The US state of Florida is tipped to become the new coronavirus epicentre as the country grapples with surging and accelerating numbers of cases.
This week a total of 10 US states, including Florida, saw a record number of new coronavirus cases.
Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Nevada, California, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas. Along with Florida, they have all reported week-long record-breaking averages of new COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday alone, Florida, where restrictions have been easing, reported a staggering 3217 new cases of COVID-19. The shocking figure is the largest number of cases reported in one day since the start of the pandemic according to Florida’s state health department, reports Fox 35. The new cases took the state’s total number of cases to just under 86,000.
It’s leading experts to believe Florida has “all the markings of the next large epicentre of coronavirus transmission” according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.
The projections show the risks in the state are the worst they’ve ever been.
Dr David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN the state is in a dire position.
“It’s very easy to start doubling (case numbers) and lose control of the epidemic,” he said.
According to Dr Rubin, the predictions are matched by the actual cases in Florida and are confirmed by increasing hospitalisations from Tampa, Orlando and the Miami-Dade County, as well as on the east and west coasts.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the state needs to continue to “function” and promised not to enforce a lockdown, but to instead focus on protecting and informing the elderly.
The state already has three-quarters of its intensive care beds occupied, data from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration indicates, and general hospital beds are also at 75 per cent capacity. In Florida, 3061 people have so far died from coronavirus.
According to reports, at this point in the pandemic, a total of 23 US states are continuing to see an upswing in coronavirus cases.
In North Carolina, 1333 new cases were reported in the state on Thursday alone. The number takes the state’s total cases to 48,188, with 857 in hospital, and 1170 deaths.
In Arizona a new single-day record of 2519 cases was also reported this week.
In California, alarm is also being raised as Governor Gavin Newsom said locals are abandoning the practice of wearing protective face masks, which are recommended by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered – putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” Mr Newsom said.
The US has been badly hit by coronavirus, with more than 120,000 people killed by the disease. That’s more than double the second hardest hit country of Brazil, which has seen just under 48,000 deaths, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University.
The US is currently grappling with more than 2.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus.