Earlier President Joe Biden asked Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott to to ‘get out of the way’ of restrictions as COVID cases are on the rise.
White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients noted Florida and Texas have accounted for one-third of new cases in the nation.
‘Over the past seven days Florida and Texas have accounted for about one-third of new cases and more than one-third of new hospitalizations,’ Zients noted at a press briefing. ‘States with some of the lowest vaccination rates account for about half of new cases and hospitalizations in the past week, despite making up less than a quarter of the US population.’
White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients noted Florida and Texas have accounted for one-third of new cases in the nation
He also praised six Southern states – Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Mississippi – for seeing a rise in vaccination rates.
Zients also noted the administration was pushing for new action on vaccine requirements, including supporting private businesses that have vaccine mandates for employees.
‘Businesses know vaccinations are a way to keep their workers and customers safe and to keep their doors open. And today, Yelp is announcing a new feature that allows consumers to search for businesses with fully vaccinated workers, workers or businesses that require proof of vaccinations to enter the business,’ he said.
‘We support these vaccination requirements to protect workers, communities and the country,’ he added.
His comments come after DeSantis furiously attacked Biden on Wednesday after the president’s sharp remarks on his and Abbott’s refusal to embrace mask requirements as COVID numbers surge.
DeSantis complained that Biden was trying to ‘single out Florida,’ after the state broke its own record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, and attempted to shift the focus to the president’s handling of a surge in apprehensions at the southern border.
‘Why don’t you do your job? Why don’t you get this border secure?’ DeSantis angrily told Biden, in a press conference on Wednesday.
‘And until you do that I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.’
Florida set an all-time record for COVID hospitalizations on Tuesday, with 11,515 hospitalized in one day.
The previous day also saw a record 10,389 hospitalizations, outpacing its previous peak on July 23, 2020, when there were 10,170 hospitalizations.
‘Joe Biden has taken to himself to try to single out Florida over COVID,’ said DeSantis.
‘This is a guy who ran saying he was going to shut down the virus. What he’s done is imported the virus from around the world with a wide open southern border.’
Florida is averaging 27,681 cases per day, a 342% increase from the 6,492 average cases reported two weeks ago (left). COVID-19 hospitalizations also reached a record high with 11,515, breaking the previous record of 10, 207 set on Monday (right)
The number of people who said the US is moving in a favorable direction with the pandemic has also fallen as cases surged over July
‘We can either have a free society or we can have a biomedical security state.
‘And I can tell you, Florida, we’re a free state. People are going to be free to choose.’
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, urged DeSantis to do more to help Florida’s COVID battle.
‘Twenty three per cent of new COVID hospitalizations in the U.S are in Florida, and their hospitals are being overwhelmed again,’ she said on Twitter.
‘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.’
Marco Rubio, senator for Florida, tweeted: ‘You want to help #Florida?
‘Stop sparking fights over mask mandates & pushing contradictory courses of action.
‘Thankfully vaccinations are up.
‘But that’s in spite, not because of the Biden Administration.’
Biden criticized Florida and Texas for barring schools and local governments from imposing mask mandates.
‘They should free people to do the right thing, such as allowing teachers to ask students to wear masks, he continued.
‘I say to these governors, please help.
‘But if you’re not going to help at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.’