Florida is tackling the deadliest stage of COVID-19 to date


Watch: Cases of COVID can be higher in the United States

Miami (AP) — Funeral director Wayne Bright saw grief pile up on grief during the recent surge in COVID-19.

The mother was also beaten when the woman died of the virus and her family was planning a funeral. My aunt took over the arrangements for the double funeral, but died of COVID-19 two weeks later.

“It was one of the most devastating things to date,” said Bright, who also arranged for the funeral of one of his close friends last week.

Florida is on the verge of the worst wave of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. This is a disaster caused by a highly contagious delta mutation.

Although Florida’s vaccination coverage is slightly higher than the national average, Sunshine has a very large population of elderly people who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. A lively party scene. The Republican governor opposed mask requirements, vaccine passports, and business closures.

As of mid-August, the state recorded an average of 244 deaths per day, up from 23 per day in late June, above the previous peak of 227 in the summer of 2020. increase. In the report, recent figures on the number of deaths per day are incomplete. )

The hospital had to rent a refrigerated truck to store more bodies. The funeral hall is overwhelming.

Christina Miles, the mother of five from Orange Park, is one of those who are facing multiple losses at once. Her husband died after being infected with COVID-19, and within two weeks her mother-in-law was infected with the virus.

“We all feel weird dreams,” she said, adding that her children are feeling different grief. ..

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, will visit a classroom at New River Middle School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday, September 2, 2021.  -One week for personal study. Broward County is one of many school districts in Florida and students are obliged to mask.  (AP photo / LynnSladky)

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, will visit a classroom at New River Middle School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday, September 2, 2021. -One week for personal study. Broward County is one of many school districts in Florida and students are obliged to mask. (AP photo / LynnSladky)

Hospitals are flooded with unvaccinated patients, such as Miles’ husband and mother-in-law.

As a positive sign, the number of patients in hospitals infected with COVID-19 in Florida has declined from more than 17,000 on Friday to 14,200 over the past two weeks, indicating that the surge has eased.

Florida made an early and active effort to vaccinate the elderly. However, Dr. Cartic Cherabdi, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Florida, said the number of people who have not yet been fired is still high, given Florida’s elderly population of 4.6 million.

“Even 10% is still a very large number, and the people who live with them who come into contact with them are not vaccinated,” said Cherabuddi. “With Delta, things spread very quickly.”

Cherabuddi said there was a “big difference” in attitudes towards masks in Florida this summer compared to last year. “If we had traveled around the state, we didn’t seem to have seen that surge this summer,” he said.

Governor Ron DeSantis strongly opposed certain mandatory steps to keep the virus under control, saying people should be trusted to make their own decisions. He also argued that the surge in cases was seasonal, as Floridians spend more time indoors to escape the heat.

Bright works at Tampa’s funeral hall on weekdays and weekends, sometimes staying past midnight.

“Usually we serve 5-6 families a week. Now we probably see 12 to 13 new families a week,” he said. “It’s non-stop. We’re trying to keep up with the quantity.”

He had to arrange the burial of one of his close friends, the one he entrusted with the access code to his house. They once carpooled each other’s children to school, and their families gathered for birthdays and Super Bowl parties.

“It’s very, very difficult to go through this process for someone you love so much,” he said.

Nurse practitioner Pat Seemann, who has nearly 500 elderly home-based patients in central Florida, did not lose one patient during the first wave. And a variant she called a “wrecking ball” was a hit.

Last month she lost seven patients in two weeks. Among them, the husband and wife died within a few days of each other.

“I cried all weekend. I was devastated and angry,” she said.

Overall, more than 46,300 people have died from COVID-19 in Florida, ranking 17th in the state in terms of per capita deaths.

Like last summer, the majority of deaths this summer are elderly. Of the 2,345 people reported recent deaths in the past week, 1,479 were 65 years or older, or 63%.

“We need to focus on who dies and who goes to the hospital,” Seaman said. “It’s still chasing the elderly.”

However, the rate of deaths from COVID-19 among people under the age of 65 has increased significantly, and health officials believe that vaccination rates for these age groups are low.

Aaron Jagi, 35, was trying to get healthy 12 hours after his brother Free Jagi, 41, died of the virus, before he died of COVID-19. They were overweight, at high risk of severe COVID-19 infection, at risk of vaccination, and both worked from home, so they considered the risk to be minimal. Like an adopted daughter.

After their death, the family found a whiteboard owned by Aaron. It listed his daily goals for abs and push-ups.

“He was really trying,” said Pekignott.

Posted on