Is Matt Gaetz vaccinated? Rep mocked for saying he has 'freedom variant' at Florida rally
By now, it is widely accepted that the Delta variant of the Coronavirus is a cause for concern unless you are a Republican. Florida Rep Matt Gaetz kicked up a storm for brushing aside concerns about the raging cases of Covid-19 in the US, even as case and death numbers begin to creep up. At a rally in his home state on July 31, the Congressman joked he had the "freedom variant", ironically the same day Florida announced its highest-ever infection rate.
The surging Delta variant has caused significant alarm amongst scientists, and the Joe Biden administration. The CDC resumed its mask mandate, even for fully vaccinated people and the President announced vaccine mandates for all federal employees in late July. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio also hinted vaccines could be mandatory for those dining in. Even private businesses are acting fast, with some like Apple, Netflix, Disney, and others requiring employees to get the shot. The NFL has also decided to call canceled games a loss, in a bid to encourage players to get jabbed.
Despite these measures, by both public and private organizations, Republicans remain committed to lying about the dangers of Covid-19, and unwilling to take any mitigation measures. In Flordia, Governor Ron DeSantis has quickly clamped down on any attempts to battle restrictions. On July 30, he signed an executive order that effectively bans schools from establishing mask mandates. Geertz has now joined the frenzy, joking about the Delta variant and those concerned about it.
Has Matt Gaetz been vaccinated?
A CNN report found that 97 House Republicans are refusing to reveal their vaccination status, and to little surprise, Matt Gaetz is one of them. "That's very nosy of you," he told CNN when asked, and refused to comment on the matter further. Like many Republicans, Gaetz has spent a large part of the pandemic denying the need for vaccines, or even basic mitigation measures like social distancing and mask-wearing.
The reasons for not revealing vaccination status are twofold. For one, leading Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene believe answering the question would be a violation of their HIPAA rights, which as we previously reported on, was not true. Secondly, Republicans fear the backlash they would receive if it comes to light they had got their shot. In January, it was revealed Donald and Melania Trump were vaccinated at the White House, sparking off anger from even conservative supporters. With the 2022 midterms on the line, the GOP is keen not to anger its base. Interestingly, Trump recently asked supporters to get their shots along with Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, while a handful of others like Gaetz have been actively denying the need for a vaccine.
While the mixed messaging from the GOP continues, Americans are left to suffer the consequences. On July 30, Gaetz was in Largo, Pinellas County for his 'Flordia Man Freedom Tour'. There, he told attendees, "You've had all the experts say look out for the delta variant, or the lambda variant. Well, next it'll be the Chi Omega variant or the Pi Kappa Psi variant." Gaetz then added, "I got the Florida variant. I got the freedom variant. It affects the brain. It gets you to think for yourself where you don't just surrender to the truth that they're trying to create in corrupt big media."
The same day, Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 - the state's highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. In Pinellas County, cases are up 205% over the last 14 days. Hospitalizations have also reportedly jumped up 80%, while death numbers are steady, for now. These numbers should concern everyone since cases were never this high in Florida before. On January 7, Flordia reported its previous record of 19,334 cases when vaccinations were not widely available.
Gaetz: I got the Florida variant. I got the freedom variant. It affects the brain. pic.twitter.com/U4XGhbVqph— Acyn (@Acyn) July 31, 2021
'Call the next mutation the Gaetz variant'
Gaetz's shocking disregard for Americans' safety led social media to troll him. "Hey bro, you missed one. The Gaetz variant," one person trolled Gaetz. Another joked, "Gaetz is claiming a variant is affecting a part of his anatomy that he doesn't possess." One person tweeted, "Call the next mutation, the ‘Gaetz’ variant. He deserves some credit."
Hey bro, you missed one.— AwwSayCanUsee (@Desiree_Ahgudo) August 1, 2021
The Gaetz variant https://t.co/ZMRqMwzO7N
Gaetz is claiming a variant is affecting a part of his anatomy that he doesn't possess. https://t.co/WNPhg0DajP— Charles Campisi (@1813Doncarlo) August 1, 2021
Call the next mutation, the ‘Gaetz’ variant. He deserves some credit.— Toni Marie (@ToniRenaissance) August 1, 2021
"People have died from the Delta variant and Matt Gaetz is out there mocking it. What a lowlife," one user said. Another trolled, "'Rep. Matt Gaetz Tells Crowd His Brain Is Affected by ‘the Florida Variant.’ C'mon, if Covid fed off brains in Matt's case it would have died of starvation."
People have died from the Delta variant and Matt Gaetz is out there mocking it. What a lowlife.— Erie Siobhan is Vaxxed to the Max 🇺🇸 (@ErieNotEerie) August 1, 2021
Rep. Matt Gaetz Tells Crowd His Brain Is Affected by ‘the Florida Variant.’ C'mon, if Covid fed off brains in Matt's case it would have died of starvation.— Paul Lander (@paul_lander) August 1, 2021
Contrary to Matt Gaetz and other politicians' claims, the vaccine is safe, effective, and necessary. MEAWW urges everyone to get vaccinated at the earliest and help control the pandemic. If you have any doubts, please refer to the CDC or World Health Organization for guidance. Until then, it is advisable to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.