A traveling ICU doctor blames politics, mixed messages for new coronavirus cases: 'These people really didn't need to die'

As coronavirus cases in the US reach 2,545,250, Arizona broke the record with the highest single-day increase, with 3,591 new cases on June 27th. Meanwhile, Scottsdale Councilman, Guy Phillips made headlines last week when he announced, “I can’t breathe” — the last words of Eric Garner and George Floyd that’s become a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement — before removing his face-mask during an anti-mask rally. This falls in line with a worrisome trend of public leaders speaking out against the use of protective face coverings, something that experts say is vital in slowing the spread of coronavirus. “What bothers the healthcare workers is mixed messaging from our leaders,” traveling critical care specialist Dr. Luis Rosario tells Yahoo Life, “Why do you have to politicize a mask? I will never understand that.” Rosario is currently working 12-hour night shifts in a Miami ICU, but since late March he has traveled to hospitals throughout the U.S., wherever critical care is needed most. Rosario tells Yahoo Life that while watching the virus travel from state to state, he has seen it devastate already struggling communities disproportionately.

Video Transcript

DR. LUIS ROSARIO: The hardest part for the staff and for myself is mixed messaging from our leaders, politicizing a mask.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: It's the personal choice of any individual as to whether to wear a mask.

GOVERNOR CUOMO: You must wear a mask when you are in public.

- I can't breathe.



DR. LUIS ROSARIO: I will never understand that. It's hurtful, and we take it personal. Not because we have to work more, but because all the suffering we have to see. Just a never ending nightmare.


I'm a critical care doctor, and I travel providing critical care coverage wherever it's needed. Since the pandemic started, I've worked in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and I've also been to a few places in California. It's been a hard couple months. I've seen the disease move from place to place, and effect all this community.

In North Carolina I worked in areas where the African-American population has been really bad hit. African-Americans are four times to one more cases than Whites. Some nights three, four cardiac arrests. And that was every day. Every day, every day, every day, every day.

Decisions are being made irresponsibly, not following the science and the data. Like in states like Arizona, where the numbers never got down. They're wide open. Even the clubs are open. And you can see people walking around everywhere without masks. Meanwhile, the Navajo Nation is just burning. Native American population, people are dying by the hundreds. Their households are multi-generational. They obviously cannot social distance. Family members told me there were six people from their family that have died. Elders. They don't even count them in the statistics.

Well, I really can't believe we're here.

This is not a second wave. What's happening now, it's the first wave that we never got over. After March and April, I don't blame people for that surge, because nobody knew what coronavirus was. Now there is no excuse now. Before we were reacting, but lately, now we are just sitting around and watching it happen. Better policies and more responsible openings of the economy would have definitely saved lives.

LARRY KUDLOW: We have no intention whatsoever of shutting down the economy.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: If we stopped testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any.

DR. LUIS ROSARIO: Don't listen to what some of our leaders are saying. There is a problem happening right now, even if they're saying that it's because of increased testing, or they're celebrating that the death rate is lower. You can not pretend to go back to what you were doing before. We have to have common sense. We have to wear masks. We have to wash our hands. And we have to practice social distancing. Those are the three things that we have to do, and they are not difficult things to do. Maybe you won't get sick, but you're going to get somebody sick. We are the ones that are going to see these people suffer that really didn't need to die.

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