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Floridians need to practice social distancing until there’s a vaccine, surgeon general says

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees escorted from room shortly after making comments

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees speaks at April 13 coronavirus press briefing.
Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees speaks at April 13 coronavirus press briefing. (The Florida Channel)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Floridians will need to continue practicing social distancing for at least a year until a COVID-19 vaccine is created.

“So as long as we’re going to have COVID in the environment, and this is a tough virus, we’re going to have to practice these measures so that we are all protected,” he said at Monday’s coronavirus press briefing in Tallahassee.

Rivkees said people will also need to continue wearing face masks.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferré, is seen whispering to Rivkees shortly after his comments were made before escorting him out of the room.

The incident led to some speculating that Rivkees was forced to leave after appearing to break with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stance on the matter, as the governor, as well as President Donald Trump, have voiced their hope to restoring the economy as soon as possible and at least somewhat getting back to normal. The governor has also said that he is considering opening some of the state’s public schools by May.

According to the Miami Herald, however, Rivkees’ spokesman said the surgeon general left to attend a prescheduled meeting with DeSantis’ deputy chief of staff, Adrian Lukis.

The spokesman did not say how the surgeon general reached his conclusion about how long people will need to practice social distancing or if DeSantis agreed with his comments, the Herald reported.


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