DeSantis at odds with doctors over mask mandate, children in hospitals

Reporter: Breana Ross
Published: Updated:
Gov. DeSantis. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Gov. Ron DeSantis is doubling down on his stance against mask mandates, but doctors are firm on their position too, saying that children are suffering from COVID-19.

During a press conference in Surfside on Tuesday morning, DeSantis pointed to stats saying the delta variant is not causing more kids to get very sick.

“You’ve not seen a change in the proportion of young people who wind up being admitted,” DeSantis said. “If you believe in the masking in the schools, you are free to do it. No one is saying you can’t, but if you are someone that is concerned about it and you think that maybe it’s not the right thing for your child, then I think you should have the right to make that ultimate decision.”

While doctors at Golisano Children’s Hospital can’t speak directly to DeSantis’ stats, they can speak to what they see every day.

With 38 years of caring for children in the ICU, Tami Anderson thought she’d seen it all.

Until now.

“Our units are full,” said Anderson, charge nurse leader of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Golisano. “Our intensive care unit is full. We are tired.”

The pandemic has been challenging, she said.

“But I think what we’ve seen the last week and a half is unprecedented even for us.”

Dr. Salomon Abitbol has seen an increase, too.

“If you admit as many children in one night than you’ve had the whole entire year, that’s kind of got to tell you something,” said Abitbol, a pediatric hospitalist.

“It’s pressure put on the pediatric ward because we are not expecting a previously healthy child to suddenly get sick.”

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