The Covid situation in Florida is worsening with the spread of the Delta variant. An infectious disease expert has said if the state were a nation, the US "would have to consider banning travel" from its residents.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reported 23,903 new coronavirus cases in Florida on Friday, the state's highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. Infection levels in Florida have risen 51% in the last seven days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
"The viral load in Florida is so high right now, there are really only two places on the planet where it's higher" â Louisiana and Botswana, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said on CNN Sunday.
"It's so high in Florida that I think if Florida were another country, we would have to consider banning travel from Florida to the United States."
Overwhelmed Hospital System in Florida
Florida has become the new hotspot of Covid as the highly contagious delta variant triggers a surge in cases nationwide. The state has also seen a rise in cases among children, with at least 135 of them hospitalized with COVID-19, NPR reported.
Reports say hospitalizations have grown tenfold statewide in just over a month with more than 95% of COVID-19 patients unvaccinated. Hospitals in Jacksonville and Orlando broke their pandemic peaks. Similarly, hospitals in the greater Miami area are nearing their pandemic records, according to USA Today.
As reported earlier, further stressing hospitals are larger-than-normal volumes of sick people crowding emergency rooms with non-COVID illnesses.
Florida Parents Sue DeSantis
No concrete steps are being taken by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to curb the spread of the virus. Recently, he issued an executive order last week blocking mask mandates in the state's schools, saying parents had the right to decide if their children would wear face coverings.
Some of those parents sued DeSantis, arguing that weak health regulations in Florida schools threaten the safety and lives of their children, denying them their right to an education.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in state court in Florida, argues that DeSantis' order violates a provision of the state constitution that requires public officials to ensure schools are safe for students.
'It's Scary What's Happening in Florida'
In another court decision regarding DeSantis' anti-science stance on the coronavirus, a US district court judge granted a temporary injunction saying that the governor can't stop Norwegian Cruise Lines from requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination, according to HuffPost.
"It's scary what's happening in Florida," Derek Shaffer, an attorney for the cruise company, said during a court hearing Friday, reported CNBC. "All of Florida is a hot spot ... All we're doing is trying to protect our staff and passengers."
Norwegian Cruise Line's first trip departing out of Florida since the pandemic disrupted business last year is scheduled to leave Miami on August 15, according to NPR.