Florida coronavirus cases jump 50% as surge continues
The infectious disease expert also discussed the lambda COVID-19 variant.

coronavirus COVID-19
Hospitalizations are nearing last year's peak. Deaths usually follow increases in hospitalizations by a few weeks.
Florida’s coronavirus cases jumped 50% this week, the state Health Department reported Friday, continuing a six-week surge that has seen it responsible for 1 in 5 new infections nationally, becoming the outbreak’s epicenter.

The release came shortly after Gov. Ron DeSantis barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month, saying there is no evidence they prevent outbreaks among students or staff.

More than 110,000 new coronavirus cases were reported statewide over the past week, up from 73,000 last week and 11 times the 10,000 reported the week of June 11, six weeks ago. Case numbers are now back to where they in January, just before vaccinations became widely available.

The Florida Hospital Association also said Friday that statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations are nearing last year’s peak. More than 9,300 patients are hospitalized, up from 1,845 a month ago and nearing the record 10,179 set on July 23, 2020. On a per capita basis, Florida now has more people hospitalized than any other state.

The state reported 409 deaths this week, bringing the total to more than 39,000 since its first in March 2020. The state’s peak happened in mid-August 2020, when 1,266 people died over a seven-day period. Deaths usually follow increases in hospitalizations by a few weeks.

DeSantis has blamed the surge on a seasonal increase — more Floridians are indoors because of the hot weather with air conditioning circulating the virus. About 60% of Floridians 12 and older are vaccinated, ranking it about midway among the states. DeSantis said barring mask mandates at schools will improve students’ experience and make it easier for them to focus on learning.

“I have (three) young kids. My wife and I are not going to do the mask with the kids. We never have, we won’t. I want to see my kids smiling. I want them having fun,” DeSantis said at a news conference in southwest Florida a few hours before he signed the executive order. DeSantis is seeking reelection next year and has been positioning himself nationally for a possible 2024 presidential bid. But his critics are blaming his unwillingness to mandate mask wearing, such as his executive order barring mask requirements at public schools.

“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,” said Dr. Bernard Ashby, head of Florida’s progressive Committee to Protect Health Care. “DeSantis’ power grab will put the health of kids and teachers alike at risk.”

DeSantis’ decision came after the Broward County school board voted to require masks and other districts and colleges around the state were considering it.

“We will have to change our policy,” Broward board member Debbi Hixon told the South Florida SunSentinel. “I am not looking to defy the governor. I believe it is an irresponsible decision but if it is the law, I will agree to follow it.”

The Florida Education Association, the state’s teachers union, said DeSantis should leave the decision to local officials rather than impose a statewide edict — a position he once held. When the pandemic began in March 2020, DeSantis said local officials should control the response, that the business closures and mask mandates imposed in Miami, Tampa and other big cities wouldn’t work in small, rural counties.

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“Gov. DeSantis continues to think that Tallahassee knows best what all Floridians need,” union President Andrew Spar said in a statement. “We reject that kind of thinking. Instead, we ask Gov. DeSantis to allow all Florida’s citizens to have a voice by empowering the elected leaders of cities, counties and school districts to make health and safety decisions locally.”

Meanwhile, Publix, the state’s largest supermarket chain, announced Friday that employees will again be required to wear masks and several hospitals said they are postponing elective surgeries and limiting visitors.

At Tampa General Hospital, the 90-plus patients hospitalized with COVID already exceeds the previous high of 86, said Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, medical director of its Global Emerging Diseases Institute. She said the hospital, like many, can’t hire enough staff and it is leaving those working exhausted.

“It feels like we are getting hit by a train, the pace is so fast and uncontrolled,” Laskshmi said. “I just don’t have any words anymore. This is awful, just awful and it is going to be awful.”

She said last year, her patients’ median age was in the 70s. Now, it is just over 50, with the younger patients getting sicker than in the past.

She pointed to a patient in his early 30s whose lungs “sound like Velcro” being pulled apart. A father of young children, he will likely have permanent damage and might need a transplant eventually, she said.

She said 83% of Tampa General’s COVID patients are unvaccinated while the others have immune-deficiency issues that prevented the vaccine from working.

