WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Joe Biden called out local officials, including the GOP governors of Florida and Texas to help in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Biden said: “If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way.”
- Though not naming Desantis and Abbott, Biden urged governors to “Use your power to save lives.”
President Joe Biden on Tuesday called out Republican leaders in Florida and Texas to help in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic as the US struggles to mitigate the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The two Red states comprise a third of all new U.S. COVID-19 infections.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been known to oppose strict COVID-19 restrictions. On Friday, he ordered to block mask mandates in the state’s schools.
In May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that would impose fines for mask mandates.
Biden, who did not reference the two men by name, said: “Some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, and they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it.”
“I say to these governors: please help, but you aren’t going to help at least get out of the way,” the president continued. “The people are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”
White House pandemic response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters on Monday that one in three new COVID-19 infections in the country occurred in Florida and Texas in the past week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were about 72,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in the country as of Saturday. That means, a 44% increase over the previous week.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that the Big Apple will start to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at restaurants, gyms and other businesses. Biden is urging other US cities and localities to follow suit.
The president also announced the US had donated over 110 million vaccine doses to 65 countries.