As Florida emerges from closure, Covid-19 cases increase

The Florida Department of Health reported 3,286 additional coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state total to 103,503.

Medical experts and elected officials have attributed the increasing numbers to a combination of more testing and more social contact as companies reopen, and in recent weeks, to people’s participation in major protests.

“Municipalities received guidelines for reopening, but they have no guidelines on when to withdraw, so it is so critical to monitor cases closely before hospitals and ICUs begin to have capacity problems, which is something we have avoided so far in Miami-Dade County, “said Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, head of the FIU epidemiology department.

People are ‘away from home’

In a telephone interview with CNN, Trepka said that health experts can’t really say for sure why the cases have increased, but that from the data, it is clear that community broadcast is ongoing. “There are more people outside,” she said. “That has probably contributed to it.”

Trepka also cited other factors, including children not going to school, Memorial Day weekend, and recent protests in which some protesters were not wearing masks. He said that to limit transmission, people should continue to perform the basic practices recommended by health officials in the past three months: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash hands, and most importantly, stay home if you are sick or have symptoms. .

People enjoy a sunny day in Miami Beach, Florida on June 16, 2020.

“Stay home until you get the test result and it’s negative,” he said.

Florida is one of the states that does not have a state requirement that masks be worn, although the state health department recommends it.

Local governments like Miami-Dade County require the use of masks. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Monday that large venues for sporting events or demonstrations would not open, and that Miami was not heading to the third phase of reopening due to increased cases.

“It really has nothing to do with a greater number of tests. It has to do with the fact that more people who are testing are positive,” said Suárez.

Over the weekend, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attributed the increase in cases to “trying more.” He said the vast majority of cases in Florida now are in people with no symptoms.

Counties like Broward and Duval have a “large population of 20 to 30 years old, mostly asymptomatic. But we are also seeing that they are not only testing positive because they are giving more results, they are also testing positive” at a higher rate, “he said. DeSantis.

DeSantis said the tests have also increased as people “return to the workforce.”

Another increase in demand in the ICU?

States seeing an increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases will face “yet another increase in ICU demand,” said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Speaking on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday, Marrazzo explained that “there are time lags between the maximum numbers we see reported and the consequences that lead people to the ICU. So you’re looking at this period of two to three weeks. ” “

“What worries me a lot is that we are already seeing an increase in ICU admissions in a place like Florida,” said Marrazzo. “And yet the cases continue to rise. Therefore, we will face yet another increase in ICU demand in not too long.”

Marrazzo added that “it is really important for us to think about the implications there, in terms of preparedness and in terms of mitigating the consequences of these increased cases.”

Dr. Andrew Pastewski, chief physician of the intensive care unit at Jackson South Medical Center in Miami, spoke on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday about the increase in patients he is treating.

“A week ago we had eight patients, none with a ventilator,” said Pastewski. “We felt like we were handling this well. We had a nice 24 bed Covid floor with the capacity of four ICU fans in that unit, so we thought we could use that as our Covid floor in the future. And within 10 days “We now have over 40 patients, four with ventilators. We have had to find a second Covid unit and we are looking for a third Covid unit right now.”

Pastewski told CNN that he now has two groups of patients in the ICU: older patients who can live in a nursing home, and younger patients between the ages of 50 and 60.

He said some of his colleagues are not seeing an increase in Covid patients entering ICU units as of now.

“Some of them don’t know that any kind of Covid increase is happening because they only manage Covid ICU patients,” he said. “My group in Jackson South sees all the Covid patients hoping to catch them before they get sick, so I know the numbers are higher.”

This recent increase in cases among young adults could reduce Covid-19 death rates unless those same young adults infect others, according to a tweet from Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. of Diseases of EE. USA

“With a younger age of recent infections in at least some places like Florida, a lower death rate is expected in this wave … until young people in their 20s and 40s who are infected today continue to infect others,” Frieden said. , President and CEO of the Resolve to Save Lives initiative, tweeted on Sunday.

Shifting the coronavirus pandemic to younger Americans is not necessarily good news, said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Jha told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that younger people are less likely to get sick and die from the virus. But even if they are not sick, they can infect others, he noted.

“Those younger people have parents. They have grandparents and they are going to go see those people,” he said.

“The more the virus spreads, the more vulnerable everyone is.”

CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Gisela Crespo, Maggie Fox, Jamiel Lynch and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.