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Democratic Florida COVID Response Director Warns Party against ‘Conspiracy Theories’

A healthcare worker draws a coronavirus vaccine from a vial at the Mission Commons assisted living community in Redlands, Calif., January 15, 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Florida’s outgoing emergency management director, Jared Moskowitz, cautioned Democrats against believing “conspiracy theories” that confirm their biases regarding coronavirus responses, in comments to Politico on Tuesday.

Moskowitz, a Democrat, represented a part of Broward County in the Florida House of Representatives from 2012 to 2019, when he was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis as emergency management director. As head of Florida’s emergency management, Moskowitz oversaw the state’s handling of hurricane season and coordinated the Florida response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“You may see a conspiracy theory and you want it to be true and you believe it to be true and you forward it to try to make it be true. But that doesn’t make it true,” Moskowitz told Politico. “Democrats should not be so naive to think that they don’t accidentally participate in things like that — for instance when they forward things around that falsely claim Florida has more deaths than New York when it comes to coronavirus.”

Moskowitz’s comments come as Democrats continue to criticize DeSantis’s response to coronavirus. For example, Democrats have pointed to allegations by a former Florida state health employee that the state was not being transparent with its coronavirus data. Rebekah Jones, the data manager, claimed she was fired because she objected to an effort by the state to cover up COVID deaths. However, Jones had a record of incompetence and “insubordination” and was facing active criminal charges, state officials told National Review, and the data that she believed had been covered up was later restored to the state’s COVID dashboard.

“For all the stuff about how Florida was not being transparent, it’s not Florida that’s in the national news. It’s New York, that’s in the national news, and it was New York that had a cover up for the last six months, and hid 50 percent of the nursing home deaths,” Moskowitz said, referring to allegations that Governor Andrew Cuomo hid the amount of coronavirus deaths in state nursing homes. “We would never have gotten away with that for 15 days in Florida, let alone six months.”

Moskowitz has not given an exact date for his departure, but has made clear that his job has made it difficult to spend time with his family.

Florida’s cumulative coronavirus death rate, per 100,000 people, is average when compared to other U.S. states, according to the Financial Times coronavirus tracker.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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