As the number of Delta cases spike in several midwestern and southern states, some leaders are struggling to communicate around and contain the contagious new variant.
For the past three weeks, one in five COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has emerged in Florida.
Despite the overflowing hospitals, DeSantis blames the recent 208% spike in cases on seasonal patterns.
He is aggressively fighting efforts to reinstitute mask mandates, saying: “I get a little bit frustrated when I see some of these jurisdictions saying, even if you’re healthy and vaccinated you must wear a mask because we’re seeing increased cases… Understand what that message is sending to people who aren’t vaccinated. It’s telling them that the vaccines don’t work.”
In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson has been touring the state to encourage communities to get vaccinated but has been met with obstinate and sometimes aggressive audiences. Two weeks ago the state received over $9 million from the federal government to aid in the rural vaccination effort, but it’s making little headway.
With one of the highest rates of per capita infections in the country, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey says “it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for the continued hospitalizations and deaths.
Speaking in Birmingham last Thursday, she told reporters, “Folks are supposed to have common sense… I’ve done all I know how to do,” she said. “I can encourage you to do something, but I can’t make you take care of yourself.”
Alabama is tied for the lowest vaccination rate in the country at just 34%.