Updated Jul 19, 2020 - Health

Florida Rep. Donna Shalala: "I'm terrified for the first time in my career"

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that she has asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to issue another stay-at-home order and that she's "terrified" for the first time in her career because of the lack of leadership during the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: Florida is the new global epicenter of the pandemic, reporting a record number of daily new infections for any state and twice breaking its own record for daily deaths all in the last week.

  • Florida reported more than 10,000 new cases for the fifth day in a row on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to over 350,000.
  • As of 3 pm Sunday, 49 hospitals in Florida said they had zero ICU beds available. Some have also said they are in "desperate need" of the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat patients.

What she's saying: "We have community spread, which means the virus is out of control," said Shalala, a former Health and Human Services secretary under President Clinton.

  • "The lack of leadership in the White House and in our governor's office — they simply have not hit this with a hammer, which is what we needed to do and starve the virus. They opened too soon and they misunderstand what you need to do, or they understand it and they're not willing to do it," she continued.
  • "The residents here are terrified. And I'm terrified for the first time in my career, because there's a lack of leadership and we simply have not gotten our arms around this."

Go deeper: Florida's coronavirus outbreak is getting worse

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