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Sunday, July 25, 2021

COVID-19 cases quadruple in Florida and hospitals prepare for fourth wave

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Counties like Miami-Dade decided to change their policies to deal with the resurgence. Nearly half of the population is fully vaccinated and there are doses for everyone, but they estimate that eight million people have not yet been immunized.

The society has been reopened for months. Vaccines are available without restriction for those over the age of 12. But the combination of new variants of COVID-19, such as the Delta, which is presumed to be more contagious, and the fact that even more than half of the population in Florida has not been vaccinated – 47.8 percent received full immunization – has triggered a new spike in cases that some are calling the fourth wave.

According to the report of new infections released each week by the Florida department of health, cases more than quadrupled in the last month. The week ending June 17 had reported 10,095 cases, last Friday there were 45,449 new covid-19 infections.

From the different hospitals in the state, the report is similar: the newly infected are usually not vaccinated and are usually younger people, mostly in an age range of between 12 and 49 years.

Florida is not alone. The increase in cases has been seen in all 50 states of the country, but the southern state is one of those that has seen a more dramatic rise. According to data provided by the White House itself, one in five new cases in the country come from Florida. That’s 20 percent of new cases when the state accounts for 6.5 percent of the national population.

The increase is occurring in almost the entire state. Three weeks ago only 11 of Florida’s 67 counties had a COVID-19 positivity rate of more than 10 percent. Today, 53 of the 67 counties exceed 10 percent positivity.

As expected, the rise is also being seen in hospitalizations. On June 19, there were 1,764 patients hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 in Florida. By July 17, the number rose to 4,100.

So far, 9.7 million Floridians have completed both doses of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine, or Johnson &Johnson’s single dose. Another million and a half Florida residents received at least one first dose, but 8 million people have decided not to get vaccinated yet, of which at least one million are over the age of 65.

Miami-Dade County

Florida’s main county public health system, Jackson Health, has reported an 111 percent increase in the number of patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 in the past month.

Baptist Health hospital, meanwhile, has reported three times as many new patients in the past four weeks.

In response to the situation, Jackson Health decided to raise the alert level to high, which means that the number of people per ward is limited to 50 percent and mask wearing is again mandatory for all people, including those who are vaccinated.

Starting Wednesday, only one visitor will be allowed per inpatient and virtual consultations for low-risk cases will be reestablished.

Photo by EFE/EPA/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH

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