“Until we get a vaccine, which is a while off, this is going to be our new normal,” Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said at a press conference on Monday.
Experts believe it will be at least a year, if not 18 months, before a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.
After making the remark, Rivkees was led out of the press conference by a spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close ally of US President Donald Trump.
Florida residents should get used to wearing masks in public and avoiding groups of 10 or more until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is available, state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Monday.
An appointee of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Rivkees was then led out of the press conference before answering any further questions, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Before being escorted out by a spokesperson for the governor, Rivkees told Floridians that the status quo was unlikely to change anytime soon.
“Until we get a vaccine, which is a while off, this is going to be our new normal,” he said, “and we need to adapt and protect ourselves.”
Some experts believe a COVID-19 vaccine is no less than 18 months away.
“As long as we’re going to have COVID in the environment,” Rivkees continued, “and this is a tough virus, we’re going to have to practice these measures so that we are all protected.”
Rivkees was “whisked away by the governor’s spokeswoman” after making his remarks, the Times reported.
A spokesperson for Rivkees said he left to attend a meeting with DeSantis’ deputy chief of staff.
Waiting until mid-2021 to relax most social-distancing measures runs counter to the expressed wishes of Gov. DeSantis, a close ally of US President Donald Trump, who recently suggested that Florida schools could reopen as soon as next month.
Trump, likewise, has launched a task force aimed at getting back to business as usual “as soon as possible.” Last week, the director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, told Business Insider that could backfire — requiring extreme measures for even longer.
DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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