U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio warned Wednesday that in light of the COVID-19 surge, Florida hospitals are strained by the pressures the increased patient load imposes, even if not all “hospitalizations” are in fact being treated.
“Spoke to various Florida hospitals today … as many as 40% of their COVID-19 ‘hospitalizations’ are not in the hospital for the virus & aren’t even being treated for it BUT [i]t’s still a strain on resources because they have to be isolated, staff has to use PPE etc.”
The Senator’s comments come after a news cycle when the coronavirus surge has dominated headlines, with a once-sunny narrative about having “flattened the curve” giving way to an increasingly dystopian landscape of double-digit positive testing rates and daylong waits for testing for many.
Hospital data has become a grave concern, with caseloads higher than ever as ICU capacity continues to shrink statewide, with just 17% of berths open as of Wednesday evening according to AHCA, amid regional capacity crises that loom larger still.
Wednesday’s case tally, though gaudy at over 6,500, didn’t match up with even bigger totals of confirmed cases in recent days. But Rubio’s concerns have been balancing the imperative to reopen the economy with doing it safely.
He has contended that even though relatively low-risk cohorts currently test positive, those infections could spur a new wave of COVID-19 among higher-risk populations.
In a video released Tuesday, the Senator warned that America’s “top priority right now must be to make sure that these new infections that we’re seeing among younger and healthier Americans don’t cross over to older and sicker Americans.”
While new cases struck the Senator as inevitable, Rubio says that in and of itself isn’t the issue.
“The real issue now is whether these new cases will lead to a higher death rate, and that really depends on what we do with this moment. The median age of people that are testing positive is about 35 years of age or younger.”
While that may be sustainable in terms of lowered mortality, the Senator worried about spread to the elderly.
“Statistics tell us that that alone is not going to lead to an increase in hospitalizations, much less deaths. But what will is if that surge in infections leads to a surge in the infections of people at higher risk or over 65,” Rubio added.