U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday, August 3, told Republican leaders in Florida and Texas to cooperate with the efforts to withstand COVID-19 or “get out of the way.”
“Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states,” Biden said.
Both the Republican governors vowed to stand firm in blocking mask mandates and other restrictions the CDC recommended despite spiking COVID-19 cases, supporting a more voluntary approach to counter the Delta variant.
“I believe the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents,” the president said.
“I say to these governors, please help,” he pleaded. “If you aren’t going to help at least get out of the way of the people that are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”
Last Friday, July 30, Florida Gov. DeSantis (R) issued an executive order barring mask-mandate in schools, giving the option for parents to decide.
Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declared that Texas would counter the Delta variant with personal responsibility, barring businesses and local officials from imposing any COVID-19 related mandate.
“Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it,” said Biden, not directly referencing the two governors’ names.
However, both the leaders of Texas and Florida at least still promote the need for getting vaccinated, but they were clear personal choices would be respected.
Responding to the President’s plea, Abbott was unwavering with his measures.
“Every Texan has a right to choose for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, or get vaccinated,” Abbott told NBCDFW.
“Vaccines are the most effective defense against contracting COVID and becoming seriously ill, and we continue to urge all eligible Texans to get the vaccine. The COVID vaccine will always remain voluntary and never forced in Texas.”
New COVID-19 cases in both the states continue to soar high on Tuesday, with Florida reporting an all-time high of 11,515 patients, including 2,400 in ICUs, and Texas had 14,000 new cases with nearly 500 hospitalized patients.
But despite the worrisome statistics, DeSantis said no lockdown would be implemented.
“We’re not shutting down, we’re gonna have schools open, we’re protecting every Floridian’s job,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at the news conference, stressing his disbelief in the effectiveness of ordering people to stay home.
“These interventions have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic, not just in the United States but abroad,” he said. “They have not stopped the spread and particularly with delta which is even more transmissible, if it didn’t stop it before, it definitely ain’t gonna stop it now.”