TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As cases of the coronavirus spread beyond China, throughout Asia and now into Italy and Iraq, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) says the Chinese are withholding important information about the virus.
Meanwhile, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) is calling for his own state to be more transparent about the deadly disease.
“It’s hard for us to address it appropriately if we don’t know what the facts are,” said Crist.
The Congressman sent a letter to the Florida Surgeon General asking for information about the spread of the virus to be released. The Florida Department of Health says it is limited by state law about the release of this kind of information.
“The Department is unable to comment regarding potential cases of COVID-19. Pursuant to section 381.0031(6), Florida Statutes and Rules 64D-3.036 and 3.041 of the Florida Administrative Code, information contained within a required case report or collected as part of an epidemiological investigation is confidential and exempt from provisions of section 119.071(1), Florida Statutes,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “However, information regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be made available as quickly as possible should one occur.”
Crist says there is an exemption in the law that allows the information to be released if it is in the interest of public safety.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) says he plans to work with Crist on the issue.
“We want as much transparency as we can. It’s mainly in China and different parts of Asia but we’ve got to be careful in our own country because we don’t want to let it get out of control,” said Buchanan.