On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel announced it is suing the Florida Department of Health to divulge information about the spread of COVID-19 variants.
"The lawsuit, filed 57 days after the Sentinel first contacted the department for the information, claims there is a 'strong, immediate need ... to understand how the virus continues to spread and affect Floridians,'" reported Kate Santich. "It claims the health department's actions violate the Florida Constitution and asks a Leon County Circuit Court to order the release of the variant information and the release of future data 'in a reasonable and timely fashion.'"
COVID-19 variants are spreading rapidly in Florida; the state has the highest rates in the nation of the B.1.1.7 and P.1 variants.
In general, Florida's COVID situation is roughly in the middle of the pack among all states, with 33,000 deaths as of March 18. However, things are not quite as dire as experts had predicted in light of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' refusal to restrict business activity and issue mask guidelines — although concerns are mounting about the surge of visitors for Spring Break, and about allegations that DeSantis is steering vaccines to communities that have supported his campaign financially.