Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber ripped Ron DeSantis for his ‘tragically nutty’ decision to accept the high rate of COVID cases in the state, charging the Florida governor with looking to gain a ‘political advantage’ out of the pandemic.
With the highly contagious Delta variant now spreading rapidly, Florida hit 11,515 hospitalized patients on Tuesday, breaking last year’s record for the third straight day and up from just 1,000 in mid-June. The state is headed toward its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic.
Gelber told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday evening that DeSantis has simply accepted that there will be people who die as a result of his ‘brazen political decision … he’s doing in order to gain some political advantage.’
He slammed the governor for not embracing mask mandates and for not allowing the cruise industry to use vaccine passports.
‘It really is sort of nutty too — tragically nutty in a sense,’ he said.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber ripped Ron DeSantis for his ‘tragically nutty’ decision to accept the high rate of COVID cases in the state
Florida¿s governor is slowing down the state¿s Covid-19 response by design, says Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
¿It feels like he¿s doing everything in his power to make this disease incredibly difficult to challenge and to cabin.¿ pic.twitter.com/k8bS8kUZNz
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) August 4, 2021
Gelber accused the governor of playing to the conservative crowd of the Republican Party, the fervent MAGA supporters of Donald Trump.
‘The point is that the governor has just decided as a show of, really, just to show off to this base that he’s currying favor with that he’s going to just stop all local officials from having any impact on this,’ he said.
DeSantis, a close ally of Trump, is seeking a second term in the Florida governor’s mansion in next year’s election. He’s also thought to be eyeing a run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
The governor came to nation-wide attention and became a hero to the right with his willingness to defy COVID restrictions to keep his state open.
On Friday, DeSantis barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes begin next week after the CDC recommended they wear them. It will be up to parents to decide whether their children wear masks in school.
‘In Florida, there will be no lockdowns,’ DeSantis said. ‘There will be no school closures. There will be no restrictions and no mandates.’
And he said on Tuesday that he expects hospitalizations to drop in the next couple weeks, arguing that the spike is seasonal as Floridians spend more time together indoors to escape the summer heat and humidity.
‘We are not shutting down,’ DeSantis said.
‘We are going to have schools open. We are protecting every Floridian’s job in this state. We are protecting people’s small businesses. These interventions have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic, not just in the United States.’
DeSantis says COVID cases will decrease in the coming weeks amid spike in Delta cases and says ‘interventions’ have not stopped the spread
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)
But President Biden on Tuesday demanded that DeSantis, along with the Republican governor of Texas use his power to save lives or get out of the way of people doing the right thing.
His pointed remarks came as he delivered an update on efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and urged Americans to protect themselves from a surge in cases.
‘The escalation of cases is particularly concentrated in states with low vaccination rates,’ he said.
‘Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states.
‘Look, we need leadership from everyone.’
A year ago, Florida was averaging about 180 COVID-19 deaths per day during an early August spike, but last week averaged 58 per day.
However, 2,400 COVID-19 patients are in an intensive care unit, and deaths generally don’t spike until a few weeks after hospitalizations.
‘Even among a lot of positive tests, you are seeing much less mortality that you did year-over-year,’ DeSantis said at a Miami-area press conference.
‘Would I rather have 5,000 cases among 20-year-olds or 500 cases among seniors? I would rather have the younger.’