ST. PETERSBURG, FL —Gov. Ron DeSantis has hired a data analyst for state projects including coronavirus cases even though the man — a sports blogger and Uber driver — has no data scientist training and has disputed established virus safety protocols.
"Forty-year-old Kyle Lamb's public statements about the pandemic have frequently contradicted advice from the public health officials, and he has dedicated much of his coronavirus commentary to undermining experts," The Washington Post reported.
Lamb made an announcement Friday on Twitter about his new Tallahassee position working for DeSantis:
"It's my pleasure to announce publicly that this morning I officially accepted an offer to go work for Gov. Ron DeSantis in the Florida state capitol. I will be doing data analysis on several fronts for them including but not limited to Covid-19 research and other projects."
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Lamb is an Uber-driving conspiracy theorist who has few qualifications, and he acknowledges he is not trained for the job:
“Fact is, I’m not an ‘expert.’ I’m not a doctor, epidemiologist, virologist or scientist,” Lamb, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, wrote on a website for a subscribers-only podcast he hosts about the coronavirus. “I also don’t need to be. Experts don’t have all the answers, and we’ve learned that the hard way.”
It is unknown why DeSantis hired him for the position. A starting date has not been released by the governor's office.
A spokesman for DeSantis told the Miami Herald that Lamb’s work would pass “through about 10 hands” before reaching the governor’s desk.
Lamb received mixed responses from his Twitter followers about his new job.
Laura Hawk tweeted in a response to his announcement, "Lol, DeSantis hired a guy currently running a college sports podcast and zero epidemiology experience (other than yelling Trump talking points) to analyze Covid data. How Florida of him ..."
Robert Geller from Austin, Texas, tweeted in response:
"Wow, that is awesome, Kyle! Congratulations! P.S. Now work on convincing De Santis to get rid of ALL social distancing, occupancy restrictions, mask mandates, and other covid restrictions and override local jurisdictions."
As state leaders such as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan reimposed pandemic-related restrictions Tuesday amid coronavirus case increases, DeSantis continues to downplay the severity of the virus by leaving Florida fully open as its coronavirus case count reached 858,012 on Wednesday as reported by the Florida Department of Health.
The Florida Department of Health reported 51,115 statewide coronavirus hospitalizations and 17,300 Florida resident deaths.
The Florida Department of Health's current coronavirus report for Pinellas is 28,242 cases; Hillsborough has 51,635 cases; Polk has 24,661 cases; Pasco has 12,088 cases; Sarasota has 10,812 cases; Manatee has 14,400 cases; and Dade has 195,991 cases.