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Thursday, June 30, 2022

‘You Cannot Mask Your Way Out Of This’: Sen. Marco Rubio

FLORIDA — In a video shared on Twitter Thursday, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio calls on unvaccinated Floridians to get the COVID-19 vaccine, rather than instituting a statewide or local mask mandate, as coronavirus cases surge throughout the state.

“You cannot mask your way out of this,” he said. “The only answer is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”

The surge in new cases and hospitalizations is because of those who haven’t been vaccinated, he said.

“If you look at what’s happening right now, the reason why we have a surge in hospitalizations is not because vaccinated people weren’t wearing masks and, therefore, they spread it to all these people,” Rubio said. “The reason why we have it is that we have a variant that spreads a lot faster, so you infect more people with it, and we don’t have enough people vaccinated.”

The Florida Hospital Association reported 12,041 new COVID-19-related hospitalizations statewide Wednesday, a new daily record. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker, nearly 17,000 new cases and 140 deaths were reported in Florida Tuesday.

Rubio said that after a year-and-a-half, many people, who are “tired of being told what to do” and traumatized by the pandemic, don’t want additional safety protocols, such as mask mandates, put in place.

As COVID-19 cases surge in Florida, “they think they’re gonna close their business again. They think their kids aren’t going to be able to go back to school for another year. They don’t want to hear about it,” he said.

He added, “They got vaccinated and they’re done, OK. If they get a cold, which is what COVID is if you get a vaccine, for the most part, they’re willing to do that. They’re just to shut down and they’re just tired of being told what to do.”

In the same video, Rubio acknowledged that hospital workers have also been traumatized by the pandemic.

“I mean, they’re being overwhelmed again in some places,” he said.

A former high school teammate even died from coronavirus in recent weeks, the U.S. senator added.

He implored Floridians who haven’t been vaccinated yet to get inoculated against COVID-19.

“We have a lot of people unvaccinated. We have a variant that spreads faster, so it infects more unvaccinated people, and some percentage of unvaccinated people, even if they’re younger, are gonna wind up in the hospital with a really bad outcome in some cases, and the more people are infected, the higher that number is going to be and that’s what we’re experiencing,” he said.

Mask mandates won’t help slow the spread, Rubio added, because “a lot of these infections aren’t happening at a Publix or a CVS or a Walgreens. They’re happening because people are getting together Saturday night at home to have a barbecue and it’s just unrealistic. People aren’t going to wear a mask in those settings. They’re not going to do it.”

He added, “If we get more people vaccinated, the world’s gonna look very different a month from now. Let’s get that done.”

According to the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report, as of July 29, nearly 11.8 million people have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Florida. That number represents 61 percent of the population.

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