Florida now has more average daily deaths than any other state.
Dr. Jason Wilson, the Medical Director of the Clinical Decision Unit at Tampa General Hospital, says Hillsborough County’s coronavirus infection numbers are very close to New York City’s at the height of the pandemic there.
“When we think about New York City compared to Hillsborough County or the Tampa area, if you go back to March, April and May, New York City seems like a distant nightmare, something that we, fortunately, were not even close to fathoming in this area.
“We made plans in the hospitals around here as “what if” scenarios, but those ‘what if’ scenarios were the same as if, you know, what if a Category 5 hurricane directly hit Tampa. We didn’t see much probability we were going to end up there given where we were at.
“Because at the time in March, April and May, we had about 100, 50 to 100 times magnitude lower number of cases per day. And the prevalence was much, much lower. We were around 100 to 150 per 100,000 [population] prevalence mark and they were around the 2,000 per 100,00 prevalence mark.
“So just totally different ball games at the time. And then June came along and that’s when we started to see this just rapid take-off.
“We jumped the curve, as I kind of like to think about it. We were sort of on this sort of flat, sort of little curve. We had to have a different y-axis scale to even think about our curve. We couldn’t even put New York on the same graph because it would just blow over us. And all of a sudden we started realizing that our slope started getting closer and closer to theirs.
“And right now the position we’re in from around June 20th until present, is that if you go back to New York City and the time their outbreak really took off in early April, our slopes actually track very tightly together right now.
“As a matter of fact, our slope actually is a little above where their slope was at the same standardized day and time. And so that means that we are probably heading for a place at this point that no matter what we do at this point, where we’re going to get to 2,000 per 100,000 cases in the prevalence in Hillsborough County.
“The difference, of course, is we did have four months to prepare for that, which New York City didn’t get. They basically opened the doors and boom here was the virus. And we expected the virus to be here in the spring, and viruses don’t like human calendars. It took its time getting here and arrives in the middle of June instead.”
Dr. Wilson said despite the immense infection numbers, Florida may be reaching a plateau.
“We’re still in a concerning spot overall. The interesting thing that’s happening is we might be settling down a little bit at this very high plateau. The good news part of that picture is at least we’re not accelerating further. But we’re still moving along. The car’s still moving forward, we’re just not going 70, 80, 90 miles per hour.
“The trajectory we’re on, though, is still concerning because now, our number of new cases ia day seems to have plateaued in the state at that 9 to 10,000 cases per day area and here locally in Hillsborough County at that 45 to 50 cases per day per 100,000 range, which represents about 550 to 600 new cases a day.
“And when you start to take those numbers and extrapolate them down to hospital-level settings, what it means is we are starting to have to plan now to take on the same number of admissions every day right now at that plateau. And that number of admissions is still three to four times higher than it was in March and April.”
Florida’s skyrocketing coronavirus death rate is now higher than any other state, edging out Texas, which has millions of more residents. Florida recorded another 134 deaths Tuesday, bringing its daily average for the past week to 115, topping the 112 deaths a day Texas has reported during that time.
A month ago, Florida was averaging 33 coronavirus deaths a day.
Overall, 5,317 people have died in Florida from COVID-19 since March 1 and nearly 370,000 have tested positive for the disease. About 19% of tests have returned positive in Florida over the last week, compared to 10% a month ago and 2.3% in late May.
Florida recorded nearly 9,400 new coronavirus infections Tuesday. It’s the first time in a week the number has dipped under 10,000 for a day. Florida also saw record high hospitalizations for coronavirus Tuesday.
information from the Associated Press was used in this report
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