The surge in coronavirus continues to rage uncontrolled across the United States as cases are rising in 35 states, including record numbers in Florida.
Florida health officials reported Sunday a staggering record of new cases in a single day: 15,300. If Florida were a country, it would be the fourth highest in the world in reporting new cases. The state would rank 10th in the list of nations with the most cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University data.
At least 35 states are seeing a rise in new cases compared to the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The US has recorded more than 3.3 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, meaning nearly 1 out of every 100 Americans has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 135,205 Americans have died. Across the world, 12.9 million people have tested positive for the virus.
Both local and state leaders in the US have said in recent weeks new cases are largely driven by Americans who have opted to resume gatherings and outings to bars. In many states, the average age of new cases has shifted downward, with more young people testing positive than ever before since the start of the pandemic.
The rising US numbers could just be the tip of the iceberg, as experts have often highlighted infections could be around 10 times higher than what is reported, as many go untraced.
To blunt the rise in case, at least 36 states now have some type of mask requirement order in place, and more than half of US states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans in efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
But precautions have been met with heavy backlash from many officials and residents and some governors have stayed away from statewide mask orders, including Florida.
People need to ‘follow the rules’
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday that the numbers are “out of control.”
Americans need to follow the rules on social distancing and wearing masks, which are required for citizens in public in the city of Miami, the mayor said.
“If they don’t follow the rules, things are going to continue the way they are going,” he said.
In Atlanta, where the mayor attempted to require citizens to wear masks and revert the city back to its first phase of reopening to combat a rise in cases, Gov. Brian Kemp slammed the decision saying it was “both non-binding and legally unenforceable.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on CNN that Kemp had not criticized other cities in Georgia for issuing mask mandates.
“I think that it’s unfortunate that when we know the science says wearing a mask is one of the easiest ways to stop the spread, that we had the leader to our state taking exception with it,” she said.
Miami’s Suarez said officials need to have a consistent message at the local, state and national levels.
“A lot of the decisions have been pushed down to local officials that probably should have been done at the federal and state levels,” he said.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the country could turn the rise of cases around in “two (to) three weeks.” But that is based on whether “we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least 6 feet of social distancing, doing the things we know are effective,” Adams said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The surge in cases comes as the White House is making a concerted effort to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, as he becomes increasingly vocal about his concerns over reopening the country during the national surge in coronavirus cases. The moves to undercut Fauci come just days after he gave an unvarnished look at his relationship with President Donald Trump, including that they have not spoken in weeks.
“There’s a total disconnect between what is happening and being said out of Washington and even Tallahassee and what is happening in some of these communities right here,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
‘This thing is just about everywhere’
Across the country, health officials are sounding the alarm over the number of infected patients seeking medical care.
In Florida, 8,038 patients are hospitalized across the state with the primary diagnosis of coronavirus as of Monday morning, according to new numbers released by the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. At the peak of the pandemic in New York, the highest number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 was 18,825.
Florida’s three most populous counties, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, are experiencing the highest numbers of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
In Broward County, home to Fort Lauderdale, there was a 279% increase in hospitalizations overnight, the agency reported.
In the past 13 days, Miami-Dade County has seen a 65% increase in the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized, a 67% increase in the number of ICU beds being used and a staggering 129% increase in the use of ventilators, according to the latest data released by Miami-Dade County government.
Across the state, there are more than 7,500 patients hospitalized with the virus, state data showed Sunday. In Florida’s Orange County, where Disney World reopened over the weekend, more than 540 patients were in hospitals.
In Los Angeles County, health officials reported more than 3,300 new cases Sunday — the second highest daily case count in the last week. There are nearly 2,100 people hospitalized, a number “substantially higher” than hospitalizations a month ago, officials said.
Texas reported 8,136 new cases on Sunday, down from the record 10,351 new cases reported on Saturday. County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the executive overseeing Harris County, the largest in Texas, called on Sunday for a stay-at-home order to be issued.
“Not only do we need a stay home order now, but we need to stick with it this time until the hospitalization curve comes down, not just flattens,” Hidalgo tweeted. “Many communities that persevered in that way are reopening for the long haul. Let’s learn from that & not make the same mistake twice.”
And in Arizona, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego told CNN that health care professionals are reporting they are “already tired” and worried about additional strains on hospitals stemming from the July 4 holiday, even as the city is already seeing record-breaking ventilator usage.
In Arizona, 89% of ICU beds are currently in use and 86% of all hospital beds in use, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Dr. Ross Goldberg, president of Arizona Medical Association, said the longer length of stay by COVID-19 patients is putting pressure on hospitals.
“Here it’s a much longer kind of hospital stay, which takes that bed out of circulation,” he told CNN. “So if you get people coming in and coming, it just adds pressure on the system.”
There was a glimmer of good news.
In New York City, the epicenter of the virus in April, there were no confirmed or probable COVID-19 deaths reported Saturday, according to preliminary data from the New York City Health Department.