"We are exhausted. Our patience and resources are running low and we need your help."
Florida is currently experiencing its worst surge of the pandemic since March 2020. Last week, the state of Florida was averaging nearly 25,000 new cases per day and more than 17,000 Floridians are hospitalized with COVID-19. Overwhelmed and running out of resources, 75 Florida doctors in the Palm Beach area gathered for a news conference to beg people to get the COVID vaccine.
"We are exhausted. Our patience and resources are running low and we need your help," Dr. Rupesh Dharia, from Palm Beach Internal Medicine, told WFLA News.
Florida also leads all 50 states in the number of hospitalizations and deaths per capita. A vast majority of hospitalizations are patients who remain unvaccinated—only 52% of all Floridians are currently vaccinated.
Before their shifts began, the group of doctors stood outside and spoke to the public about the high number of people in the area who refuse to get the COVID vaccine.
Dozens of Palm Beach County doctors urge community to get COVID-19 vaccine www.youtube.com
"This time around, this variant is deadlier, it is impacting the lungs quicker, it is eating away at the lungs, it is causing more problems … and the patients are dying quicker," Dr. Ahmed El-Haddad of Jupiter Medical Center told WPTV News.
The doctors hope more Floridians get vaccinated to prevent hospitals and medical facilities from further overcrowding.
"The heartbreak now, is we're not just going in to work and working long hours, but we're seeing people who don't need to be in the hospital, who are healthy and young, who don't have the co-morbidities that we typically see, and they're getting this from a preventable illness," Dr. Ethan Chapin of Jupiter Medical Center told WPTV.
Last week, it was reported that over 5,000 students in the Tampa area were quarantined after just one week in school due to contracting COVID and COVID exposure. Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, issued an executive order banning school districts from mandating masks—despite the data that shows mask-wearing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
During the news conference, Chapin also said it's frustrating to treat patients who could have avoided getting sick if they had just gotten vaccinated.
"The irony is difficult to deal with some times," he said. "It's [them] trying to reach out to us when we've already extended our hand to help them. And they've pushed it aside, and ignored our advice, and then they come back asking. And it's frustrating, and heartbreaking."
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