DeSantis: Schools, feds won’t mandate masks. If they do, he’ll have Legislature ban them (Miami Herald)

Miami Herald: DeSantis: Schools, feds won’t mandate masks. If they do, he’ll have Legislature ban them. “As Florida schools return to in-person learning next month and COVID-19 cases surge, Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to mask requirements Thursday, suggesting he would be willing to call a special session of the Legislature to outlaw it if the federal government imposes a mandate or local school districts defy him.”

Editorial: DeSantis battles social-media giants for show (Palm Beach Post)

The Palm Beach Post: Editorial: DeSantis battles social-media giants for show. “As veteran Tallahassee reporter Bill Cotterell notes, Florida has a legal precedent that should have stopped DeSantis, a lawyer, from this cyber-censorship. Almost 50 years ago, this state had a ‘right to reply’ law requiring newspapers to print rebuttal essays from candidates they did not endorse on their editorial pages. The Miami Herald refused to run a rebuttal submitted by a spurned legislative candidate. He sued, and the Supreme Court threw out the 1913 statute. The ruling means the press cannot be forced to publish something, any more than it can be forbidden to publish something.”

The Wrap: YouTube Purges Florida Governor Video Over Claims Children Don’t Need to Wear Masks

The Wrap: YouTube Purges Florida Governor Video Over Claims Children Don’t Need to Wear Masks. “YouTube has deleted a video in which Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a handful of medical experts questioned the effectiveness of having children wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19. The video, which was removed on Wednesday, was of a recent roundtable discussion DeSantis moderated on the global response to the pandemic.”

Bradenton Herald: Federal complaint accuses DeSantis, Lakewood Ranch vaccination site of discrimination

Bradenton Herald: Federal complaint accuses DeSantis, Lakewood Ranch vaccination site of discrimination. “Last month, a three-day event was held by the state at the Premier Sports Complex that only gave appointments to residents who live in two of Manatee County’s wealthiest ZIP codes, in Lakewood Ranch. The chosen ZIP codes had been impacted less than other parts of the county, according to the state’s own COVID-19 data. According to the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the site inappropriately gave a wealthy developer who contributes to the governor’s campaign limited access to the vaccine. Matthew Issman, a retired law enforcement officer, filed the complaint on Feb. 18.”

Miami Herald: Florida inmates haven’t gotten COVID-19 vaccines. DeSantis won’t provide timeline.

Miami Herald: Florida inmates haven’t gotten COVID-19 vaccines. DeSantis won’t provide timeline.. “Three months into Florida’s vaccination efforts, Gov. Ron DeSantis has yet to make vaccines available to state prisons, even as corrections officials have requested doses and identified thousands of elderly inmates who meet the state’s eligibility requirements.”

Miami Herald: Hospital and county contradict DeSantis’ claim about role in Ocean Reef vaccine

Miami Herald: Hospital and county contradict DeSantis’ claim about role in Ocean Reef vaccine. “After Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed ‘the state was not involved’ in arranging for more than 1,200 Keys residents in the wealthy Ocean Reef community to get accelerated access to the COVID-19 vaccine in January, both Baptist Health South Florida — which supplied the doses — and Monroe County have contradicted his claims, saying the distribution was authorized by the state.”

News4Jax: CVS offering virus vaccine to Florida teachers under 50

News4Jax: CVS offering virus vaccine to Florida teachers under 50. “The CVS Pharmacy chain is vaccinating Florida teachers under age 50, circumventing state orders that continue to limit coronavirus inoculations to those over that age. The chain also began vaccinating day care and preschool teachers Wednesday, even though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not yet opened the vaccination program to them.”

Miami Herald: Publix makes its own vaccine distribution plan. Officials don’t know where shots will go

Miami Herald: Publix makes its own vaccine distribution plan. Officials don’t know where shots will go. “The grocery chain — a major financial supporter of Gov. Ron DeSantis — is the state’s single-largest vaccine supplier and receives nearly a quarter of the state’s available doses without providing state officials a store-specific distribution plan ahead of time, according to Jared Moskowitz, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the agency leading the vaccination campaign.”

New York Daily News: Florida governor threatens to pull COVID vaccines from counties that criticize state rollout

New York Daily News: Florida governor threatens to pull COVID vaccines from counties that criticize state rollout. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened Wednesday to withhold or transfer COVID vaccines from counties that criticize the state’s distribution plan. DeSantis was responding to criticism after allocating 3,000 extra vaccines for wealthy west Florida areas, including a planned community that is owned by the family of one of his campaign donors, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.”

CNN: Fired Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones turns herself in to jail and tests positive for Covid-19

CNN: Fired Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones turns herself in to jail and tests positive for Covid-19. “The former Florida data analyst who has accused state officials of covering up the extent of the pandemic has turned herself in, days after a warrant was issued for her arrest, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said. Rebekah Jones has been charged with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, the FDLE said. She surrendered Sunday to the Leon County Detention Facility.”

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: A mysterious gap in COVID-19 deaths appeared in Florida before the presidential election

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: A mysterious gap in COVID-19 deaths appeared in Florida before the presidential election. “An astonishing pattern has emerged in Florida’s COVID death tally — one that suggests the state manipulated a backlog of unrecorded fatalities, presenting more favorable death counts in the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election. At issue is the state’s handling of the lag between the date someone dies and the date Florida reports that death in its public count. With minor exceptions, Florida stopped including long-backlogged deaths in its daily counts on Oct. 24, 10 days before the Nov. 3 election, and resumed consistently including them on Nov. 17, two weeks after the election.”

Tampa Bay Times: DeSantis refused to disclose White House coronavirus report that contradicts him

Tampa Bay Times: DeSantis refused to disclose White House coronavirus report that contradicts him. “The Dec. 6 report, which was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, is one in a series of weekly reports which the governor’s office has refused to regularly provide news organizations. The Tampa Bay Times began last month to request the reports dating back to Nov. 15. It has not received any reports from the governor’s office. Earlier this week, the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel sued the governor’s office to release the reports. The governor’s office had not released any of the weekly reports issued during the month of November, the suit alleged.”

Yahoo News: Angry Florida governor defends police raid on COVID data whistleblower

Yahoo News: Angry Florida governor defends police raid on COVID data whistleblower. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis angrily defended the handling of a search warrant at the Tallahassee home of Rebekah Jones, the data scientist who ran the state’s coronavirus dashboard until she was fired in May. State police officers entered her home with guns drawn on Monday, and Jones can be heard on body camera footage loudly pleading, ‘Do not point a gun at my children!’ She later likened the officers to agents of the Gestapo, the secret police in Nazi Germany.”