How long, early voting lines could impact COVID-19 infections
Dr. Adrian Burrowes, CEO of the Family Medicine Physician & CFP Physicians Group, discusses Florida with Akiko Fujita of Yahoo Finance and reports the highest COVID-19 number in two months.
AKIKO FUJITA: The US is preparing for a possible third coronavirus peak, with the number of cases rising in 38 states. Globally, we have seen the number of infections now reach 40 million. Let's Dr. Bring in Adrian Burrowes. He is the family doctor and CEO of the CFP Physicians Group. He comes to us today from outside Orlando. And Dr. Burrowes, you are good to speak to, though certainly not in good circumstances. In Florida, we saw over the weekend that Florida reported the highest number of cases in two months, more than 4,000 cases in a single day. What is contributing to this increase?
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ADRIAN BURROWES: So thank you for having me with you. So Florida had done a pretty good job of controlling the coronavirus by putting in some lockdowns and pushing really, really hard to encourage social distancing and the wearing of masks. Well, now the governor has opened bars, opened nightclubs, he is making stadiums work at full capacity, which luckily the stadium owners haven't done yet.
But I think those who are very careless about treating the population here in Florida are again contributing to this coronavirus growth in our state. That, along with autumn when we see a lot more viruses that we would normally see around this time during this period, and the coronavirus is likely more effective in colder weather. I think that's why you're seeing this uptick now.
AKIKO FUJITA: Yes Doctor, it feels like we've seen this story before. A few months ago we talked about Governor DeSantis lifting these restrictions. We saw the upward trend and then the restrictions went down again. And yet yesterday we received from Dr. Heard Fauci, who spoke to "60 Minutes," saying he didn't see another economic standstill that was simply possible, saying the virus was too tired right now. As a doctor who can get this under control, what do you see as a realistic measure to control the spread now?
ADRIAN BURROWES: So yeah, I think we really need to focus now on doing what science tells us is the right thing to do. And science has told us that wearing a mask is the right thing to do. It is the right thing for all anti-mask wearers. This is the right thing for social distance. If you keep washing your hands and doing the things we know, you can reduce the spread of the virus.
Now I think people have developed a lot of COVID fatigue. It's out there for sure. And I think the lack of political support, when we have a science that has shown us what is right, that is what it is about. So I urge all viewers to stick to science, stick to people like Dr. To hold on to Fauci and try to ignore all the political rhetoric that has now infused itself into a public health problem and has become more and more a political problem.
AKIKO FUJITA: And Doctor, we've heard from a number of our guests who have said, look, there are concerns about the surge in the virus, but this time, given what has been learned over the past few months, doctors are better equipped to deal with the surge. What do you see there on the ground? And do you agree?
ADRIAN BURROWES: So I think that after having had some experience dealing with COVID-19 from a previous part of this year, many hospital systems have been able to prepare for an upturn that is definitely imminent when we have another wave of COVID-19. The hospitals here where I actually have traveling nurses are prepared and ready for a possible upward trend. And we've received a lot more supplies lately.
So these are the things that we fought against before. We really weren't prepared. We didn't have the supplies we had. And now I think we've seen a lot more of it. That being said, I think we'll see a significant increase in the future. Hopefully the public will help us by doing the right things.
AKIKO FUJITA: Let's talk about the electoral risk associated with COVID. Saw these long lines across the country in states that have already started their early voting. Florida too, today I believe the first day of the early vote in the state there. What do you say to some of your patients who are concerned about whether they should actually go to the vote? Is there any potential for some of these polling stations to become spreader events? Or are you satisfied with the measures that have been taken to allow people to vote in person?
ADRIAN BURROWES: Well, I guess it depends on the polling station. I've seen a few polling stations that have clear six-foot demarcations between people in line. I have seen that they are really aware of the people who take them in, how many people they let into the polling stations. And then I saw some others that look like total disasters.
And I think if people have these concerns they really need to call their polling stations and see exactly how it is. You can safely see what the polling stations look like. I understand why people have concerns. Mail is still an option for many people. But I think for the people who really want to go in and vote just make sure you do your best to socially distance yourself. And if you don't see it, talk to the people around you and let them know that you want to see this around you as an individual, to spread around you.
AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, it was certainly comforting to see that some of these images are from those who actually stay aloof while waiting in these long polls. Let me ask you that, because we talked a lot about the business cycle negotiations in Washington. Much of the discussion revolved around the testing program and contact tracing.
And you heard House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi speak about making sure there is a comprehensive approach at the federal level. And some of the disagreements concern the language of it. How comfortable are you in the system that is currently in place? Are there enough tests? When talking about the state of Florida, is enough contact tracing being done?
ADRIAN BURROWES: So I think that not enough is being done. I think so that we can really bring COVID-19 back the way we need it, the federal government needs to set clear rules and guidelines for dealing with this virus. And that hasn't happened yet. We as a population need guidance from our federal government to explain to us how to fight the virus, to pursue the science behind the contact tracing and testing protocols. And I think when we start doing that we will really try to reduce our cases of coronavirus. At our level, we shouldn't do this badly.
AKIKO FUJITA: I think a lot of people would agree, especially given the boom we've seen in the state of Florida and other states in the country. Dr. Adrian Burrowes, it is good to speak to you. Cherish your time.
ADRIAN BURROWES: Thank you very much.
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