Shalala on Florida outbreaks: 'We need to close down again'

Shalala on Florida outbreaks: 'We need to close down again'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Hillicon Valley: Dems seek to expand DHS probe after whistleblower complaint | DHS rejects House subpoena for Wolf to testify | Facebook rolls out new features for college students Democrats call for narrowing digital divide to help students during pandemic MORE (D-Fla.) said Sunday that Florida, which is in the middle of a major coronavirus outbreak, would need to shut down again to properly address it.

State leaders “opened too soon and they misunderstood what you need to do, or they understand it and they’re not willing to do it,” Shalala said.

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The Florida congresswoman cited the toll the virus is taking not only on senior citizens but “in my district its low-income minorities, Hispanics and African Americans, who are forced to go back to work for economic reasons and because their employers demanded they go back to work,” noting that such constituents often live in multi-generational households.

She went on to castigate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisKey swing-state election lawsuits could help shape the presidential race First death reported from Hurricane Sally in Alabama Trump tells Gulf Coast residents to prepare for 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Sally MORE (R) for declining to impose a statewide mask mandate.

“Luckily our mayors in South Florida have done that, but that’s just a small piece because this disease doesn’t know what county or what city it’s in,” she said.

“We need to close down again,” Shalala told guest host Martha Raddatz. “I said four months ago if we don’t do this right we’re going to have to close down again. That’s our worst nightmare and we’re going to have to do that in Florida.”

Asked by Raddatz about the potential economic consequences of re-closing, Shalala said there would be similar consequences for taking no action.

“Our economy will not come back until we meet this virus at its head and knock it down,” she said. “I care deeply about the economy, but first I care about human life and with our hospitals filled ... we simply cannot protect the economy if we don’t protect the lives of the people in our community.”