MIAMI — Fighting a surge in coronavirus cases in the spring, Florida appeared to be “flattening the curve” as theme parks shuttered, sugar sand beaches closed and residents heeded orders to stay home. Now, it’s almost as if that never happened.
Bars, restaurants and gyms began reopening in May — critics said it was too soon — and weeks later, the Sunshine State became one of the country’s virus hot spots, experiencing an alarming surge in cases. On Thursday, officials reported 120 deaths in one day, the highest number since the previous record of 113 in early May.
“We thought maybe we could keep this thing under wraps. And that worked for a little bit of time,” Dr. Jason Wilson, an E.R. physician at Tampa General Hospital, said during a conversation with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor that was livestreamed Wednesday on Facebook. “But eventually … it caught up to us.” A health care worker works at a COVID-19 testing site sponsored by Community Heath of South Florida at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Clinica Campesina Health Center, during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, July 6 in Homestead, Fla. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
From Miami to Jacksonville and Tampa, hospitals in June and July have seen their numbers of coronavirus patients triple, with new patients outpacing those being discharged. A record 435 newly hospitalized patients were reported Friday to have tested positive for the virus, though they include people seeking hospital care for other reasons and are not all symptomatic.
More than 45% of intensive care units in Florida hospitals were at capacity or had fewer than 10% of their beds available as of Friday, […]