‘Designed To Frighten You’ Florida Gov. DeSantis Downplays New Variant Label, Advises Vaccination

Sebastian Hughes 

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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida downplayed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to label the delta variant of COVID-19 as one of “concern.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about variants leading up to this,” DeSantis said after a state cabinet meeting, according to News4Jax. “I think it gets put out there in ways designed to frighten people.”

The CDC previously categorized the delta variant as a “variant of interest,” but the new label means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility and more severe disease.

“Right now, in the United States, it’s about 10% of infections. It’s doubling every two weeks,” said former federal Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on CBS News show “Face The Nation.” He noted the variant would “probably” become the dominant strain in the U.S.

DeSantis went on to say that while he expects cases in Florida to rise over the summer, he doesn’t “think it’s going to go up anywhere like it did last summer because we have so much immunity.” For those concerned, he advised getting vaccinated.

“The best thing you can do, particularly if you haven’t gotten the vaccine, particularly if you have any health problems … is to get a shot,” DeSantis said.

A study released by Public Health England Monday showed that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 96% effective at preventing hospitalizations by the delta variant, while two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca were 92% effective in the same regard.

DeSantis banned vaccine passports in April and has faced intense criticism from Democrats for his handling of the pandemic in the Sunshine State.

“Governor DeSantis has failed Florida at every stage of this pandemic, and now he has let down Floridians once again by failing to effectively lead efforts to get our state fully vaccinated,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz.

Florida has fully vaccinated 42.7% of its population and 51.6% have gotten at least one shot, according to NPR.

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