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Lee County, DeSantis respond to unpublished report prepared for White House Coronavirus Task Force

Posted at 6:11 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 06:54:47-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla -- An unpublished report prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force is getting a lot of attention, after it recommended 18 states, including Florida, consider rolling back reopening.

The report says states like Florida are in the COVID-19 "red zone," and recommends things like a mandatory mask mandate at all times.

The unpublished 359-page document was obtained by the nonprofit Newsroom Center for Public Integrity.

Florida is listed in the coronavirus red zone with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people. It's also flagged for having a positivity rate above 10%. According to the latest state report, that number was as high as 18.5% over the past two weeks.

In addition to recommending that 18 states, including Florida, have citizens wear a mask at all times, it also recommends the following:

  • Social distancing
  • Close all bars and gyms
  • Limit social gatherings to 10 people.

On multiple occasions, Governor Ron DeSantis has remained firm that he will not roll back Florida's reopening.

Masks are not mandatory on a state level in Florida. But stores like Walmart will start requiring them as of Monday. Publix is doing so starting Tuesday.

Lee County has also released a statement, saying in part that it's reviewing the unpublished report and saying it will compare the data against that from the state Department of Health and Lee Health.

"This is a leaked report, so we don’t know if the recommendations are actual, official recommendations. Regardless, many of them are recommendations that can only be handled at a state level."
-Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais

Governor DeSantis recently responded to the document during a press conference.

“I think the fact that we're testing so much....has put out numbers that have not been fair," he said.

Southwest Florida is one of the specific areas flagged in the report for having counties with high cases, and is one of the areas it suggests these safety measures need to be taken.