, he was heckled at a press conference in Miami where he said the pandemic was under control. A young man from the audience named Thomas Kennedy started shouting at the 41-year-old Republican governor saying: “People are dying, and you are doing nothing!” He also accused the governor of giving false information and misleading people and wanted him to resign.

On Sunday, July 12, Florida reported more than 15,000 new cases that broke the daily record reported by any state since the outbreak of the pandemic that has hit more than 3.3 million people in the US and claimed more than 135,582 lives, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Internet called for DeSantis’s resignation after his administration was accused of downplaying the seriousness of the outbreak. Florida has seen 4,277 deaths as of now.

On July 13, as DeSantis started speaking, Kennedy said the governor was busy blaming the protesters even as thousands were dying. “Shame on you!” he yelled. The governor continued with his speech as the heckler was shifted away from the room. Kennedy, an activist with United We Dream, an immigrant-led youth organization, later posted a video of his act on social media and boasted about it.

People at  a Florida beach after Governor Ron DeSantis opened the beaches in early May (Getty Images)

DeSantis, a former Congressman and an ally of President Donald Trump, backed the latter’s push to reopen the country fast even as the pandemic refused to die down. After the record-making spike on Sunday, July 12, the state witnessed another big rise in cases on Monday with 12,624 positive cases and 35 deaths, as per Florida’s health department.

Miami is the new Wuhan, says expert

The poor state of affairs in Florida became more evident when Miami’s Republican Mayor Francis Suarez announced the same day that nearly half of the state’s intensive-care units are at least 90 percent full while more than one in five is completely full. Lilian Abbo, an infectious-disease expert from the University of Miami Health System called Miami the new epicenter of the pandemic, adding that the city was displaying the state that Wuhan, China, went through six months ago. 

Carlos Gimenez, the Republican mayor of Miami-Dade County, said on July 13 that the positivity rate for Covid-19 tests in his area was more than 25 percent. He called for a curfew at 10 pm “to try and drive the rate down”. He urged people to abide by the rules and also warned that a new lockdown will be in place if rules were flouted. Florida’s beaches were crowded last weekend despite the steep spike in the cases.

The state has also found a shortage of remdesivir, the only drug that has helped the coronavirus patients somewhat, despite New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sending medication worth a day to the Sunshine State. The shipment could only act as a stopgap and treated 280 patients. The state was still waiting to get the drug from the federal government. DeSantis said that he personally secured new supply of the antiviral drug from the president and strongly denied that the state required help from NY.

He said 144,000 people were tested on Saturday, July 11 — a figure, he claimed, was not seen in the entire US in March. He added that 85 percent of those who were tested were not positive and assured that things have stabilized and were moving in the right direction.

The state’s latest positivity rate is 11.5 per cent, down from nearly 20 per cent last week, the Mail reported.