Over the past 13 days, hospitalizations in Miami-Dade County have gone up by 76%, the number of ICU beds being used has increased by 86% and the use of ventilators has soared by 124%, according to the latest data from the county government.
“The situation is really concerning here in South Florida,” Dr. David De La Zerda, the lead ICU physician at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, told CNN Friday. “All the health care workers have a huge burden.”
President Donald Trump traveled to the county on Friday on unrelated business. He was met by five local leaders, including a state senator and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez.
They all wore masks. Trump did not.
His first stops will be in Doral, where he will receive a briefing and deliver remarks at the US Southern Command and then motorcade to a church nearby to participate in a roundtable discussion with Venezuelans. Trump then heads to a private fundraiser in Hillsboro Beach. He is not scheduled to participate in any events related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Doral, where US Southern Command is located, is just under two miles from the President’s golf club.
Florida health officials on Friday reported 11,433 new Covid-19 cases and 93 deaths, according to data on the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website.
It’s the second time the state’s single-day tally topped 11,000, according to CNN’s count. DOH reported 11,458 cases on July 4.
According to Johns Hopkins, there are at least 3,140,840 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 133,542 people have died.
Michigan governor requires face coverings
Following an increase in cases in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday requiring a face covering be worn in all indoor public spaces. It also requires businesses to refuse service or entry to anyone not wearing a covering, the governor announced in a release.
Violating the order, which goes into effect Monday, could bring a $500 penalty.
There are exceptions, including while people are eating and drinking at a restaurant.
North Carolina set a record Thursday for the highest number of hospitalizations and posted the second highest number of cases for the state, Gov. Roy Cooper said.
“Though North Carolina isn’t a surging hot spot like some other states, we could be if we don’t stay strong in our fight,” he said.
Texas and California had the highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott does not anticipate next week will bring any relief.
“We need to make sure that there’s going to be plenty of hospital beds available in the Houston area,” Abbott said on KRIV-TV.
Staggering US numbers show pandemic isn’t over
The nation’s leading infectious disease expert warned Americans throughout the week that the nation is still “knee deep” in the first wave.
“We’ve never really gotten out of it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with SiriusXM Doctor Radio airing on Friday.
Dr. Peter Hotez says he’s so alarmed by the rising numbers that he has a hard time sleeping.
“One (reason) is this steep acceleration,” Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine , told CNN on Friday morning. “We’re approaching (Fauci’s) apocalyptic prediction of 100,000 cases a day.”
These rising cases are associated with increased hospitalizations and ICU use, he said. Hospital staff members are exhausted and falling ill too often.
“There is no national strategy,” he said, “and no interest in even inaugurating any national road map… We’re in an emergency. We absolutely have to go to a lock down in multiple states.”
Experts say US can stay open — strategically
While it’s impossible to maintain stringent coronavirus restrictions and return to a sense of normalcy, there is a middle ground, Fauci said.
“Rather than think in terms of reverting back down to a complete shutdown, I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process. Looking at what did not work well and try to mitigate that,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease told The Hill’s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons.
The all-or-nothing approach to socialization, and in Florida’s case reopening too fast, contributed to the return of the virus, Fauci said on Podcast-19, FiveThirtyEight’s weekly podcast on Covid-19.
“There are some governors and mayors that did it perfectly correctly,” he said. “But what happened is that many of the citizenry, said, ‘You know, well, I’m either going to be locked down or I’m going to let it all rip.’ “
Fauci has stressed the risk in congregating, and he recommended Thursday that the nation reevaluate recommendations on when to reopen bars and indoor restaurants, saying they pose one of the “real problems.”
Even with the restrictions currently in place, only half of Nevada’s bars were found to be in compliance, said Gov. Steve Sisolak. As of 11:59 p.m. local time on Friday, bars in certain counties will revert to similar restrictions in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan.
Precautions become mandates in ‘a fight for our lives’
Local leaders are moving from encouraging precautions like masks to mandating them.
At least 36 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have a mask order, and some cities require them even when their states don’t.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves made masks mandatory Thursday for the 13 counties seeing the greatest spikes. Businesses will not be required to shut down, but social distancing also will be required in those counties.
“Mississippi is in a fight for our lives,” he said.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told reporters Thursday that wearing a mask saves both lives and businesses from shutting down.
“If you are waiting to wear a mask until the Governor tells you to,” Polis said, “I hope you’ve heard that I’m telling you, and I’ve made it clear. Wear a d*** mask.”
CNN’s Elizabeth Hartfield, Melissa Alonso, Jason Hanna, Jen Christensen, Slover Morrison, Raja Razek, Jacqueline Howard, Eileen McMenamin, Eric Fiegel, Betsy Klein and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.