- A Florida county commissioner who opposed mandatory masks was recently hospitalized with the coronavirus.
- The number of new coronavirus cases in Florida has skyrocketed in recent weeks.
A Florida county commissioner named Paul Waldron — who previously voted against a mandate requiring people to wear masks — recently contracted the coronavirus and is now in the hospital in critical condition.
Word of Waldron’s hospitalization first surfaced this past Friday via a Facebook post from Waldron’s daughter. While Waldron was initially in the “most critical of conditions” after experiencing septic shock, his condition is said to be slowly improving. Still, the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on a number of his organs.
According to Waldron’s daughter, his vital signs are holding steady, if not improving. She adds that the hospital “is working hard to keep him comfortable and continuously monitoring him.”
Waldron has served as St. Johns County Commissioner since 2016 and had planned to run unopposed for the office again in 2020.
As of July 10, St. John’s has has a total of 1,730 confirmed cases and 10 related deaths. Currently, the county has the 24th highest number of cases amongst Florida’s 67 counties.
Waldron’s story, unfortunately, is far from unique. Over the past few weeks and months, there have been numerous stories involving individuals who dismissed the severity of COVID-19 only to find themselves infected and fighting for their lives.
While it’s easy for people — especially on social media — to harp on the irony of this situation, the real takeaway here is that the coronavirus is deadly and people need to take social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing extremely seriously.
More broadly, the current situation in Florida underscores what happens when people choose to ignore safety guidelines championed by medical health professionals. The number of new coronavirus cases in Florida has skyrocketed in recent weeks, and there’s currently no telling when it may start to subside. Just this weekend, Florida reported nearly 15,300 new coronavirus cases, a figure which is higher than we’ve seen in any other state since the pandemic began in March.
All told, Florida has now seen close to 270,000 coronavirus cases. To put that figure into context, Florida now has more coronavirus cases than Italy. The sad reality is that the coronavirus, while subsiding dramatically across many parts of the world, is rising to record levels across a number of U.S. states.
Meanwhile, work on a coronavirus vaccine remains ongoing. Dr. Anthony Fauci has indicated that we might see a vaccine become available in late 2020 at the absolute earliest. A more realistic timeline would see a coronavirus vaccine become available in early 2021. As it stands now, multiple clinical tests are slated to begin later this summer. All that said, it’s worth noting that the first coronavirus vaccine may not prevent an initial infection but would instead help prevent some of the virus’s more severe symptoms from taking hold.