Fauci hits out over DeSantis t-shirts targeting him

Fauci hits out over DeSantis t-shirts targeting him
‘There’s no place’ for politics amid Covid-19 surge, Dr Fauci tells CNN

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’ leading infectious disease expert, condemned a fundraising site for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for selling T-shirts and other merchandise mocking Covid-19 and Dr Fauci himself.

“We have an extraordinary problem that is killing people in the United States, killing us, putting us in the hospital, so that kind of politicization … there’s no place for that when you’re dealing with a public health crisis,’ Dr Fauci told CNN on Sunday.

More than half of the Florida population is fully vaccinated, but as the more contagious Delta variant spreads, Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in the state since the beginning of July 2021. In fact, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are at the highest levels of the pandemic so far.

Despite the surge in cases, Mr DeSantis has called for a ban on mask mandates in schools even though children under age 12 are ineligible for vaccination. A judge, however, blocked the ban because it violated the state constitution.

The merchandise has messages attacking Dr Fauci, like: “Don’t Fauci my Florida.” A drink cooler criticises Covid-19 mitigation strategies with sayings like “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”

The website itself is not an official campaign website for the governor, but Florida’s gubernatorial race will take place next year. Mr DeSantis, who is also thought to be a 2024 Republican presidential contender, is eligible to run for another term.

Helen Aguirre Ferre, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, told Newsweek that the merchandise is supposed to be playful.

“While this isn’t an official campaign website, as Gov DeSantis hasn’t filed papers for his re-election, we view it as a great opportunity to have some lighthearted fun and give his supporters a chance to feel even more connected with his message of keeping Florida free,” Ms Ferre said.

Meanwhile, Dr Fauci said he’s only relaying CDC guidelines in preventing Covid-19 spread.

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