On Thursday, Dr Sam Ghali, who works at University of Florida Health in Jacksonville, Florida, took to Twitter after his shift to share a grim image of the current coronavirus spike in Florida.
"I just left the ER. We are officially back to getting crushed by Covid-19. Delta variant is running rampant and it's MUCH more transmissible than the original virus," he wrote.
The doctor said that virtually all of his patients were unvaccinated individuals, and that all of them regretted their decision not to take the shot.
"99 per cent of our ICU admits did NOT receive a vaccine. Virtually ALL of them wish they had," he said.
Coronavirus cases exploded in Florida this month, primarily affecting the state's unvaccinated population. Just under half of the state has been fully vaccinated – a number that is in line with the US national average – but the state also is home to more Americans in the at-risk age group of 55 and older than the national average. Approximately 27.3 per cent of Floridians are in the at risk age group, while that demographic only makes up 21 per cent of the nation's total population.
More than 8,000 people in Florida tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.
Earlier this week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally who proudly resisted lockdown efforts during the early stages of the pandemic, encouraged his residents to take the vaccine.
Despite this, Mr DeSantis has continued to oppose virus mitigation efforts, stating there will be no new lockdowns in Florida. Earlier in the year he used his executive powers to end all emergency and locally enacted coronavirus mandates restricting business. He has also stated he will not support any mask mandate for schoolchildren despite a large portion of children being unable to take the vaccine.
“We’re not doing that in Florida. OK? We need our kids to breathe,” Mr DeSantis said during a press conference. “Is it really healthy for them to be muzzled and having their breathing obstructed all day long in school? I don’t think it is.”
Mr DeSantis has made resistance to federal health guidance during the pandemic a highlight as he prepares for a re-election campaign and possible presidential run in 2024. His campaign is selling "Don't Fauci My Florida" merchandise from his online campaign store to shine a spotlight on his reluctance to listen to federal experts.
A group of doctors called on Mr DeSantis to stop treating the pandemic as though it is over and to quit attacking Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, in a statement on Thursday.
“If DeSantis were as concerned about stopping Covid-19 spread as he was about coming up with these clever jabs at Dr Fauci we might not be in this position,” Dr Bernard Ashby, a vascular cardiologist in Miami who leads the Florida chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care, told Politico. “Doctors here feel like we are back at square one again.”
Despite the growing number of cases in the state, vaccination rates have decreased steadily over the past several weeks.
In May, the state reported it was distributing more than 400,00 doses of the vaccine each week. That number has since dropped to 224,000.
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