Despite data showing that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness from the Delta variant, some Florida hospitals are still being overwhelmed by virus patients who are mostly unvaccinated. The New York Times found two University of Florida hospitals in Jacksonville that are grappling with the highest number of COVID-19 patients they’ve had since the start of the pandemic, with growing fear over when it may actually end. “It’s very frustrating,” Dr. Leon Haley, chief executive of UF Health Jacksonville, told the Times. “Each day we continue to go up. There’s no sense of when things are going to curtail themselves. People are stretched thin.” Haley said 90 percent of patients were unvaccinated, while the remaining vaccinated population had comorbidities or were on immunosuppressant drugs.
Local officials are citing the growing misinformation around vaccines as the source of the uptick, but both they and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis are adamantly opposed to imposing new COVID measures. DeSantis took it a step further Thursday, saying he would call a special legislative session if President Joe Biden tried to implement a mask mandate in schools.