Florida was one of the states that recently lifted its coronavirus lockdown, it’s also one of the states that’s seeing a massive surge in new Covid-19 cases due to that premature reopening. The Florida Department of Health reported an additional 3,286 cases of coronavirus this past Tuesday, bringing the entire state total to 103,503 cases.
Medical experts in the state are attributing the rising numbers to younger Floridians participating in summer vacation activities, an increase in testing facilities which led to an increase in knowledge of case numbers, more social contact brought on by multiple businesses reopening to the public, and potentially the multiple large protests that have been occurring throughout the past month, however, the protests may have nothing to do with the rise in numbers according to experts.
Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade Count
Data compiled by researchers at Florida International University within the past two weeks has shown that in the Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populated county (2.7 million residents), citizens are experiencing about 35 new cases of Covid-19 every day. A rise in hospitalizations, ICU visits, and ventilation use has also paralleled this increase in case numbers.
“Municipalities received guidelines on reopening but they do not have guidelines on when to pull back, which is why it is so critical to monitor the cases closely before the hospitals and ICUs start to have capacity issues — which is something we have avoided so far in Miami-Dade County,” said Dr. Mary Jo Trepka.
While there isn’t a direct reason behind this increase in case numbers, health experts are attributing most of it to the reopening of Florida in general. Children are also now on summer vacation and were previously in quarantine for an extended amount of time, so it makes sense that they would want to be outside as much as possible, however, as the numbers show, the country just isn’t there yet.
Health experts have continued to urge Floridians, even with all the reopenings, to continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and stay home if you feel sick or symptomatic in any way. Florida as a state, however, does not legally require masks to be worn in public places, despite the state’s health department strongly recommending it.
Florida is one of many states that are now reporting record-breaking single-day highs for new Covid-19 cases. One ICU unit in Miami-Dade county has already reported they’re at maximum capacity.
“A week ago we had eight patients, none on a ventilator, and within 10 days we’re now at over 40-plus patients, four on ventilators. We’ve had to find a second Covid unit and are looking for a third Covid unit right now,” said Dr. Andrew Pastewski.
The biggest concern in Florida, and the rest of the country, is a second-wave of the virus occurring in the fall, as experts have warned that a second-wave would likely be much worse than what we’ve endured throughout the past few months; over 2 million cases of Covid-19 and over 120 million deaths. The reopenings of multiple states and the almost automatic spikes in case numbers two weeks after those reopenings is evidence enough that the US is nowhere close to ready to return to a life of normalcy, and this virus will continue to be a problem for the nation until a vaccine or proper drug treatment is discovered.