As hospitalizations surge in South Florida, dozens of doctors and healthcare workers staged a press conference to beg people to get vaccinated
Healthcare workers across the country have faced unimaginable burdens over the past 18 months. As COVID cases continue to rise nationwide — in no small part due to eligible adults refusing to get vaccines and wear masks in public — it’s understandable that some are, frankly, burned out.
Dozens of doctors from various South Florida healthcare facilities held a news conference outside a doctor’s office in the city of Palm Beach Gardens on Monday morning in hopes of appealing to unvaccinated COVID patients, according to local news outlets.
Roughly 75 doctors from nearby hospitals and offices stepped outside the hospital doors in an attempt to encourage local community members to get vaccinated. Local NBC affiliate WFLA reported that the doctors were not on duty at the time, gathering either before or after their shifts — and they’re pleading with people to just get the vaccine as quickly as possible.
“We are exhausted. Our patience and resources are running low and we need your help,” Dr. Rupesh Dharia from Palm Beach Internal Medicine told the outlet.
Florida, in particular, is a worrying hotbed of virus spread. The state is currently experiencing the largest COVID-19 outbreak of any state in the country, reporting nearly 150,000 new cases in the past week alone, according to data released on Monday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The state’s hospitals are rapidly reaching 85 percent capacity, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This fact, paired with data from the Mayo Clinic that only 51.6 percent of Florida residents are fully vaccinated, means things are dire. The end result: Healthcare facilities hitting max capacity, and even greater burden placed on healthcare workers to help save those who refused to get their vaccine early enough.
“Many of these patients have decided not to get vaccinated, but when they’re hospitalized they tell us they wish they had,” Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a neurologist and director of the stroke program at Jupiter Medical Center, told local NBC affiliate West Palm Beach TV (WCTV).
“This variant is completely uncharted territory,” added Dr. Jose De Olazabal, the chief of staff at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. Dr. Ahmen Elhaddad, the ICU medical director at Jupiter Medical Center noted that the fast-spreading Delta variant “is impacting the lungs quicker. It’s eating away at the lungs. It’s causing more problems.”
“While we are lucky that children are affected mildly for the most part, we are seeing a significant increase of hospitalizations for children with COVID locally and nationally,” noted Dr. Sarrie Katz, a pediatrician with Premier Pediatrics in Jupiter.
The sobering bottom line, per Dr. Elhaddad: “These people are dying. It’s real, it’s happening, and the only way we know to prevent it is to get vaccinated.”