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December 1, 2020

FL’s grim milestone — at least 1 million COVID-19 infections; critics blast DeSantis for ‘hands-off’ approach to pandemic [Florida Phoenix]

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Issac Morgan of Florida Phoenix News writes:

"For the first time, Florida has reached at least 1 million COVID-19 infections, a grim milestone that rose over nine months’ time, beginning with two coronavirus cases announced Sunday, March 1, to 1,008,166 on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Over that period, the global pandemic sparked economic hardships, from lockdowns, school closures, and job losses, to Florida’s unemployment benefits nightmare, businesses losses, state revenue losses, and even entire industries struggling to survive.

The state now joins only two other states in the nation — Texas and California —with at least 1 million infections, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both Texas and California have already surpassed the 1 million milestone.

...

Knight. of Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added] argued that state officials should implement better policies and take certain steps “to put the Sunshine State on a better path,” such as expanding health programs such as Medicaid, generally for those with limited income.

Florida lawmakers have failed to expand the Medicaid program that provides health services for the most vulnerable population.

'Following the lead of 38 other states and D.C. to expand Medicaid to all adults with low income would help Floridians access critical, life-saving medication and affordable, comprehensive health care services,' Knight said in an email.

'Right now, our state has one of the lowest Medicaid income thresholds in the nation. On the federal level, Congress needs to approve additional, flexible COVID-19 aid.'"

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