Florida is seeing a record number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid a nationwide increase in COVID-19 metrics.
Some 10,217 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients were being cared for in hospitals in recent days, according to data submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by facilities.
The number was a sharp increase from recent months and above the peak of 10,179 seen on July 23, 2020, according to the Florida Hospital Association.
Another record was set over the weekend. Florida, on July 31, reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases, which was more than 2,000 higher than the previous record set in January. The state reported 30,531 cases on Jan. 2, but skipped Jan. 1, so that number covered two days.
The new record came after Florida authorities reported 110,477 new cases in the week of July 23, an increase of 18 percent from the prior week.
Florida’s Democratic agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried, who is running for governor, said the increase in hospitalizations “is pushing our hospital system to capacity, which has dangerous implications beyond COVID-19.”
Fried, a Democrat, urged people in a video message to get vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.
Of Florida’s 57,526 inpatient hospital beds, approximately 47,541 were occupied, according to the facility data submitted to federal authorities.
Hospitals in some parts of Florida have expressed concern about reaching capacity due to the influx of COVID-19 patients.
Stephanie Montford Derzypolski, a spokeswoman for Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, said the hospital on Aug. 1 had 70 COVID-19 patients, most of whom were unvaccinated.
“This is no longer people with comorbitities [sic] in their 70s and 80s but otherwise healthy people in their 20s 30s and 40s. These people come in begging our doctors for the vaccine but it is too late for them. Friends…..I beg you to get vaccinated if you haven’t,” she wrote on Facebook.
Between July 23 and July 29, 108 people died with COVID-19 in Florida, according to state data, an indication of how many COVID-19 patients are ultimately recovering regardless of their vaccination status.
The Florida Hospital Association reported that the average age of people with COVID-19 in hospitals is younger than during previous peaks. The group also said that no hospitals are reporting a serious shortage of supplies for now.
Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, told The Epoch Times that “we recognize that cases and hospitalizations have shifted to a younger demographic because we have been so successful with vaccinating seniors.”
“We must continue this stride to expand vaccination rates across eligible age groups,” she said in an email.
Most cases in Florida in the past 30 days have been among people aged 20 to 49 and have been among unvaccinated people, Pushaw said. Most hospitalizations are among those between the ages of 40 and 69.
DeSantis, a Republican, has avoided implementing mask or vaccine mandates, in contrast to some counterparts who govern larger states. He told a press conference last month that he views the increase in COVID-19 cases as expected, referring to the CCP virus as seasonal. However, he has encouraged people to get vaccinated, especially older folks, who are among those most vulnerable to getting severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The records in Florida aren’t isolated. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are on the rise across the United States. Some experts say the rise is fueled by the Delta variant of the virus.
The variant was blamed for an outbreak in Massachusetts in July, which triggered an abrupt reversal of mask recommendations for vaccinated Americans. They are now being told to don masks indoors if they live in areas with high or substantial transmission of the CCP virus, which includes virtually all of Florida.
New COVID-19 cases nationwide topped 100,000 on July 30 for the first time since February, while daily admissions of COVID-19 patients have climbed above 6,200 on average, according to data hospitals submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The average of daily cases across seven days was an increase of 31 percent from the prior week while the hospitalization average was up 40 percent from the week before.
Cases were up sharply in a number of states, including Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
On July 30, 451 new deaths were reported in the United States, part of a rising trend after dropping under 100 on July 4.
Deaths lag behind cases and hospitalizations because people typically battle COVID-19 for some time before dying. Additionally, fewer people who get sick die when compared to earlier in the pandemic, when treatment options were less varied and there were no developed COVID-19 vaccines.
“The highest threat and severe outcomes are happening in places with low vaccination rates, and among unvaccinated, people, this moment,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, told reporters in a phone briefing last week. “And most importantly, the associated illness, suffering and death could have been avoided with higher vaccination coverage in this country.”