Competition with Joe Biden pushes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to do his job

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  • Photo via Ron DeSantis / Twitter

Stating that the “federal government is not going to come up” with a plan to distribute coronavirus tests to homes, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday the state was refining its own strategy to send tests to vulnerable Floridians.

DeSantis has tested for COVID-19 the latest front in its clashes with President Joe Biden’s administration, after the White House last month announced a plan to distribute 500 million home coronavirus tests nationwide . The distribution of tests has not yet started.

At a Jacksonville press conference on Tuesday, DeSantis said the state was not waiting.

“As soon as we realized the federal government was not going to follow through on this, we got to work. We will definitely send home tests. The question is how much, ”DeSantis told reporters.

The governor’s comments came a day after State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo announced that the Florida Department of Health intended to release new testing guidelines to focus on “High value tests”, which he said would target the elderly and the medically vulnerable.

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Ladapo, teasing the state’s new testing guidelines on Monday, said he would seek to “unravel the psychology of testing” from the federal government.

Asked about Ladapo’s comments, White House press secretary Jen Psaki referred Tuesday to “our own medical and medical experts to find out when the tests should be administered and used.”

At Tuesday’s press conference with DeSantis, Ladapo clarified the state’s plan. He said the advice will be geared towards “populations for whom testing is more likely to change results.”

“The advice we’re going to publish will talk about… testing based on risk factors, based on level of risk. Because that’s the main thing that determines whether a test is really likely to make a difference, ”Ladapo said.

DeSantis said his administration intends to prioritize nursing homes, assisted living facilities, seniors’ communities and local emergency management and health departments for testing.

Amid the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus, DeSantis has also criticized the use of testing as a means of allowing people to travel on airplanes or return to work.

“A lot of these tests are not a good use for testing. Testing really should be focused on people with clinical symptoms. So you have symptomatic people, and they might not have as good access because you have so many other tests being used in a way that is really not a good use of resources, ”said the governor.

As DeSantis and Ladapo aim for mass testing, the state Department of Health released a report on Friday that showed 298,455 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the week ending December 30. , more than double the number of cases reported a week earlier.

Amid the delay in rolling out Biden’s plan, DeSantis – who is widely speculated as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate – appears to be pushing for a race with the federal government to have tests shipped first.

Biden said on Tuesday that new federal testing sites were being set up across the country. Home test kits will be available in a few weeks, according to the president.

“As I announced recently, the federal government is launching a website this month where you can get tests shipped free to your home on your request,” Biden said at a team meeting. White House COVID-19 response.

The president also said a federal requirement that insurance companies reimburse Americans for home tests would go into effect next week.

Florida Democrats on Tuesday blasted DeSantis’ plan to cut coronavirus testing for the general population as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, said on Tuesday that the governor’s approach was “fewer tests means fewer cases.”

US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the proposal “is not based on science and ignores the reality that people find themselves in.”

“So many Florida families have multigenerational households, which makes the governor’s and surgeon general’s plan to discourage testing for asymptomatic people and downright dangerous children,” Wasserman Schultz told reporters.

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