Matt Gaetz says he has the 'freedom variant' as he mocks experts who warn about worsening COVID-19 mutations

Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in Washington. AP
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz mocked COVID-19 experts who've been warning about mutations and variants.

  • "I got the Florida variant. I got the freedom variant," he said on Saturday at a rally.

  • Gaetz's mocking remarks came as Florida broke its record for daily COVID-19 cases.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Rep. Matt Gaetz on Saturday night mocked health officials who've been sounding the alarms about COVID-19 mutations.

Speaking before a crowd, Gaetz said he has the "Florida variant" and the "freedom variant."

"You've had all the experts say look out for the Delta variant or the Lambda variant," he said. "Well next it'll be the Chi Omega variant or the Pi Kappa Psi variant."

"I got the Florida variant. I got the freedom variant," he continued. "It affects the brain. It gets you to think for yourself where you don't just surrender to the truth that they're trying to create in corrupt big media."

Gaetz gave the remarks in Largo, Florida, at a rally intended to inspire residents to "band together and celebrate being Floridians," the Eventbrite page says.

For months, scientists and health officials have warned about coronavirus variants spreading through the country.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top COVID-19 expert, has previously called the Delta variant "formidable" but said vaccinations help curb transmissions.

Red states have been hit the hardest by the Delta variant, a stat that scientists correlate with generally lower rates of vaccination.

The mocking comments from Gaetz come as Florida breaks its record for daily COVID-19 cases, reporting its highest one-day total since the coronavirus pandemic began. Federal health data shows the state recorded a whopping 21,683 new cases on Friday. The news makes Florida the new COVID-19 epicenter in the US.

Additionally, confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida spiked by more than 50% in the last week, according to state health data. The Florida Department of Health said in a recent report that it recorded more than 110,000 new cases from June 23 to June 29, a staggering leap from the 73,000 from the week before.

Read the original article on Business Insider