As COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths surge around the country, one state in particular stands out as a place you really don’t want to be if you want to avoid contracting the coronavirus: the state recently infected with a strain of Trumps, Florida. On Monday, the Sunshine State reported 10,389 hospitalizations, the most statewide at any point during the pandemic, including the height of it in spring 2020. That followed more than 21,000 new infections on Friday, and the news that Florida now reportedly accounts for roughly one in five cases nationally. And local doctors are pretty sure they know who to blame!
Per the Independent:
Florida doctors say they’re “angry and ashamed” over governor Ron DeSantis’s response to the resurgent coronavirus. The high-profile Republican has repeatedly criticized federal public health guidance and vowed not to institute new lockdowns or mask mandates, even as the state becomes the national epicenter of the virus, with the delta variant ravaging the unvaccinated segments of its population.
“While hospitals in our state were filling up, DeSantis was shouting about ‘Freedom over Faucism,’” Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist who leads the state’s Committee to Protect Health Care, told WLRN. “If DeSantis were as concerned about stopping COVID-19 spread as he was about coming up with these clever jabs about Dr. Fauci, we might not be in this position.”
Last month, DeSantis’s reelection campaign introduced koozies and T-shirts bearing the phrase “Don’t Fauci My Florida” as his state began to see some of the highest hospitalizations, new infections, and deaths per capita in the country, claiming that Florida’s economy would have been in the toilet if it had “followed Fauci.” The items were listed along anti-mask merch printed with the DeSantis quote, “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?” While the governor’s office swears the state is in great shape, and that the recent spike is merely a “seasonal” blip, the data seems to indicate otherwise.
Florida is now the national center of the delta-fueled COVID resurgence. Cases are up 50% week over week, with 110,000 new ones this week alone, levels not seen since January when the vaccine wasn’t widely available. The state has a positivity rate of 18.1%, and more people hospitalized than any other state in America.
“There is no higher risk area in the United States than we’re seeing here,” Dr. Aileen Marty, a Florida International University infectious disease expert, told the Miami CBS affiliate. “The numbers that we’re seeing are unbelievable, just unbelievably frightening.”
Nevertheless, DeSantis has pledged to continue fighting lockdowns, mask mandates, and any other measures that could help stop the spread of the virus. “It is very important that we say unequivocally ‘no’ to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions and no to mandates,” DeSantis said last week. He’s also threatened to withhold funds from school districts that require students to wear masks.
Blasting DeSantis’s seemingly pro-death stance, agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running for governor as a Democrat, told Politico: “To say it’s not as bad as it was in the height of the pandemic last year is inaccurate, dishonest, and dangerous. Things are the worst they have ever been in the state throughout this pandemic with Florida now leading the nation per capita in hospitalizations.” Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who is also challenging DeSantis, said last week the governor has “blood on his hands.” Which he kind of does!
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