Nationally prominent epidemiologist told Ron DeSantis administration statewide lockdown critical
Emergency rooms are filling up, and it’s not just COVID-19. Image via AP.

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Ali Mokdad's model predicts infrastructure stress even with stay at home.

A scientist delivering projections to the White House about coronavirus infections advised Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a Florida-wide shutdown.

Ali Mokdad, a University of Washington professor, told the Miami Herald a statewide stay at home order remains imperative. He developed a model at his university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that suggests Florida’s hardest days lay ahead.

“These estimations are based on [the expectation that] Florida will implement stay-at-home measures within a week from now,” he said. “We’re assuming next Monday this will be in place.”

The former U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist said if no shutdown happens, “these numbers will go up.”

Yet DeSantis thus far has resisted a blanket order impacting all Floridians. He instead has left such action to local governments for the most part.

On Monday, DeSantis did issue a safer at home order impacting four counties in South Florida, where 3,675 of Florida’s 6,338 total COVID-19 cases have originated. Those numbers reflect cases reported as of Tuesday morning, but numbers are rising by the hundreds daily.

“With this order and what these counties have already done, we’re going guns blazing doing all that we can to slow the spread,” DeSantis said.

With many North Florida counties reporting no cases of coronavirus infections, the Governor has left it to regional leaders to determine appropriate closures and lockdown restrictions.

But the University of Washington model has garnered tremendous attention, including from the White House.

And notably, even though the model assumes DeSantis will eventually cave and issue a statewide shelter order, it predicts that cases will peak in May and overwhelm Florida’s health care infrastructure at that time.

Florida, according to the model, will need about 17,000 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, including 2.500 ICU beds; it should have more than 20,000 hospital beds available by then, but probably only 1,700 ICU beds.

“Our analysis on COVID-19 predicts demand for hospital services in each state, including the need for ventilators and both general hospital beds and ICU beds. The forecasts show that demand for beds will exceed capacity as early as the 2nd week of April,” Bokdad wrote on Twitter.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


  • Thomas Knapp

    March 31, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    And this, people, is part of the problem.

    Science is descriptive, not prescriptive.

    The job of epidemiology is to describe how disease spreads, not to tell us what to do about it. The latter is a POLITICAL decision that’s based on concerns that include, but are not limited to, epidemiological information.

    Even without a full state “shutdown,” we’re facing a big problem in the next 30-60 days, as a quarter million migrant workers are being prevented from arriving in Florida and California to pick crops.

    Which means that if we continue and/or expand this “shutdown” nonsense, Americans start starving 60-90 days from now.

    • Rick Brown

      April 1, 2020 at 1:34 am

      And I take it that we should trust your judgment that the job of epidemiology does not include possible control of diseases?

      If the governor wants to know the best way to limit the disease, he should listen to an epidemiologist or some other title-related field in Public Health. If the governor wants to know the best way to reduce the economic impact of COVID-19, he should listen to an economist. These two goals may even conflict with one another. What’s the best optimization that can satisfy all parties is an entirely different issue.

      I see no issue with Mr. Mokdad prescribing a solution that is entirely within the scope of his research.

      • Thomas Knapp

        April 1, 2020 at 6:15 am

        No, I don’t expect you to trust my judgment. Especially as to something I didn’t say.

  • Marlene

    March 31, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    DeSantis, we will not forget. The blood is on your hands.

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      April 1, 2020 at 7:46 am

      You’re a disgusting troll lying as the far left always does. How much do they pay you

      • Ocean Joe

        April 1, 2020 at 11:11 am

        Looks like it’s naptime for Charlotte. And why is it always about the money? I enjoy the comments whether it’s Marlene or the always humorous Tommy Boy. Lighten up…and stay home!

  • Marlene

    April 1, 2020 at 11:35 am


Comments are closed.


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