COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations hit all-time high in Florida

Florida is reporting more COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths than at any other point of the pandemic thus far, The New York Times reported.

This week, as of Aug. 24, Florida saw an average of 227 COVID-19 deaths per day, a state record and more than any other state in the U.S. right now. The average for new, known infections hit 23,314 this past weekend, 30 percent higher than the state's previous peak in January, according to the Times.  

Virus hospitalizations in Florida have almost tripled over the past month, with more than 17,200 COVID-19 patients statewide, straining many hospitals. The surge even prompted Orlando officials to ask residents to limit nonessential water usage for two weeks to preserve liquid oxygen, which is used to treat severely ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19. 

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned vaccine and mask mandates, though some schools have implemented mask mandates regardless.

On Aug. 26, dozens of healthcare workers in Palm Beach County held a news briefing to urge the unvaccinated to get shots, emphasizing how overwhelmed the healthcare system was.

COVID-19 patients hospitalized during this surge tended to be younger and were nearly all unvaccinated, Chirag Patel, DO, assistant chief medical officer of UF Health Jacksonville, told the Times. Of those who have died, including younger patients with ages ranging from 20s to 40s, more than 90 percent weren't vaccinated, Dr. Patel said.

"We've had more patients this time around that have passed away at a younger age with very few if any medical problems," Dr. Patel said. "They simply come in with COVID, and they don't make it out of the hospital."

Nationwide, more than 100,000 daily COVID-19 hospitalizations were recorded this week, a level not seen since Jan. 30, according to The Washington Post.  

Editor's note: This article was updated Aug. 26 at 3:17 p.m. CT.


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