Thomas Kennedy, the state director for immigrant advocacy group United We Dream, interrupted a joint coronavirus press briefing in Miami-Dade County held by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez to bring attention to the state’s failure to contain the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
Florida reported another 12,624 coronavirus cases Monday bringing the statewide total to 282,435. Another 35 fatalities were also reported bringing the death toll to 4,277. Today’s numbers mark a single-day decrease from the record-shattering 15,300 new cases Florida had reported on Sunday, but it is still the second-highest single-day increase in the state since the pandemic began.
Just minutes into Monday’s press briefing, Kennedy stood up from his seat and shouted: “Shame on you! You are an embarrassment!”
“We’re getting record-breaking cases every day, and you are doing nothing!” he continued as the Republican governor paused his remarks. “You are falsifying information and you are misleading the public!”
“Over 4,000 people have died, and you are blaming the protesters!” he continued, as staffers attempted to lead him out. “You guys have no plan, and you are doing nothing!”
“Shame on you! Shame on both of you!” he said as he left the room.
I just interrupted a press conference in Miami-Dade to let governor @RonDeSantisFL and @MayorGimenez know they are an embarrassment to FL and that their incompetence and lack of planning has resulted in the current public health crisis.
4,381 people have died so far in FL pic.twitter.com/q6SozHfT8o
— Thomas Kennedy (@tomaskenn) July 13, 2020
DeSantis’ administration was accused late last month of “cooking the books” in an effort to hide the true impact of the devastating pandemic.
The claim came from the state’s former leading Covid-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones.
Jones, who says she was fired from her job in charge of the state’s official Covid-19 database in May for refusing to manipulate its figures, claimed on social media to have evidence that employees at Florida’s department of health “have been instructed this week to change the numbers and begin slowly deleting deaths and cases so it looks like Florida is improving next week in the lead-up to July 4, like they’ve ‘made it over the hump’.”
“They’re only reporting all these cases now so they can restrict reporting next week to make everyone think it’s over,” she said.
DeSantis, who last month refused to slow Florida’s reopening or implement a statewide mask mandate, angrily dismissed the claim, calling a reporter from the Miami Herald who asked him about it “embarrassing”.
“You guys have been on the conspiracy bandwagon for months,” he snapped at a press conference on Thursday, without addressing the specifics of Jones’s assertion. “You need to move on.”