Florida on Tuesday reported a new all-time record for Covid-19 hospitalizations, which pushes the state’s rate of hospitalization above the peak recorded by New York at the start of the pandemic—but still doesn’t appear to be shifting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on his stance against reimposing public health restrictions as the more infectious delta variant surges.
The number of Floridians hospitalized has jumped past 15,000 after increasing 1,192 from Monday, according to data published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
This amounts to Florida’s highest rate of hospitalization for the entire pandemic: roughly 70 out of every 100,000 residents have been admitted.
It also surpasses the hospitalization rate recorded in New York at the height of its coronavirus outbreak in April 2020, when 67 out of every 100,000 residents were hospitalized, according to a New York Times tracker.
Though deaths are rising in Florida, the average of 122 deaths per day is still short of the over 200 reported over the winter, and is far eclipsed by the almost 1,000 daily deaths recorded in New York in Spring 2020.
45%. That’s how many of Florida’s intensive care unit (ICU) beds are currently occupied by Covid-19 patients, one of the highest rates in the country along with Louisiana (46%) and Mississippi (45%). Officials say the influx is almost entirely made up of unvaccinated people.
It’s not just adults being hospitalized with Covid-19 as Florida leads the nation in pediatric hospitalizations. Some 172 children were being treated in medical facilities for the coronavirus as of Sunday, according to HHS data, up from the 143 admitted at the end of last week.
Florida’s battle against Covid-19 is complicated by a refusal from the state’s Republican governor to reimpose public health restrictions. DeSantis has prevented local governments from issuing sweeping public health requirements and has banned school districts from imposing mask mandates for the school year, arguing he is protecting personal freedoms. His moves have already inspired significant backlash, including a number of lawsuits.
What To Watch For
Despite bucking the recommendations of health experts, both DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has imposed a similar block on mask mandates, are now both requesting outside help to deal with their ongoing coronavirus surges. Abbott on Monday directed the state health department to hire more medical professionals from out of state to help Texas’ overwhelmed health system. Meanwhile, Florida’s health department this week requested 300 ventilators from the federal government.