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Dozens of Florida Hospital ICUs at Capacity as Coronavirus Cases Spike

A nurse works at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., May 6, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

As coronavirus cases spike across Florida, dozens of hospitals in the state have announced that their intensive-care units are at capacity and many more warn that they are dangerously low on beds to handle the influx of new virus patients.

At least 56 Florida ICUs have run out of beds for coronavirus patients, and 35 more have said their bed availability has dropped to 10 percent or lower. The news comes as Florida recorded more than 7,300 new coronavirus cases, 380 new coronavirus hospitalizations, and 63 more deaths from the infection.

Despite the rising number of cases, Florida governor Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that the death rate in his state has begun to taper off, noting that most of the new cases are younger patients.

“We are prepared for this,” DeSantis said. “In places like Miami, you’re seeing increased traffic in the hospitals, but it’s interesting, I was down there today, and they said that they’re actually seeing fewer hospitalizations from people in nursing homes, which is obviously a good sign because that’s where the No.1 risk of mortality is.”

Several other states have seen their coronavirus cases surge in recent weeks after they reopened large swaths of their economies. Georgia passed 100,000 positive coronavirus cases on Tuesday, making it the ninth state to reach that number. The same day, California recorded a record daily increase of more than 10,200 new coronavirus cases, as well as a record 6,000 hospitalized patients. Some Texas counties have also warned that their hospital ICUs will run out of beds over the next two weeks.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser for the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, noted on Tuesday that the death rate from the virus has decreased, but warned against “false complacency” as the pathogen continues to spread.

“It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” Fauci said. “There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus, don’t get yourself into false complacency.”

“The death rate is lower, I admit that. Because people in general, who are young or healthier. But that doesn’t mean that you could not get seriously ill,” he added.

The U.S. has recorded more than three million positive cases of coronavirus, and 131,200 people in the country have died after being infected.

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