In a deep dive into why Florida was hit so hard by the resurgent Covid-19 virus that claimed more than 7,000 lives since July Fourth, one specialist in infectious diseases suggested that, if other states want to learn how to deal with the crisis if it hits their state, they need look no further than Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) -- and do the opposite of what he has done.
According to the report from the Washington Post, Florida appears to be "turning the corner" on Covid infections and related deaths --with the caveat that the long Labor Day weekend could unleash another round of Floridians becoming infected.
Now health officials are surveying the damage and pointing fingers in the hopes Florida lawmakers will have learned their lesson after becoming a hot spot for the delta variant.
"New infections were averaging more than 22,000 a day in the last days of August but have fallen to about 19,000. Yet recovery could prove fleeting: Holiday weekends such as Labor Day have acted as a tinderbox for earlier outbreaks, and late summer marks the return of students to college campuses," the Post is reporting. "Hospital leaders exhale as covid-19 admissions appear to have subsided from a peak of more than 17,000 in late August, dipping to about 15,000. The decline follows weeks of frenzy as a slew of hospitals treated more patients than at any point in the pandemic, reassigning employees, postponing surgeries and treating patients in hallways and reconfigured rooms."
Adding that Florida was the perfect petri dish for the virus to flourish again, the Post notes that epidemiologists are candidly admitting, "Florida taught the nation important lessons as the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus accounts for nearly all new cases."
Speaking with the Post, Cindy A. Prins, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Florida, stated that hesitancy and dithering by Florida government officials as infection rates surged should be a cautionary tale for other lawmakers who dropped their guard thinking the pandemic was a thing of the past.
"Every time in Florida, we are a warning for everyone else," Prins lamented. "If you do remove those precautions, I would have a very low threshold before deciding to put them back in. If you wait two or three weeks, it's too late."
Aileen Marty, an infectious-diseases expert at Florida International University, echoed Prins' advice, stating, "Unfortunately, there are leaders in very important places that seem to have a mind-set that it's best to let the virus spread out and let the chips fall where they may. But I think that's an incredibly dangerous and callous approach."
Marty also issued a warning to Florida's political leaders.
"Remember that every time you allow it to continue to have high transmission, you are facilitating the creation of a worse variant," she cautioned.
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