81ºF

CDC official warns fall, winter will be ‘difficult’ for American public health

Hospitals overstretched as 38 states report rise in new cases

A health care worker signs people up for testing at a COVID-19 testing site at the Miami Beach Convention Center, during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, July 13, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
A health care worker signs people up for testing at a COVID-19 testing site at the Miami Beach Convention Center, during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, July 13, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

More than 67,00 new cases of coronavirus were reported overnight. That’s a record.

Multiple states are reporting record hospitalizations.

Also overnight, 900 more deaths were reported across the country.

The director of the CDC is warning this fall and winter will be one of the most difficult times we've ever experienced in American public health and the worst is on the horizon.

"I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be one of the most difficult times that we've experienced in American public health. Keeping the health care system from being over-stretched is really important," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said.

With at least 38 states experiencing a rise in new cases over the past week many hospitals are already over-stretched.

“We had some requests for refrigerated trucks to come into our state to house dead bodies because our morgues are beginning to run out of space,” Dr. Quinn Snyder an Emergency Medicine Physician said. “We could end up in a position where we have to make decisions like who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t.”

Florida experienced a grim new milestone in coronavirus related deaths and added over 9,200 new infections over the past day on Thursday.

Nearly a quarter of the Sunshine State’s cases are in Miami-Dade County, now considered by one expert to be the epicenter of the pandemic.

“The situation is dire, as you mentioned. Hospitalization are all-time high. ICU beds are double what they were in April but if things don’t improve over the next week, we could be forced to take very dramatic measures like a stay at home order,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.

In a meeting with Miami-area leaders, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis noting an uptick in positive tests in young people.

“Right now in Florida the number one demographic by far that has tested positive is 25-34,” DeSantis said. “Obviously that demographic is just less risk but at the same time. It spreads quickly there and it can spread to other people.”

But Dr. Anthony Fauci says the increase in infections within that age group could be attributed to Florida’s quick reopening.

The CDC director disagrees, instead pointing to travel to southern states during the Memorial Day week.

“I don’t think the reopening is what’s driving the current expansion right now,” Dr. Redfield said. “Independent on whether you opened or reopened, we’re under the view that there was something else that was the driver.”

Either way, Fauci says if trends continue, the lives lost could be tremendous.

“If you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died, that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic,” Fauci stated. “I hope we don’t even approach that with this, but it does have the makings of, the possibility of being, you know, approaching that in seriousness.”

There is hopeful news with encouraging results from a closely watched vaccine trial that produced some immune response.

That drug will now advance to the next crucial stage.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.