Florida is first state where deaths higher in this Covid wave than previous ones

ICU beds are in shortage in Florida, which is now the epicentre of the US’s coronavirus pandemic

Jade Bremner
Tuesday 24 August 2021 13:37
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Florida now has record numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths, surpassing figures from other points in the pandemic.

According to John’s Hopkins data, in July 2020 cases peaked at around 11,870 and 185 deaths, over a seven-day average, then peaked again in January 2021 with 17,991 cases of Covid-19 and 175 deaths in a seven day period. On 23 August 2021, cases shot up to 37,685 and 297 deaths.

Florida is now the epicentre of the US’s coronavirus pandemic, as the country struggles to get a grip of the contagious Delta variant. According to data from the US Department of Health, ICU bed capacity currently sits at 93.2 per cent in Florida. States with low uptakes of the vaccine have been particularly harder hit by the Delta variant.

Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in the state in July prohibiting mask mandates in schools. “The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” said Mr DeSantis.

“We know that masks are a simple and effective way to help prevent virus spread, and from a medical perspective it makes absolutely zero sense to discourage their use,” Dr Bernard Ashby, head of Florida’s progressive Committee to Protect Health Care, told the Associated Press.

Mr DeSantis also said there could be financial ramifications for educators who enforce mask-wearing in schools, to which President Joe Biden responded: “If a governor wants to cut the pay of a hard-working education leader who requires masks in the classroom, the money from the American Rescue Plan can be used to pay that person’s salary.”

More than 70 “exhausted” doctors in Palm Beach County, Florida, gathered to tell press and the local community to get vaccinated on Monday. “The vaccine still remains the most effective and reliable way to stop this madness,” said infectious disease specialist Dr Leslie Diaz. “We are exhausted,” said internal medicine specialist Dr Rupesh Dharia. “Our patience and resources are running low, and we need your help.”

There have been a total of 3,071,489 Covid cases in Florida to date and 42,252 deaths as a result of the disease. More than 52 per cent of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated. According to the CDC, more than 50 per cent of the entire US population has been fully vaccinated.

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