Florida virus cases projected to peak in May, states health research center

03-30-20 Coronavirus mapFlorida’s Coronavirus cases. As of March 30 Lee County had 152 confirmed cases and 6 deaths; Collier had 111 and 1 death.     (Map: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center)

March 30, 2020 by David Silverberg.

Florida’s Coronavirus cases will peak in May according to a projection by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE), an independent population health research center at the University of Washington.

The peak day is projected to be May 3—33 days from now.

By August, the Institute projects that Florida will have suffered 6,766 deaths, reaching a rate of 174 deaths per day at its peak. Deaths should cease by the end of June.

The projections do not break down by county, so a separate projection for Southwest Florida is unavailable.

Florida has the resources to cope with the pandemic, according to the Institute. On May 3, when demand will be highest, it will have 20,184 hospital beds to handle demand for 16,861 beds. However, it will require 2,538 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and be short 843. It currently has only 1,695 ICU beds. The state will also need 2,029 ventilators.

The IMHE model was cited by Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus taskforce, in an interview with journalist Chuck Todd yesterday, March 29, on “Meet the Press.

“No state, no metro area will be spared,” warned Birx. “And the sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they’ve put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans.”

To date Florida has not implemented a stay-at-home order, closed non-essential services or severely limited travel within the state. It is testing incoming travelers at its northern and western borders.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is coming under increasing pressure to implement strong measures like New York’s but has so far resisted. The Lee and Collier County councils have similarly resisted strong measures, fearing their impact on the state and local economy.

The IMHE model does not project the Florida infection and death rate if such measures are taken.

Nationally, IMHE projects peak resource use on April 15, when American hospitals will need 224,321 hospital beds and be short 61,509. The US will also be short 15,103 ICU beds and need 33,440 and will require 16,753 ventilators. Ultimately, it projects 82,141 American deaths from COVID-19.

This is lower than the number cited by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Yesterday he told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” “I mean, looking at what we’re seeing now, you know, I would say between 100 and 200,000 (deaths). But I don’t want to be held to that.” Fauci added that there could be “millions of cases” of Coronavirus infection.

Yesterday President Donald Trump dropped the idea of opening the nation for business on Easter and allowed social distancing standards to remain in force until April 30.

In the same press conference Trump said that when it came to vital supplies, “Florida has been taken care of.” In response to a follow-up question he added “Florida I looked, they’re very aggressive in trying to get things and they’re doing a very good job.” He went on to say that all governors are committed to responding to the pandemic and that most states were “very happy” with the federal response.

According to the Washington Post article, “Desperate for medical equipment, states encounter a beleaguered national stockpile,” Florida has received special treatment in receiving crucial supplies.

“Florida has been an exception in its dealings with the stockpile,” states the article. “The state submitted a request on March 11 for 430,000 surgical masks, 180,000 N95 respirators, 82,000 face shields and 238,000 gloves, among other supplies — and received a shipment with everything three days later, according to figures from the state’s Division of Emergency Management. It received an identical shipment on March 23, according to the division, and is awaiting a third.”

“‘The governor has spoken to the president daily, and the entire congressional delegation has been working as one for the betterment of the state of Florida,’” said Jared Moskowitz, the emergency management division’s director. “‘We are leaving no stone unturned.’”

Florida’s treatment is in contrast to states like Michigan and New York, whom the president has criticized as being disrespectful to him and where officials are complaining about being shortchanged by the federal government.

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg



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