March 17, 2022

Report Finds No Merit to Claims that DeSantis Suppressed COVID Data at UF

By Eric Daugherty

March 17th, 2022 Updated 8:16 A.M. ET

GAINESVILLE (FCV) – According to a recent investigation by the University of Florida, there is no merit to allegations promulgated by left-wing political figures that there were state efforts to suppress or destroy COVID-19 research data.

In October of 2020, a single incident occurred in which a Florida Department of Health Official was concerned about how researchers at the University were using the data. The report said that the initial investigation likely arose from the incident.

According to the report, researchers were contracted with the Florida Department of Health to assist in public health assistance. They had to abide by an agreement in which they may not release the data and must follow certain rules.

However, some staff shared the data during a meeting that violated the agreement. The issue was quickly resolved.

After allegations were lobbed at the state of Florida for ‘suppressing’ COVID-19 data, prominent Democrat figures like Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for governor said that the Chair of the University Board of Trustees must “resign for silencing professors,” and claimed that the issue stemmed from Governor Ron DeSantis “politiciz[ing]” COVID-19.

Fellow Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist also went after the Governor on social media in Summer 2021, citing a conspiracy theory that the state is suppressing COVID-19 data, saying that “Hiding daily COVID numbers is something out of an authoritarian regime playbook.”

“End the confusion and release the numbers,” he said.

Now, the University’s report debunks their suppression claims.

Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ Press Secretary, took a victory lap on Twitter, saying that Nikki Fried should “apologize when proven wrong.”

Florida Department of Health Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern released a statement, saying that “Since day one, the Florida Department of Health consistently and transparently reported data to the public.”

“Conspiracy theories around the Department continue to circle the national media and get pushed by state-wide elected officials within Florida. Meanwhile, these conspiracy theories continue to be dismantled, but those that made the unfounded allegations never circle back and apologize to the Department,” he continued.

“Being an epidemiologist isn’t easy, and the Department is proud of the hard work our epidemiologists continue to do daily. We couldn’t ask for a better team.”

At the time of reporting, neither Nikki Fried nor Charlie Crist have issued corrections or apologies on the idea that DeSantis or the Department of Health suppressed COVID-19 data.

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