Florida governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a press conference on Monday 20 July 2020: (clickorlando)
Florida governor Ron DeSantis was interrupted by protesters during a press conference on Monday, where he asked residents with Covid-19 to donate blood, amid a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.
The event that was hosted at the Orlando office of blood-donation agency OneBlood was intended to highlight the importance of donating plasma to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic in Florida.
“One of the treatments that many physicians around the state believe is very effective is the use of convalescent plasma,” the governor said on Monday, after the state had recorded more than 10,000 coronavirus cases for five days in a row.
“This is blood that’s donated from somebody who has cleared the Covid-19 disease,” Mr DeSantis added. “It has the antibodies, and that is then used on a patient who is sick in the hospital.”
However, his press conference was interrupted when a group of protesters shouted at the governor: “Shame on you,” and “you’re lying to the public.”
The group shouted criticism at Mr DeSantis for around 30 seconds and told him: “You have blood on your hands.”
Mr DeSantis attempted to ignore the protesters and tried to continue with his speech, but eventually paused and appeared to smile as the heckling went on.
The protesters were then escorted out of the building by police officers, and the governor responded by saying: “We will not be defunding the police so don’t worry about that. We’re going to be supporting our men and women in law enforcement.”
Mr DeSantis’ comments were in reference to calls for police reform across the US, following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd, while in the custody of a then Minneapolis police officer.
Sounds of the protesters banging on the windows and shouting could still be heard throughout the rest of the 30-minute press conference, according to Click Orlando.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said that no arrests were made at the event and added that they are not sure how many protesters were at the press conference.
Florida is currently suffering badly with the coronavirus pandemic, and saw its cases rise for the fifth day in a row on Sunday, with more than 12,000 positive tests recorded.
Last week, Mr DeSantis was interrupted by an activist at a hospital in Florida, who told the governor that he has done “nothing” to tackle the level of coronavirus cases in the state.
Thomas Kennedy, an immigration reform activist, shouted at Mr DeSantis last week: “Shame on you! You are an embarrassment! You are an embarrassment! We are getting record breaking cases and you are doing nothing.”
The governor was speaking at the hospital a day after Florida recorded 15,299 cases – a new daily record for the state.
“Over 4,000 people have died and you are blaming the protesters, you guys have no plans and are doing nothing,” the activist added, but Mr DeSantis did not respond or acknowledge the comments.
The state reopened large parts of its economy last month, following a period in lockdown, but was forced to close bars again alongside other measures after daily cases saw a dramatic rise.
According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, Florida has upwards of 360,394 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 5,183 deaths.
In the US as a whole, some 3.8 million people have tested positive for coronavirus. The death toll has reached at least 140,937.
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