'Angry and ashamed': Frustrated Florida doctors slam GOP governors for politicizing public health as COVID sweeps through state

'Angry and ashamed': Frustrated Florida doctors slam GOP governors for politicizing public health as COVID sweeps through state
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Samantha Hall)

From the building collapse in Surfside, Fla., to the resurgence of COVID cases across the state of Florida, one doctor is detailing his frustration and exhaustion over the state's crisis management.

Dr. Ben Abo, medical director for the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Urban Search and the Rescue Florida Task Force 1, has shared details about the transition from responding to a natural disaster to responding to the public health crisis plaguing the state, according to The Daily Beast.

After spending a full month on the scene of the Surfside building collapse, Abo returned to his second job as an ER physician at a Naples, Fla., hospital. He resumed his job just as Delta variant COVID cases began to soar. "It's the worst it's ever been," Abo said of the latest surge in coronavirus cases and COVID-related hospitalizations.

"If more people would have been vaccinated, then we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now," he said. "This variant, it's pretty bad. It's more contagious."

He went on to shed light on how hospitalized COVID patients are coping with the illness. Abo added, "And they are very sick and they're miserable and they want something done about it, and I keep telling them, 'You can't turn back time and get vaccinated,'" Abo said. "A majority say they wish they got vaccinated."

At one point during the interview, Abo admitted how frustrating it is knowing that the latest COVID resurgence is largely due to adults refusing to get the vaccine. "It's just horrible," Abo said. "I'm so sick and tired of it. People were given a way out of this and they didn't take it."

However, he also noted that their illness is their own responsibility. "They can kill themselves," Abo said. "The problem is they're ignorant about what they do to other people and how they tax the systems."

In addition to being frustrated with non-vaccinated adults, Abo, like many other doctors, is not pleased with governors politicizing public health. "I think it is ridiculous that the governors like Florida and Texas continue to make it political and not allow people to make sound judgments," he said.

Abo's remarks come as other doctors in Florida are also sounding off. According to Vanity Fair, some have bluntly described Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as an "embarrassment."

An excerpt from The Independent also highlights doctors' concerns about DeSantis' handling of COVID-19.

"Florida doctors say they're "angry and ashamed" over governor Ron DeSantis's response to the resurgent coronavirus," the publication wrote. "The high-profile Republican has repeatedly criticized federal public health guidance and vowed not to institute new lockdowns or mask mandates, even as the state becomes the national epicenter of the virus, with the delta variant ravaging the unvaccinated segments of its population."

During an interview with WLRN, Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist who is the director of Florida's Committee to Protect Health Care, slammed DeSantis' "Freedom over Faucism" rhetoric. While the Republican governor is selling paraphernalia mocking the nation's top infectious disease expert, thousands of new COVID cases are being reported in his state.

"While hospitals in our state were filling up, DeSantis was shouting about 'Freedom over Faucism,'" Ashby said. "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."

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