CoV highs: Florida’s doctors against political windmills

This week, an average of 227 deaths per day were reported in Florida. On the one hand, this is a negative record for Florida itself, but on the other hand, it is also by far the highest value in comparison with the other states of the USA. According to data from the New York Times (“NYT”), an average of 23,314 new cases per day were reported in the southernmost state of the United States over the weekend. That was 30 percent more than the previous high in January.

About 21.5 million people live in Florida and 328 million in the United States. Across the country, new deaths have risen to an average of more than 1,000 a day. According to the federal authorities, the number of hospital stays in Florida almost tripled last month to 17,200, so that many hospitals are reaching their capacity limits.

Reuters / Marco Bello

Florida health workers fight to keep everyone vaccinated

Doctors describe the precarious situation

Dozens of doctors and nurses gathered in Palm Beach County for a press conference on Monday to appeal to people who have not been vaccinated to be vaccinated. They stressed that the current wave of coronavirus is overwhelming the health system and destroying lives. “We are exhausted,” said Rupesh Dharia, a specialist in internal medicine. “Our patience and our resources are running out.” According to US media reports, in many places hospital patients should already be lying in the corridor because there are no more free rooms.

The precarious situation in Florida’s hospitals even prompted Orlando mayor, Democrat Buddy Dyer, to urge citizens to save water. Because this is urgently needed to produce liquid oxygen. Liquid oxygen is needed on the one hand to treat Covid 19 patients and on the other hand to clean drinking water. This is necessary because a recent flood contaminated the drinking water in Orlando.

“Pointless, avoidable way of dying”

A growing proportion of those who are currently in Florida hospitals and dying are people between 40 and 59 years of age – an age cohort that in Austria is already 60 to 75 percent double vaccinated. It’s different in Florida. Overall, around 52 percent of people in the US state are fully vaccinated, but less than 30 percent in some of the hardest-hit counties. Chirag Patel, deputy chief physician at the University Hospital UF Health Jacksonville, told the “NYT” that those patients who were admitted to the hospital during the current wave tend to be younger and without previous illnesses.

High school students in a school in Miami

AP / Lynne Sweet

Many schools introduced a mask requirement

Of those who died, including patients between the ages of 20 and 40, more than 90 percent had not been vaccinated, Patel said. “This time we had more patients who died at a younger age with very few or no medical problems,” said the doctor. “You were just brought in with Covid and never left the hospital.” One of the most difficult tasks, Patel said, was telling a family member that an unvaccinated relative had succumbed to the virus. “It’s just such a pointless and avoidable way to die,” he told the NYT.

Governor against CoV protective measures

Although the number of cases continues to rise, Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, is sticking to a ban on vaccination and masking orders. The political tension was particularly evident in schools. Several school districts refused to implement the ban and nevertheless introduced or did not lift the mask requirement.

Now about half of the 2.8 million students at public educational institutions in Florida currently have to wear mouth and nose protection in the classroom, as the schools want it to be.

“School districts violate state law”

For example, the school committee of Orange County, which also includes the Orlando metropolitan area, took an offensive against DeSantis and called on the school administrators on Tuesday to require students to wear masks. The rule is valid until October 30th. The decision of the school committee is medically justified: The school year in the Orlando region began with 1,968 CoV-positive students.

Floridas Governor, Ron DeSantis

AP/Marta Lavandier

DeSantis announced the consequences for school principals if they did not lift the mask requirement

But DeSantis did not give in. At a press conference on Wednesday, he warned of the consequences for unruly school districts, but did not go into detail. He previously announced that school principals who still insist on a mask requirement would face a salary freeze.

The court puts the governor in his place

The governor alleged that the school districts were violating the Parents Bill of Rights, which came into effect this summer. This gives parents the power to determine their children’s education. “These school districts violate state law and disregard the parents’ judgment in this matter,” said DeSantis.

But on Friday, Judge John C. Cooper of the Leon County judicial district ruled differently: DeSantis exceeded his competences with the order of the mask ban. And there would be government measures in the law that are necessary and reasonable and limited in scope to protect public health. He said a school district’s decision to require students to wear masks to prevent the virus from spreading falls under that exception.

“Let’s do our job!”

Meanwhile, doctors are telling US media every day that they are exhausted and cannot understand why the governor is so opposed to mouth and nose protection. “We know that masks are a very good way to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” Bernard Ashby, a cardiologist in Miami, told MSNBC weeks ago. DeSantis put its political agenda before the health of the people of Florida. The cardiologist addressed his words directly to DeSantis: “Let’s do our job!”

Oregon returns to strict CoV rules

5,000 kilometers away in the northwestern US state of Oregon, the CoV situation looks similar. On Tuesday, according to “NYT”, there were 975 people in the hospital because of a CoV infection, which corresponds to an increase of 990 percent compared to July. Around four million people live in Oregon.

There, too, the health workers asked for help. The Democratic Governor Kate Brown therefore called the National Guard on the scene and ordered masks for everyone who is in public, including outdoors. This applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. With the emergence of the Delta variant, Oregon is joining Florida, where the number of cases and hospitalizations even surpassed the negative records set during the worst phase of the pandemic last year.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.