Public officials complained they were flying in the dark on COVID-19 as they weighed momentous decisions that govern the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
The findings emerge in hours of conference-call recordings in which a group of Broward elected officials speak candidly about their response to the pandemic in the early months of the crisis.
The cache of audio files — obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel through a public records request — bring to light how officials reached decisions in a vacuum of coronavirus information as the region quickly became a hot spot for COVID-19 cases and deaths. In their private weekly meetings, they voiced frustrations about a lack of clear answers from health officials, a lag in testing and an inadequate amount of contact tracing.
Whether some of their concerns remain today is unclear: The county argues the public shouldn’t access these weekly meetings and has stopped recording them.