Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is blaming his state’s rise of COVID-19 cases on “overwhelmingly Hispanic” day laborers and agricultural workers.
“Some of these guys go to work in a school bus, and they are all just packed there like sardines, going across Palm Beach County or some of these other places, and there’s all these opportunities to have transmission,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Tallahassee.
According to reports, farmworkers and industry associations have been arguing that resources and testing came too late to those communities.
DeSantis particularly pointed to cases in migrant camps, a watermelon farm and Immokalee, a major hub for tomato production, as evidence of the spike in cases.
But according to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the majority of farmworkers left several weeks ago after harvest ended, The Miami Herald reported.
In addition, Antonio Tovar, executive director of the Farmworker Association of Florida, said it’s not the farmworkers’ fault they are vulnerable to COVID-19.
He blamed DeSantis for ignoring pleas from a coalition of 50 groups that asked him for aid in late April.
“We sent this letter to the governor more than two months ago and now he is realizing that foreign workers are more suitable to get infected,” Tovar told the News Service of Florida on Wednesday. “That is very shameful because he was advised, he was told when we sent the letter.”
Tovar claimed the resources only came in May, after many in the southwest Florida farming community had already become ill.
“It is too little too late,” he said. “It was about two weeks ago when the department (of health) sent an email to a lot of organizations saying, ‘Hey! We received 2 million face masks. If you want we can give you face masks.’”
Take a look at the video clip below: