Up To 1 Million COVID Tests Expired In Florida As Gov. DeSantis Kept Mum On Surging Cases

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A Florida official admitted Thursday that as many as 1 million COVID-19 test kits expired in a state warehouse over the last few days of December while coronavirus cases were skyrocketing and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said nothing about the health crisis.

Kevin Guthrie, director of the state Division of Emergency Management, made the startling revelation about the Abbott Laboratories rapid test kits in response to a reporter’s question at a Palm Beach press conference where DeSantis was touting the state’s acquisition of an additional 1 million tests. Those at-home test kits are intended to be available only to the elderly.

“If you’re just young and healthy, you don’t need to be going out and getting tested every day,” DeSantis declared, contradicting many health experts. He said nothing about getting vaccinated.

Guthrie claimed at the press conference that there was simply no demand for the tests that expired — despite massively long lines of Floridians waiting for tests that were available elsewhere, and despite drugstores being sold out of COVID tests.

The batch of rapid tests expired between Dec. 26 and Dec. 30.

“We tried to give them out prior to that, but there was not a demand for it,” Guthrie insisted to reporters.

Before the expiration, the state’s Department of Health requested a three-month extension for using them from Abbott and the federal government, but there has yet been no decision. The state had previously received a three-month extension for use of the same batch of tests, Florida Politics reported.

Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried was the first to reveal the expired “stockpiled” tests on Dec. 30. It took the DeSantis administration seven days to confirm — and only when pressed by a journalist.

Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a top epidemiologist and senior fellow of the Federation of American Scientists, called the expiration of the rapid test kits a “scandal.”

Officials “denied… but they were caught lying… and had to admit it was true that they did have 1 million tests expire! Can’t make this up,” he tweeted.

Fried has accused DeSantis of operating like Donald Trump, who suggested when COVID cases skyrocketed during his presidency to simply stop testing so case numbers wouldn’t go up.

Florida has hit record numbers of cases amid the omicron surge and is tallying about 10% of the nation’s daily average of 550,000 cases, CBS News reported Wednesday.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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