Florida Breaks New Single-Day Death Record
By: Noemi Elliott
On Tuesday, July 14th, a record number of 132 Coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in Florida. Officials are facing pressure to increase restrictions and limit movement throughout the state as hospitals begin reaching full capacity.
Tuesday’s 132 deaths are 10% greater than the state’s previous record of 120 deaths set last Thursday. Doctors originally predicted a surge in death rates as the number of daily infections increased from 2,000 to 12,000 per day.
“There is a significant amount of pressure for us to shut down,” noted Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez, as Miami-Dade County is the epicentre of Florida infections. “We have between one week and four weeks to get this thing under control, or we will have to take some aggressive measures.”
Infectious disease researcher Dr. Dena Grayson described Republican Governor Ron DeSantis as “drinking the Kool-Aid” while dismissing the necessity of social distancing despite the increase in daily infection rates. Gov. DeSantis is also sceptical toward mandating state-wide mask-wearing
“To do police and put criminal penalties on [not wearing a mask] is something that is probably gonna, would backfire,” said Gov. DeSantis in late June. “We're gonna continue to put out the messaging, we're gonna continue to put out the guidance, and we're gonna trust people to make good decisions.”
In total, the state of Florida has recorded a total of approximately 292,000 cases since March 1, including 4,513 deaths. Increase in infections is beginning to take its toll on Florida hospitals, where intensive care unit (ICU) beds are filling up fast. Particularly in Miami-Dade, ICU medical director and pulmonologist Dr. David De La Zerda noted that hospital ICUs are short-staffed.
“We are seeing right now double the number of what we saw at the peak of the last wave,” De La Zerda said. “If we continue at the same pace, we are going to be out of beds soon.”