The Southern region of the United States largely votes for Republican politicians. And with the GOP now being the party of Trump, those lawmakers are fine with putting their constituents in danger to spare the former president’s feelings.
So those governors have turned the pandemic into a culture war issue rather than a health concern. And according to Dr. Peter Hotez, that has set up the South the be a COVID powder keg.
The doctor told host Jonathan Capehart:
“We are seeing a very worrisome surge across the southern states, and it’s going in a giant shape of a “U” starting in Missouri, down to Arkansas, Louisiana, cutting across east into Florida and then going up into the Carolinas. And it has a different flavor from the surge that we saw last summer. It’s true that we have a lot more older Americans who are vaccinated, so the deaths are nothing like what we saw before. But what we’re seeing in its place is lots and lots of young people getting sick. And lots of hospitalizations for young people. We’re even starting to see now pediatric intensive care unit admissions. I don’t think this virus is selectively targeting kids, I just think pretty much anyone that’s not vaccinated is getting swept up in this. And the big worry is in August here in the south, schools start early. They start earlier than they do up in the north. And I think this is really going to act as an accelerant for this epidemic. What I’m holding my breath about, given the fact that except for Louisiana we don’t have mask mandates, we certainly don’t have vaccination mandates for COVID vaccines, we have fewer than 20% of adolescents vaccinated in most southern states, this is a powder keg.”
Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and hillreporter.com. He enjoys sports, politics, comic books and spending time at the shore with his family.