‘We need to follow the science’: Florida doctors push for statewide mask mandate as another possible COVID-19 surge looms

Doctors across Florida are calling for a new course of action from the state as they monitor concerning trends of rising coronavirus cases.

These doctors said Florida is facing another surge like we saw back in July, and they said it could be even worse if nothing changes.

READ: Florida reports 67 more coronavirus-related deaths, more than 4,100 new cases

They said something like a mask mandate could really make a huge difference, and their biggest concern is overwhelming the health care system.

Officials at local hospitals in Orlando said that hospitalizations have remained about the same for the last several weeks.

READ: CDC changes COVID-19 close contact definition to total exposure to infected

But nationwide, hospitalizations are up by more than 33%, and and more than 2,300 people are currently in a hospital bed fighting COVID-19 in Florida.

“It feels like we’re right back where we started at the beginning of summer,” cardiologist Dr. Bernard Ashby said.

“As a physician, that’s not a good feeling. As a Florida residence and a father, that’s, you know, downright despicable.”

READ: How Trump, Biden address the COVID-19 pandemic differently during rallies

Ashby said the White House Coronavirus Task Force recently notified Florida that there’s an uptick in the spread of COVID-19 here, and that all of the analytics show we’re headed for another surge.

“And what we’re seeing is nothing is being done,” Ashby said. “I mean, it’s almost as if they’re sticking their head in the sand and hoping it’ll go away. If anything, it’s not.”

Physicians on the Committee to Protect Medicare said they’re also concerned about the governor’s plans involving herd immunity.

“I don’t know what else to do except to speak up loudly and forcefully and say that our patients matter, our community matters and we need to follow the science on this,” Ashby said.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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