Florida Virus ‘Out of Control,’ Lockdown Needed: Ex-HHS Chief

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Democratic Representative Donna Shalala said Florida’s Covid-19 outbreak is “totally out of control” and called for a lockdown of the third most-populous U.S. state.

“It’s terrible,” and talking about reopening schools is “ridiculous,” Shalala, whose South Florida district sits within Miami-Dade County, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

She faulted the Trump administration and Governor Ron DeSantis for reopening the state too soon, adding that low-income minority residents were bearing the brunt because employers are demanding they return to work.

“It’s the working poor, it’s seniors, it’s now young people and it’s totally out of control,” said Shalala, who served as Health and Human Services Secretary under President Bill Clinton. “We need to close down again in Florida.”

DeSantis has declined to impose a mask-wearing mandate in Florida, which reported a record 156 virus-related deaths among residents on Thursday. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has signaled he wouldn’t rule out a full lockdown after imposing restrictions including a 10 p.m. curfew in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

Florida deaths and new infections have slowed in the last two days; on Sunday the state reported that cases had risen by 3.7% against the previous 7-day average of 4.1%.

“I care deeply about the economy, but first I care about human life,” Shalala said.

“With our hospitals filled and the lack of appropriate testing and getting results, the lack of medicines — we’ve had to beg for medicines that would save lives — we simply cannot protect the economy if we don’t protect the lives of the people in our community,” she said.

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