Floridians Furious as Ron DeSantis Confirms 1 Million COVID Tests Expired in Warehouse

Floridians have expressed outrage after Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration confirmed as many as one million COVID-19 tests expired in a Florida warehouse.

During a press briefing, Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie told reporters that the kits sat in a warehouse during the fall when demand was low.

The COVID-19 rapid test kits, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, expired "before December 26 to December 30," Guthrie said.

"We had between 800,000 and a million Abbott test kits in our warehouse that did expire," the top state official said at the briefing, alongside the Republican governor.

Guthrie said that there wasn't adequate demand to use the rapid tests. DeSantis noted that he would ask the White House to extend the expiration dates on the batch of kits.

Despite demand from Miami-Dade County for COVID-19 rapid tests last month, Guthrie said DeSantis' administration "tried to get them out."

"But there was not a demand for it," he added.

Some Floridians took to Twitter to express their outrage at the news.

"Over the holiday I got hit with a [expletive] of a cold. Was it COVID? Who knows because I couldn't get any kind of test in time," wrote journalist Mike Redmond. "Because of that my wife, son and I have to assume COVID was in the mix and wait a month to get our boosters. Long story short, [expletive] Ron DeSantis."

Krishna Komanduri, chief of the Division of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at Florida's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, expressed frustration at the news amid a demand for COVID-19 rapid tests in the state.

"I can hear Doctor Evil's voice in my head...ONE MILLION COVID TESTS! Paid for by #Florida taxpayers and allowed to expire in a warehouse by @GovRonDeSantis," Komanduri said.

He added, "While I struggle to find them in order to test family members to keep elderly and immunocompromised relatives safe."

Newsweek has contacted the governor's office for additional comment.

In December, aerial footage of long lines at a Miami drive-thru COVID-19 testing site went viral, gathering more than two million views. The footage showed bumper-to-bumper traffic stretching into the distance.

Reports of long lines for tests in the state came as the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus first appeared in Florida.

Public health experts at the University of Florida published a report this week forecasting that the latest wave of infections could potentially infect "most of the state's population."

"Probably 70 to 80 percent of the state will either get infected in this wave or have been infected in a prior wave," University of Florida professor Ira Longini, who worked on the report, said.

"It's good news in the sense that the wave will be over certainly by the end of January," added Longini. "The bad news it's going to be very intense for the next couple weeks with lots of cases and it probably will put a strain on our hospital resources."

The White House, meanwhile, has said it will make 500 million COVID-19 tests to Americans free of charge. Those contracts are still being finalized by the Biden administration.

Florida Gov. DeSantis discusses vaccine strategy
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis places his mask back on after speaking during a press conference about the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Hard Rock Stadium on January 06, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. DeSantis’ administration announced Thursday that a stockpile of as many as one million COVID-19 tests expired in a Florida warehouse. Joe Raedle/Getty Images