The state’s health department’s tally of hospitalizations was higher Friday at 341 new admissions, one of the biggest daily increases since the pandemic began. Statewide, about 20 percent of ICU beds are currently available, though some hospitals have additional capacity that can be turned into ICU units.
Ten Democratic legislators urged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday to require Floridians to wear masks. They want the governor to make masks mandatory in public spaces, indoors and outdoors, when physical distancing isn’t possible. The Republican governor has resisted those calls.
“This is not a partisan issue; this is an issue of life and death,” the legislators said in a letter to DeSantis. “This small but important gesture will have big consequences for the greater good.”
Citing staffing shortages at local hospitals, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a curfew that begins Friday night and will be in place indefinitely. The order closes casinos, movie theatres and other entertainment venues.
“This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly,” Gimenez said in a statement.
The Cuban-born Republican had previously announced beaches would be closed over the July 4 weekend.
The U.S. is heading into the holiday weekend with many parades and fireworks displays cancelled, beaches and bars closed and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans’ self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.
With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.
“We’re not going to be arresting people for having gatherings, but we’re certainly going to discourage it,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, public health director for Seattle and King County.
The warnings were sounded after a Memorial Day weekend that saw many people emerge from stay-at-home orders to go to the beach, restaurants and family gatherings. Since then, confirmed infections per day in the U.S. have rocketed to an all-time high, more than doubling.
The U.S. set another record on Friday with 52,300 newly reported COVID-19 cases, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, bringing the total number in the U.S. to nearly 2.8 million. Nearly 130,000 people have died.
Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have been hit especially hard.
Arizona has reached new peaks in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, indicating the state is intensifying as a coronavirus hot spot. State health officials say the capacity of intensive care units is at an all-time high of 91 per cent. The state reported Friday 4,433 confirmed cases and 31 deaths. The total stands at 91,858 cases and 1,788 deaths