Thursday, July 29, 2021

Be Like Vermont, Florida

Via the Miami Herald:

Florida has entered a peak of COVID-19 cases not seen since January’s surge as the state reported 16,038 new cases Tuesday to the federal government, the seventh consecutive day the state has reported more than 12,000 new daily cases.

The last time Florida had such high numbers of new COVID cases was on Jan. 7, when the state recorded 19,816 new cases, its highest single-day number of COVID cases.

Florida accounted for about 20 percent of Tuesday’s new reported COVID cases across the United States, according to the data Florida reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state also reported 92 new deaths on Tuesday.

Florida’s 7-day percent positivity rate climbed to 17.21% on Monday, up from 16.79% on Sunday, the state reported to the federal agency.

The surge in cases comes at the same time the CDC, which requires all states to report its daily case numbers to the federal agency, and Miami-Dade County have issued new guidelines for masks as a result of the surging delta variant strain of the virus.

On Tuesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency recommends that, in areas with “substantial and high transmission” of the virus, fully vaccinated people should wear masks in public indoor settings, including schools, to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

On Wednesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava mandated masks at all county facilities, including libraries, recreational centers and county-owned entertainment venues. She is also urging businesses to require facial coverings indoors.

“The numbers are clear,” Levine Cava said at a press conference. “We hope that businesses will do the right thing.”

Cumulatively, Florida has recorded at least 2,534,334 confirmed COVID cases and 38,840 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the CDC.

Compare that with this:

Throughout Vermont, hospital Covid-19 units are mostly empty. Bars and restaurants are hopping again. In remote rural towns, diners, country stores and campgrounds are filling up.

As the national health crisis evolves into “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” in the words of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Vermont health officials tout the Green Mountain State as the safest place in America.

Many Vermonters are venturing out, unmasked and with no fear, just as the CDC recommended on Tuesday that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in US counties with soaring transmission rates.

“My question is, ‘Do you want to have a life again?'” Schoenbeck said. “We’re living. Get vaccinated. Get back in the game.”

[…]

Vermont was the first state to partially vaccinate at least 80 percent of residents 12 or older. The current rate of more than 83% compares with the nation’s 66.6% one-dose rate — according to the CDC — for the same age group.

More than 67% of the state’s roughly 624,000 residents have been fully vaccinated, compared with about 49% for the US overall.

The state has maintained one of the country’s lowest infection rates — currently at 1.6% for a seven-day average, according to the health department’s Covid-19 dashboard. Vermont has had 259 Covid-19 deaths.

“It’s the lowest number of deaths on the continental US,” said Levine, sitting in front of a bobblehead of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The state’s last Covid-19-related death was on July 10, Levine said. In June and July, the state has had four deaths. There are five Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the entire state.

The difference between Florida and Vermont is that here in Florida we’re in the thrall of a Trumpist governor who would rather see people suffer and die rather than see his poll numbers shrink. He’s actually threatening local governments and public school boards with legal action if they try to protect their citizens. Oh, and you thought conservatives were all about smaller government. Yeah, no; not when there’s a chance he could run for higher office.

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