The editorial board of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper urged Floridans to get vaccinated, saying in an editorial published Saturday that the consequences of "losing this fight against COVID" will set the country up for more despair.
“Please, Florida, let’s say enough, once and for all. We can stop it from getting worse. There’s a vaccine. It’s safe. It’s free. It’s easy. And it works,” the editorial board wrote.
“The vaccine is virtually everything we need to stop this scourge, to return to lives that aren’t inconvenienced, interrupted or ended by this disease,” it continued.
Florida has continued to see a surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported daily, with high counts not seen since January. According to the data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state had 14,258 new cases on Friday, topping the previous day’s case count of 13,256.
On Jan. 30 of this year, the state saw 14,654 cases.
According to CDC data, the U.S. recorded 64,317 Friday, and Florida made up around 22 percent of new cases for that day.
Last week, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Rocky US alliances as Biden heads to UN assembly Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior —Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine safe for young kids The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Pfizer deems COVID vaccine 'safe' for children 5+ MORE said that Florida made up one in five new cases in the country.
"Just four states accounted for more than 40 percent of all cases in the past week, with 1 in 5 of all cases occurring in Florida alone," Zients said during a briefing last week.
According to data published on Friday from Florida's Department of Health, 60 percent of Floridans aged 12 and up have been vaccinated.
The editorial board asked readers to speak with friends and family who might be reluctant about receiving the vaccine and sought to dispel myths about the vaccine that have circulated, including false claims that vaccines contain microchips and cause infertility.
The editorial board also listed vaccination sites by county where people could receive their shot.
“We’re heartsick over the suffering of those who become seriously ill, and the toll it takes on health-care workers who now find themselves back where they started 18 months ago. How frustrated those workers must be, knowing that nearly every patient they’re treating now probably wouldn’t be hospitalized had they received a vaccine,” the editorial said.
“Much of this never had to happen. But it did. The question now is what we’re going to do about it. Please, Florida, go get vaccinated this weekend. Go spread the word this weekend. Go kick COVID’s ass this weekend,” the editorial added.