'Angry and ashamed': Florida doctors slam DeSantis for blocking COVID precautions in push to reopen state

'Angry and ashamed': Florida doctors slam DeSantis for blocking COVID precautions in push to reopen state
Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit, hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, Gage Skidmore

A group of doctors in Florida is outraged by Gov. Ron DeSantis' handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as the fovernor continues to rail against public health officials' recommendations to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

According to WLRN, the group, which consists of more than 400 Florida physicians, is pushing back against the Republican governor, and arguing that his leadership is actually contributing to the rise in COVID cases.

Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist who heads the Committee to Protect Health Care in Florida, admitted that she is "angry and ashamed" of DeSantis' handling of COVID in the Sunshine State.

"As a physician and a Floridian, I am frankly angry and ashamed. You know the Florida-man moniker, unfortunately, holds true in this particular circumstance," Ashby said.

"While hospitals in our state were filling up, DeSantis was shouting about 'Freedom over Faucism,'" Ashby continued. "If DeSantis were as concerned about stopping COVID-19 spread as he was about coming up with these clever jabs about Dr. Fauci, we might not be in this position."

Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis is pushing back against the sharp criticism. In a statement to The News Service of Florida, Pushaw argued that the physicians aren't "well-informed."

"The governor has made countless public appearances all over the state to encourage vaccination, and he has spoken positively of the vaccines in public remarks nearly 100 times this year," Pushaw said in a statement to The News Service of Florida. "He's proud of the successful rollout and the Seniors First strategy, which means 85 percent of our most vulnerable population is vaccinated, and thousands of lives saved. COVID cases, hospitalizations and especially deaths are down significantly compared to this time last year."

However, doctors are still concerned. St. Petersburg immunologist Mona Mangat admitted that she was pleased that DeSantis has encouraged residents to get vaccinated, but she still has concerns about his rhetoric.

"At the same time as DeSantis says the vaccines are effective --- which they are --- he's also banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination." said Mangat, also part of Florida's Committee to Protect Health Care. "He has taken away private companies' ability to protect their employees and customers by requiring the safe and readily available vaccine."

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