View full video of the press call here.
FLORIDA – Physicians from Miami, Jacksonville, and Gainesville today held a virtual press call to assign responsibility for the new increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to Governor Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump. Their call comes as Florida sees what seems to be a second surge in COVID-19 cases. The average number of COVID-19 cases announced per day has started to rise again after a peak in July. Over 2,300 Floridians are hospitalized with COVID-19, with that figure having increased over the past week.
“A global pandemic requires leadership from the top of our nation, but Donald Trump has chosen to completely surrender to the coronavirus, leaving doctors with more difficult jobs and Florida families with fewer loved ones at the dinner table,” said Dr. Bernard Ashby, Miami cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare. “As a doctor, I get up every day and work to give my patients sound medical advice to improve their health, while at times risking my own. It’s beyond frustrating to see Trump refuse to do his job and once again let our state be taken over by a preventable virus.”
Over the weekend, Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, stated that “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” This waving of the white flag of surrender isn’t the first time the administration has expressed their desire to give up on decision making.
On Oct. 12, the Trump Administration officially endorsed the idea of herd immunity, where COVID-19 is allowed to spread unchecked on the theory that its spread would build immunity in the population. In a Sept. 15 interview, Trump claimed COVID-19 would “disappear” over “a period of time” as he endorsed the controversial and misunderstood herd immunity concept. Health experts have denounced the concept of herd immunity as a “fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.”
“By following Trump’s lead and refusing to follow the science, Governor DeSantis is once again making the pandemic worse in our already hard-hit state,” said Dr. Jennifer Cowart, an internist in Jacksonville. “You don’t have to be a physician to think that with nearly 17,000 of our fellow Floridians already dead, our governor should be taking every step possible to save more lives and livelihoods. Yet he reopened business without proper safety precautions, tied the hands of local governments, and, like Trump, has leaned into the dangerous, misunderstood concept of herd immunity as his excuse for a plan.”
The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board wrote an editorial on Sunday stating, “Florida needs better leadership from DeSantis on the coronavirus pandemic.” On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board published one criticizing — fairly, in the view of the physicians — DeSantis for refusing to offer newspapers “basic public health information” about the virus in Florida.
Some of that information obstructed by DeSantis, from a White House Coronavirus Task Force, included, unsurprisingly, recommendations for social distancing and wearing masks. These are two recommendations for reducing spread, overwhelmingly supported by more than 170 studies across 16 nations and six continents, that DeSantis has failed to include meaningfully in his policies and own personal behavior. In fact, he recently attended a Trump rally without a mask at which he high-fived people and then rubbed his face.
“Doctors and scientists like me keep saying it because it’s true: Wearing a mask and social distancing can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and allow us to resume a more normal existence and economy, if we’re willing to do so,” said Dr. Frederick Southwick, an infectious disease specialist in Gainesville. “Physicians, our patients, and all Florida residents deserve leaders at all levels who follow the science to keep us safe. Even if DeSantis and Trump refuse to do so, we encourage Floridians to listen to the experts, not these bull-headed politicians, and demand better from our leaders.”
About the Committee to Protect Medicare
The Committee to Protect Medicare is an advocacy organization made up of frontline doctors engaging in direct advocacy and communications in support of a stronger healthcare system in America. To learn more: https://committeetoprotect.org/
NOTE: The physicians above are speaking in their capacity as members of the Committee to Protect Medicare. They should be identified only as indicated in this news release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
CONTACT: Annika Doner, 313-670-4737, firstname.lastname@example.org