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BIDEN: "I say to these governors, please help. But if you aren't going to help, at least get out of the way."
President Joe Biden singled out the Republican governors from Florida and Texas on Tuesday to urge them to follow rather than oppose public health guidelines as the United States races to contain the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, particularly in southern states with relatively low vaccination rates.
BIDEN: "Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country... If some governors aren't willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it."
Florida and Louisiana have emerged as the latest hot spots in the United States, with both reporting record numbers of hospitalized COVID patients, straining hospitals.
In Louisiana, intensive care unit nurse Felicia Croft, who has been on the frontline since the pandemic began, said the current wave of COVID-19 has been toughest for her.
CROFT: "The Delta wave that we are seeing now, people are younger and sicker and we are intubating and losing people that are my age and younger."
The outbreak in Louisiana has prompted Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards to order residents to wear masks again indoors.
But in Florida, which has reported roughly a fifth of all new U.S. cases, Governor Ron DeSantis has opposed many COVID-19 restrictions and, last week, issued an executive order blocking mask mandates in the state's schools.
The U.S. is now averaging about 72,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in the U.S.
Earlier on Tuesday, Biden's chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he expects that number to rise.
FAUCI: "We are going to be between one hundred and two hundred thousand cases before this thing starts to turn around."