COVID cases and hospitalizations have multiplied over the past few weeks in Florida. Healthcare facilities are severely understaffed. Florida currently accounts for 20% of reported COVID cases in the United States, and has the highest amount of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. 49% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
As many states reinstate social distancing guidelines and mask mandates due to the surge, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to dismiss COVID safety practices. He’s rejected both the CDC and the nation’s top disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying in a tweet, “FLORIDA CHOSE FREEDOM OVER FAUCISM.” Last week, the governor banned Florida public schools from enforcing mask mandates in an effort to preserve parents’ “freedom.”
On Tuesday, President Biden addressed leaders of hotspot states who refuse to align with the CDC’s COVID safety guidelines, saying, “Please help: if you aren’t going to help, please get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing.”
DeSantis fired back at the president, blaming the spread of COVID on the administration’s immigration policies, saying, “Why don’t you get this border secure, and until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.”
Responding to the CDC’s mask requirement for K-12 students, he stated, “I can tell you in Florida, the parents are going to be the ones in charge of that decision.”
He went on to target New York state leadership for its mask mandates and vaccine requirements, labeling it a “biomedical security state.”
Many are pleading for DeSantis to enforce COVID safety protocols, or give school districts the freedom to, to prevent any further tragedy. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted, “We are doing everything we can to help the people of FL, and they’re stepping up by getting vaccinated – we hope @GovRonDeSantis joins us in this fight.”