With the CDC announcing that vaccinated Americans can ditch masks and social distancing, and state Governor Ron DeSantis rescinding COVID-19 restrictions, many South Florida residents seem to think that the country is at the end of the pandemic. But Broward County Mayor Steve Geller says this is absolutely not the case.
Some 60 percent of Broward County’s adult population have been vaccinated, compared to 48 percent of the adult population statewide. At least 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Mayor Geller says he recognizes that County residents have been gleeful about the relaxation of the protocols, but said that this is premature.
“When you have roughly 60 percent of the adult population vaccinated, you would expect the [COVID-19] numbers to continue to improve. However, I have sensed a giddiness that the COVID crisis is now completely over. It is not completely over. It has been substantially improving and if we continue to use common sense precautions, it is our hope that we can beat this,” he said during a community update press conference on May 19.
Mayor Geller noted that of Broward County’s total population, only 47 percent of residents have been vaccinated. He said that in the last few weeks, with updates on restrictions, vaccination rates have slowed in the county.
He also called out Broward County’s large Caribbean-American community, who he says have been generally hesitant to take the shot.
“We have seen in Broward County, some of our southern zip codes and some areas of West Broward show an alarming discrepancy in the percentage of people vaccinated. We’ve seen hesitancy particularly gaming the Caribbean-American communities. Again, it does not matter your age, ethnicity, or national origin. I am urging everybody to protect themselves and their community. Get vaccinated. COVID is not over,” he said.
Mayor Geller says that as more variants of the virus emerge and become present in the United States, it has become even more necessary for residents to take the shot. He also urged businesses and residents to continue to follow safety protocols, despite the new CDC guidelines.