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Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Associated Press


7 comments

  • Andrew Finn

    July 30, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Too bad we can’t have an executive order barring our so-called “governor” from any more of his moronic orders concerning this pandemic. Too bad he is such a jackass that all he cares about is getting re-elected and Floridians are dying because of it. I can’t wait to vote for anyone who runs against him, and I mean ANYONE !!!!! Man, I sure do miss old Claude Kirk !!!!!

  • Tom Palmer

    July 30, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Kirk was fun and was willing to think outside the conservative box. I was wondering what would have happened if the governor’s race had turned out differently. Andrew Gillum, for all his issues, probably would not be getting his medical advice from Tucker Carlson.

    • Andrew Finn

      July 30, 2021 at 10:23 pm

      Hey Tom – yeah Kirk was a lot of fun. I was lucky enough to meet him when he was governor and he was some kind of character !! It was great when Claude and his wife Erica named their son and daughter Eric and Claudia.

  • father lowell laurence

    July 30, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED
    “AMBIDEXTERITY”
    ABOT VACCINATRION
    COVID
    AND OUR WORLD

    AWARDED VISIONARY HONOR BY FORT LAUDERDALE S EPIPHANY THEATER

  • Tom

    August 1, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Palmer only fools like you and Finn, would reference yesteryear Kirk & Gillium and attempt to suggest better. Pathetic reference, total lack of appreciation for freedom and individual accountability. Gillium is a joke notwithstanding the awful, sad personal issues. Finn wake up this ain’t the 60’s. Kirk was a flip flopper. Governor Ron said we would have a resurgence in late summer. The ugly left wannabes engaging in your liberal scream once again begs the question? What is it that any of you would do? Fraud says she’s against lockdowns, so DeSantis wins on this. Palmer you are disgraceful.

  • tjb

    August 1, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Yes, Tom, DeSantis was correct to say that we would have a Covid resurgence in late summer because he is doing nothing to stop it. He helped to create the rapid rate of resurgence by mocking masks, information from the experts, king, and not seriously supporting vaccinations.
    Tom I am now waiting for your response — a lot of name-callings but no substance.

  • Tom

    August 1, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Hey pal, you Dems love dishing it out but boy you can’t take it. You are wrong to say he does nothing. Yes, I was right because I listen to his words. Not invent them like Fraud, Crist, Hoffmann, Peterh, Palmer, Tomj, you and others.
    He’s done as meaningful job as one person can working with his team. It’s a 100 yr pandemic. He saved seniors, businesses, jobs,
    Schools, quality of life and so on. That’s all
    You and your tribe do is whine as if you want him to he cuomo or newsom. He’s not playing in that box. He has a different view And the bellyaching from all of you is child like. He has a duty to protect public welfare. He’s trying to balance it with everyday life. Every day life that all of you get to enjoy. Again, what’s the alternative? Nikki Fraud says she does not support lockdowns. So DeSantis wins. He has the 4 lane highway, Period. The science states that kids are not susceptible with the masks and it is harmful to kids mental future. That’s the sciences. Lastly, none of you give the the Gov and first lady credit in trying to assist mental challenges as they Are with young people. The Dems have caused so much pain in society and never held accountable. DeSantis refused to allow Florida to follow Cuomo, Newsom and Faucci, who I once supported. He’s lost all street credibility. He warned all they we would see this and once again he is correct as he has been. It’s unfortunate it’s happening. To be clear, nothing stops anyone from wearing a mask, getting inoculated and practicing good health. Nothing personal pal. I’m fed up with the double standards. Oh yeah, 44’s WH ethics director said that Hunter’s coloring book is a problem. Hoffmann says no biggie. I’m sure you and Palmer are outraged. Fraud can’t tell people how much she’s earned but she eager ridicule. DeSantis is the real deal, he has a very bright future . He need to continue to govern work balance and coming sense. He’s Yale and Harvard, he is a whiz kid. He suffers fools gladly.
    Volunteer for Navy service and local prosecutor and member of Congress. No one saw him coming for Gov. The worst to do is underestimate In politics. They still towards him. If he was a Dem the local, state and nat media would be saying this is Camelot.

Comments are closed.


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