Florida has broken its record for weekly hospitalizations, making it one of the nation’s largest coronavirus hotspots.
Some 3,355 people were admitted to Florida hospitals from Sunday, August 2 to Monday, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed.
As of Wednesday alone, 621 people were admitted to hospitals, The Orlando Sentinel reported. And a total of 30,785 people have been hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
“These are devastating numbers,” Dr. Sadiya Khan, epidemiologist and assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, told NBC News.
The blame, Khan said, should fall on the Florida rulers who downplayed the danger from the start and were slow to impose mask warrants and other public health measures.
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“In Florida, there has been this ongoing controversy over the severity of the coronavirus crisis,” Khan said. “There has been a politicization of the issue of wearing masks. It should never have happened, and now we are seeing the results. ”
Overnight, Florida reported 4,155 new cases and 91 deaths. The total number of cases as of Monday was 532,806, and the statewide death toll was 8,314 and rising, according to the latest NBC News tally.
In terms of the number of COVID-19 cases, Florida was just behind California, which dominates the country with 560,159, according to figures from NBC News.
Five states lead Florida in total COVID-19 deaths: New York (33,592), New Jersey (15,872), California (10,351), Texas (8,800) and Massachusetts (8,735) ).
Northeastern states recorded most of their cases and deaths at the start of the pandemic, when public health officials were still struggling to find a way to deal with the deadly new virus and give conflicting information – and often confusing – about whether people should be wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported Monday that of 54,002 tests reported on Sunday, only 476 were positive – less than 1% of the total. And on Friday, Cuomo gave the green light to begin reopening state schools in the fall.
In contrast, Florida, Texas, and other southern states like Louisiana and Mississippi began to experience a spike in new cases and deaths after they – at the behest of President Donald Trump – began to reopen. in May as the coronavirus was starting to peak.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a staunch Trump ally, has come under heavy criticism for his slowness in responding to the crisis, most recently from Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, who slammed DeSantis on Sunday in a New York editorial. Daily news.
“New York could certainly teach Florida a thing or two about this pandemic,” Gelber wrote. “When a hurricane hits our communities, our leaders stand side by side to present the facts. No one wrongly minimizes the potential impact of a storm. to make people feel better. … For some reason, Governor Ron DeSantis and President Trump decided it was rather important to minimize the risk of COVID and let people know what good jobs they were doing.
In other national developments: