Gelber appeared on "New Day" Monday with fill-in host John Avlon to discuss the rising case numbers in Florida.
Gelber was quick to once again accuse DeSantis and other state leaders of discouraging vaccinations as the cases rose.
"Well, as most people know, our state leaders have been more interested really in stopping people from having to get the vaccine than they have in urging them to get it. So there’s very little we can do," Gelber lamented.
"There’s not a whole lot we can do in Florida because the legislature and governor have outlawed vaccine mandates and outlawed even mask mandates in certain areas by government and elsewhere," he later added.
Avlon pressed further, "Do you think then that Gov. DeSantis has effectively made this pandemic worse in the state of Florida and in your city?"
"There’s no question that by deciding that, you know, we’re trying to get herd immunity by letting the herd catch the virus has just lengthened the virus. It allowed these variants to sort of come back. I don’t think there’s any question that Florida has handled it poorly," Gelber responded.
CNN anchors have frequently criticized DeSantis for COVID-19 outbreaks. In August, CNN reporter Jim Acosta even suggested labeling a new variant the "DeSantis variant" after DeSantis refused to promote mask mandates or other restrictions.
This contrasted reports of New York state setting a single-day positive COVID case record with nearly 22,000 positives in one day one week prior. Acosta reported on the rising case numbers but avoided throwing blame at any state leaders in the same manner he took with DeSantis.
By contrast, Gelber went so far as to suggest that the Florida governor "champions" not taking the vaccine to make a political statement.
"But right now when it comes to this, for whatever reason, our governor and legislature have decided that they’re going to champion not taking the [vaccine] rather than urging people to take the [vaccine]," Gelber said. "And that’s sort of nuts to me because, you know, that’s the golden ticket out of this, and for some reason, we’ve made it a political statement when frankly we require vaccines of children in schools. We do a whole lot of things to tell people they’ve got to protect themselves and others, but for some reason, this has become a political statement. And there’s no question that making it a political statement is killing people and making them sicker."
The Miami Herald similarly blamed DeSantis on Friday for acting "selfishly" regarding the omicron variant and "peddling treatment over prevention."
"Omicron is what happens when we act selfishly and reject that we’re interconnected with the rest of the world in our common humanity," columnist Fabiola Santiago wrote. "The me, me, me attitude only heightens our vulnerability to disease."
Avlon closed the segment saying, "Worst thing we can do. And Florida’s suffering more deaths from COVID than the Americans who died from the Vietnam War. It’s an ongoing tragedy."
Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien and Angelica Stabile contributed to this report.