ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The delta variant is just one of the reasons health experts say there’s been a surge in cases, with Florida shattering records never seen before during the pandemic.
The state had 22,783 new infections on Thursday according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, doctors and nurses are treating more than 12,800 patients. Both of those are new records for COVID-19.
But the record number of coronavirus cases and patients needing care was not a surprise to the people that have been forecasting a surge.
Earlier this spring, we talked to Dr. Ali Mokdad at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington who said he was concerned about the number of Floridians that would be inside and able to spread the virus.
Nearly four months later, he says there were several things that led us to where we are now.
“People moved indoors and with no mask mandate in Florida, and the CDC recommendation, in my opinion, was totally wrong. The CDC's recommendation that you don’t need to wear a mask if you are indoors and vaccinated, we counted on an honor system," he said. "We know it did not work. Many people who were not vaccinated are the same people who refused to wear a mask and they did so indoors, so that’s what led to a high level of infection in Florida.”
Dr. Mokdad says they're predicting a total of 46,000 deaths by December 1st here in Florida. We're at nearly 40,000 now.
But if 95 percent of us wear masks, we could reduce it by a couple of thousand.
He says eventually the virus is going to run out of people to infect, but even if you've had COVID-19 before, he says get the shot because previous infections are not going to protect you from the delta variant.