we interrupt this press conference
July 14, 2020

During a press conference on Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was interrupted by an activist who accused him of misleading the public over the true number of coronavirus cases in the state.

Florida is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with public health experts saying the rapid increase is due to the state reopening too early and without enough precautions. DeSantis' press conference, held at a Miami hospital, came one day after Florida recorded 15,300 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day total of any state since the beginning of the pandemic.

While DeSantis was speaking, a heckler in the audience began shouting at him, yelling, "Shame on you! You are an embarrassment!" The man was identified as Thomas Kennedy, Florida director of the immigration advocacy group United We Dream. Kennedy accused DeSantis of "doing nothing" and "falsifying information" about the extent of the coronavirus crisis in the state. As he was escorted out of the room, Kennedy declared that DeSantis is "deceiving the public" and "should resign." DeSantis did not respond.

On Saturday, Rebekah Jones, Florida's former data chief, published an op-ed in USA Today saying the state's COVID-19 data is "unreliable, confusing, and hazardous to our health." Jones said she was fired in May because she refused to "manually manipulate" data at the request of state leaders. Catherine Garcia

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