Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says private "testing industrial complex" is responsible for inflating the count of positive COVID-19 tests across the state.
Florida and other states have experienced a large surge in confirmed coronavirus cases over the last several weeks, prompting areas to slow — or rescind — their reopening practices.
What are the details?
During a Thursday "Fox & Friends" interview, DeSantis argued that the state's COVID-19 death toll is also inflated.
"There was a report in Orlando a week or so ago, where you had someone in a motorcycle accident [die], unfortunately," he recalled. "But that was categorized as a COVID death, just because the person had previously tested positive."
The motorcyclist in question — a man in his twenties — was determined to be a COVID-19 death because he had previously tested positive for the virus.
"You can actually argue that it could have been the COVID-19 that caused him to crash," one health official said of the man's death at the time.
DeSantis isn't satisfied with such reporting and classification, however.
"I think the public — when they see the fatality figures — you know, they want to know, 'Who died because they caught COVID?'"
DeSantis admitted that it wasn't the first time such a misclassification had been made and said that he wants to investigate just how "pervasive" that trend might be at this point in the pandemic.
The Republican governor also revealed the possibility that a "testing industrial complex" is behind the rise in positive COVID-19 cases across the state, especially in those who said they never took a test.
"There's a testing industrial complex now," he said. "There's a lot of money at stake here, people cranking out these tests. There's private companies involved."
The governor also called for Florida residents to come forward if they believe they have been targeted with false results.
"We want to hold people accountable if they're engaged in funny business like that," he added.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that there have been at least 389,868 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the state of Florida. At least 5,518 deaths have been attributed to the virus.