Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, said this Sunday that in the state there are currently 10,593 people hospitalized for covid-19 and he warned of the danger of exceeding hospital capacity, if action is not taken to stop the incidence.
Since August 2020, that number of admitted to medical centers had not been reached, said Fried, who at a press conference from the state capital, Tallahassee, expressed his alarm about the “rapid increase” of the cases, deaths and hospitalizations due to covid-19 in Florida and asked Floridians to “do their part” to stop it.
As an example of the magnitude of the rebound in the pandemic in the state, he said that Florida, having 6.5% of the country’s population, accounts for 21% of new cases.
Fried, who aspires to be the Democratic candidate for Governor in 2022 and is facing the current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, said that only “united” can it be possible to reduce the “scandalous” figures.
He mentioned that 21,638 new cases of covid-19 reported this Saturday and the 108 deaths from covid-19 that occurred in the seven days from July 23 to 29 mark records since the start of the pandemic in Florida, in March 2020.
In the July 23-29 period, a total of 110,400 new infections were registered and the positivity rate rose to 18.1%.
According to hospital sources, 97% of those hospitalized for covid-19 in Florida are not vaccinated.
Hospitals are at the limit of their capacity and that is “dangerous”, said the commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, an elective position to which he acceded in 2019.
Fried once again urged DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health to re-inform the public of the progress of the pandemic daily and not weekly as it has been since June 4.
The commissioner is filling in the lack of information by disclosing the data that the Florida Department of Health passes daily to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“POSITIVE” TREND IN VACCINATION
Although he said that a “positive” trend in vaccinations is being appreciated in Florida, which totaled almost 335,000 between July 23 and 29, while in the previous seven-day period it was about 288,000, Fried stressed that it is key to achieve that more people receive immunization as soon as possible.
In this regard, he complained that in Florida the necessary information has not been made available to people so that they know that vaccines are accessible and safe.
To those who have not been vaccinated he said “Go and get the injection today” and those who have family and friends who have not yet done so were ordered to convince them to do so as soon as possible.
Wearing masks indoors, even for people who are vaccinated, and maintaining a safe distance are also necessary measures at this time, Fried stressed.
Experts indicate that behind the increase in the incidence of covid-19 in Florida is not only that the vaccination rate has stagnated but also the expansion of the delta variant, more contagious and dangerous, according to specialists.
The delta variant accounted for at least 83% of COVID-19 cases nationwide, the CDC estimated last week.
In Florida the percentage of people over 12 years vaccinated is around 60%.
Governor Ron DeSantis, known for his opposition to the CDC policy and the epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, whom he accuses of wanting to impose “dystopia,” has not taken any action to deal with the rebound in the pandemic in the state.
He has even been against the CDC’s decision to recommend the use of the mask indoors even for those vaccinated and this Friday issued a decree so that schools cannot force children to wear masks when they reopen in August.
According to the decree, it will be the parents who decide if their children go to school with a mask.
“There will be no closings, there will be no school closings. There will be no restrictions or mandates in the state of Florida. Floridians have had and will continue to be free to choose what is best for themselves and their families. “DeSantis said on Friday.
Since the pandemic began in Florida, the use of masks has never been mandatory at the state level, although there were local ordinances to require that measure, but now there are laws that prevent municipalities from acting unilaterally.
Keep reading: Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations set off alarms in Florida
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.