The last day the United States reported so many deaths in early May: in the United States, nearly 1,600 people died in 24 hours in connection with Covid-19. The situation is getting out of hand, especially in Florida. There are two reasons for this.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a firm grip on the United States: the number of fatalities recorded every day on Tuesday was the highest in two and a half months. According to Johns Hopkins University, 1,592 deaths were recorded within 24 hours. In Florida in particular, the situation is getting out of control: The state reported a new sad daily record of 186 deaths. In the “Sunshine State” every 50th inhabitant is now infected.
Nationwide, more than 60,000 new cases of infection were counted within a day. This represents a renewed increase in the infection rate after the number of infections had decreased somewhat in the previous days. In total, nearly 4.35 million coronavirus infections have been reported in the United States. The total number of registered corona deaths is now over 149,000.
In addition to Texas and California, Florida in particular has been affected by the rapid increase in the number of infections in recent weeks. On average, 10,000 new infections are added every day; on Tuesday, according to the health authorities, there were 9,230 new cases. In total, more than 6,000 people in the southeastern state have already died from the effects of the infection, and a total of just under 442,000 became infected. Florida is now in second place behind California in infection numbers.
Two measures don’t work
There are two important measures to contain the virus in the US state: testing and contact tracking. According to health experts, the test results must be available within 48 hours so that if a positive result is obtained, the person concerned can be isolated immediately and not infect others. In Florida, however, it takes up to ten days for the results to be available.
“What do I do with a patient I’m testing today and the results come back in three, four, five, or six days – if the patient was with a lot of people in between?” Criticized Alberto Dominguez-Bali of Hialeah Hospital in Miami.
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is increasingly criticized for dealing with the Corona crisis. Despite warnings from health experts, he had spoken in favor of opening the economy early and had already declared in May that the pandemic was under control. President Donald Trump’s close ally also refused to introduce a state mask requirement. Individual mayors nevertheless enforced this for their cities.
Too little staff to follow up
In recent weeks, DeSantis has blamed the laboratories for the long waiting times for the tests and has threatened to stop sending samples to facilities that take too long to evaluate. In the meantime, according to two large laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, the US drug agency FDA has allowed tests in the so-called pool procedure to shorten the waiting time.
The samples of several people are tested together. If the group test is negative, none of the affected is infected. If the result is positive, all those affected have to be tested individually to find the infected person. This accelerated the process, LabCorp told AFP.
There are also major shortcomings in Florida in government contact tracking. At the state health agency, approximately 1,600 people are responsible for tracking contacts of infected people. According to experts, however, the state with its 21 million inhabitants would need at least 6,300 employees.
The United States is by far the worst affected country by the pandemic in terms of both infection and death. In view of the increasing numbers, US President Donald Trump recently called on the population to wear respiratory masks. This was a U-turn after Trump previously ridiculed wearing nose and throat protection.