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South Florida doctor urges vaccinations as COVID-19 cases climb

Dr. Samer Fahmy, the chief medical officer at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, speaks to WPTV on July 28, 2021.jpg
Posted at 11:52 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 11:55:52-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is holding firm on his decision to avoid mask mandates in the Sunshine State, even as concerns about COVID-19 intensify at hospitals across South Florida.

According to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, fully vaccinated people should wear face masks indoors in crowded settings.

Those recommendations are sharp turn from what we saw two months ago, when people across the country and in South Florida were told they no longer needed to wear masks indoors if they are fully vaccinated.

The CDC is now advising everyone in K-12 schools to wear masks inside, regardless if they're vaccinated.

Doctors are making their message very clear that getting the COVID-19 vaccine has the potential to save lives.

"Locally in our community, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of infections and the number of people ending in hospitals," said Dr. Samer Fahmy, the chief medical officer at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. "So while masking is not perfect, it is an effective way to bend that curve. Those who are unvaccinated are the ones that are ending up in hospitals, ending up in the ICU, and the ones ending up, unfortunately, dying of the disease."

According to the CDC, about 10 million Floridians are fully vaccinated, which is about half of the state's population.

A new report from Johns Hopkins University said that in order to reach what's considered herd immunity, at least 15 million people in Florida would need to be fully vaccinated.