Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried to host COVID-19 briefing as cases surge

Address to be first of regular briefings

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced a new study to examine energy inequities in low-income communities. (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried will address the rise in coronavirus cases within the state during a news conference Wednesday.

Fried is expected to speak from Florida’s Capitol in Tallahassee at 12:15 p.m. Her remarks will be streamed at the top of this story. According to her office, this will be the first of regular COVID-19 briefings by the commissioner.

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A news release reveals Fried will discuss the Florida Department of Health and its decision to no longer provide daily COVID-19 data despite the state leading the nation in new virus infections. The FDOH has decided instead to release weekly reports, despite calls to go back to releasing daily numbers.

Fried will also discuss the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to walk back its mask guidance and recommend vaccinated individuals wear face coverings indoors again. The CDC also advised all students, staff, teachers and visitors wear masks in Florida schools. The health agency said its new recommendations come as the delta variant proves to be a more infectious version of coronavirus and the nation is seeing a more prominent presence.

The commissioner’s address comes a day after the CDC announced its updated guidance, becoming one of Florida’s top officials to publicly address the change.

However, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office released a statement saying parents should have the right to choose whether their child should be submitted to a face covering. DeSantis has previously opposed children wearing masks in classrooms.

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Fried, Florida’s highest-ranking Democrat, will challenge DeSantis for the governor’s seat. She announced her run for Florida’s highest office last month. Fried will compete for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against Rep. Charlie Crist.