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Why doesn’t Florida have more and better COVID testing? | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
A drive-thru COVID testing site in St. Petersburg.
A drive-thru COVID testing site in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Sep. 11

More testing access

Why is Florida so secretive with COVID records? | Editorial, Sept. 8

In addition to the lack of transparency regarding COVID statistics that was noted in this insightful editorial, one must wonder what other political machinations are in play to obscure the real impact COVID is having in Florida. Why, for instance, do some counties have so few Florida Department of Health COVID testing centers? I was at the one in Pinellas County recently, and it was so busy that police were needed to direct cars from an overflow lot into the main parking area. Upon entering the facility, there appeared to be close to a hundred potentially ill people crammed inside waiting their turn. Despite having recovered from COVID previously and being vaccinated, I left. There seemed to be no better place to contract the virus if one didn’t already have it.

The retail pharmacies offering testing are often booked at least a week out, and over-the-counter test kits are rarely in stock. My (vaccinated) daughter recently developed cold symptoms, so we kept her out of school. Luckily, she has a primary care physician who was able to get her in the following day for a PCR test, but those results will take 48-72 hours.

After a year and a half of this pandemic, why do we not have more testing capacity, specifically the rapid antigen testing that is needed to prevent people from unknowingly spreading the virus? This would also allow individuals to confidently return to work or school without having to unnecessarily wait several days if they were negative. Perhaps positivity rates would increase with more testing, but that is just not a convenient reality for certain individuals currently residing in Tallahassee.

Joe Rocco, Clearwater

Yes on school masks

Florida’s school mask rules remain in force, for now | Sept. 9

I’m proud that the school officials here in Orange County, as well as, several other school districts are taking a stand for the safety of our children by defying the governor’s ban against mask mandates at school. I’m also thankful for Judge John Cooper’s decision to block the ban. I’m a Republican but I can’t stand politicians that put their own ambitions ahead of people’s lives. Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to be president, so he’s following Donald Trump’s playbook. Do something outrageously stupid without regard to the consequences to others to get national media coverage. He claims he’s guarding the rights of parents, but in truth he’s taking those rights away. Parents exercise their rights through their local school boards. Republicans don’t tie the hands of local school boards, only selfish politicians trying to get attention.

Lonnie Hammack, Orlando

Playing ‘scientist’

Stop horsing around with ivermectin to treat COVID, warns FDA | Aug. 21

Alert! “Diploma mills” are still in business. How else could so many governors be transformed overnight into expert immunologists, microbiologists and epidemiologists, self acknowledged as better informed on precise health policies than career-long scientists and public health officials? Alas, their orientation is political and only occasionally, corresponds to science-based health policies. Governors, for life’s sake, respect your public heath officials’ recommendations unless you want more years of this crisis. You’ll save lives and that’s positive politics!

Lavon Sumption, Lincoln, Nebraska