The Florida Department of Health’s county-level spokespeople were ordered in September to stop issuing public statements about COVID-19 until after the Nov. 3 election.
The DeSantis administration refused to reveal details about the first suspected cases in Florida, then denied the virus was spreading from person to person — despite mounting evidence that it was.
State officials withheld information about infections in schools, prisons, hospitals and nursing homes, relenting only under pressure or legal action from family members, advocacy groups and journalists.
The DeSantis administration brushed aside scientists and doctors who advocated conventional approaches to fighting the virus, preferring scientists on the fringes who backed the governor’s positions.
The governor’s spokesman regularly takes to Twitter to spread misinformation about the disease, including the false claim that COVID was less deadly than the flu.
The governor highlighted statistics that would paint the rosiest picture possible and attempted to cast doubt on the validity of Florida’s rising death toll.