TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The state is in full COVID-19 resurgence, according to the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report.
The reports are sent to governors weekly. Some states publish them, but others do not.
Florida is one of at least 13 states not making the info public, despite the vital insight it might provide.
The Jan. 10 release painted a bleak picture of the Sunshine State, saying, "Florida is in full COVID-19 resurgence, which will drive significant fatalities for many weeks and stress the staffing of the hospital system."
The report, made public by ABC News, recommended "aggressive immunization" ASAP.
"Everyone wants to get to the end of this as fast as possible," said Florida Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz. "People are anxious."
Moskowitz has been coordinating the state's vaccine effort. About 770,000 getting shots have been given to date, he said, despite a bumpy start for seniors.
More shots are expected in the coming weeks, but the director believed limited supply from the federal government had become an issue for the time being.
“It’s not that they can't get it because of anything we're doing," Moskowitz said. "They can't get it because we have 4.3 million 65 and older people, and we're getting 250,000 a week. It's just supply and demand."
While Florida waits, the White House report also strongly urged continued use of face masks, strict social distancing and other mitigation. Those are protections Florida's governor is against mandating.
"Mandates, lockdowns, fines -- we're just not doing that," DeSantis said during a news briefing last week. "They are not effective. Let me tell you that right now."
The limited-government Republican has also issued an executive order to keep locals from enforcing their mandates. Democrats have insisted he rescind it, worried it's helping fuel the state's case surge.
"A lot of this has been a lack of leadership from Gov. DeSantis, in really tying the hands of local governments to have the sort of measures that they need," said State Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa. "When you politicize a public healthcare crisis, then that means that people are no longer as willing to listen to the health care professionals."
Time will tell if residents do listen as Florida enters COVID's dark winter.