Although many of us now see the COVID-19 pandemic as broadly "over," it's clear that that simply isn't the case. In fact, much of the U.S is now in the grips of another COVID wave - and the lack of restrictions in place means things could be set to get much worse before they get better. The state of Florida seems to be among the worst affected and is showing some truly frightening numbers.
Just last week, the state recorded the most new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, as per CBS, and now the state has surpassed another terrifying milestone. Today, Florida reported the largest number of COVID-related hospitalizations. The record had been previously set more than a year ago, and way before vaccines become widely available.
The U.S Department of Health & Human Services has just reported 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida. The prior record was from July 23, 2020, more than a year ago, and was for 10,170 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Hospital Association.
Florida also has the dubious honor of the title of the national leader in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19. Hospitals have reported they've been putting up beds in hallways to deal with the influx of patients, and also report a noticeable drop in the age of patients being admitted. The past week has seen an average of 1,525 adult hospitalizations a day and thirty-five daily pediatric hospitalizations.
The cases continue to rise at an alarming rate thanks to the new, more highly transmittable delta variant of the virus. Numbers jumped from 17,093 new daily cases on Friday to 21,683 new cases on Saturday, depicting just how quickly these numbers are rising.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis has come under fire for the way he's handling the crisis. He's famously been opposed to mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements and has even placed limits on the local legislature to attempt to minimize the spread of the virus.
Florida's Democratic agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried, has spoken out, saying: "We are already behind the curve and in a worse spot every time the numbers come out. This surge is and will impact every single one of us," as per CBS. She has also strongly urged unvaccinated Floridians to come forward and receive their doses.
The general public is also critical of DeSantis's COVID stance. "And DeSantos signs an order stating that schools cannot mandate masks. He should be held accountable for all the hospital bills of children that get Covid and the deaths of those children," wrote one angry Facebook commenter.
Another agreed, writing: "This is what happens when a Governor is more interested in his run for the presidency than taking a leadership role in the governance of his State. We are praying for you Florida. It is up to you for your leadership is failing."