This U.S. City Is Now Where Wuhan Was 6 Months Ago, Says Disease Expert

One health official is saying Miami is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past several weeks, Florida has emerged as one of the states in the U.S. hit hardest by the coronavirus. On July 12, the state recorded 15,300 new cases—a national record in a single day. Among the most beleaguered areas of Florida is the city of Miami, located in Miami-Dade County. In a Monday press conference, infectious disease expert Lilian Abbo, MD, of the Jackson Health System, explained that the current Miami coronavirus situation can be compared to where Wuhan, China, was a few months ago. "What we were seeing in Wuhan—six months ago, five months ago—now we are there," Abbo said, according to CNN. "Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic."

Wuhan was the early epicenter of the global pandemic, with cases first diagnosed in December. Lockdown was initiated in January, months ahead of similar calls being made in the U.S. To date, Wuhan has recorded over 50,000 cases of COVID and 3,800 deaths. Miami-Dade County has already exceeded the first number with more than 67,700 cases; over 1,100 deaths in the county have been attributed to COVID, The New York Times reports.

Miami skyline at night
Shutterstock/Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB

The death count may go up steeply as the hospitals in the county are overwhelmed. Data from the local government shows that, in the past two weeks, hospitalizations in Miami-Dade have ballooned 68 percent, ICU admittance has gone up 69 percent, and the amount of patients on ventilators has jumped up 109 percent. Almost half of the state's hospitals were at at least 90 percent capacity in their ICUs last week, and one in five hospital ICUs were already completely full, per Fort Meyers News Press.

Addressing reporters, Abbo said, "We need your help as media communicators to help the community understand that we're just not repeating the same thing over and over just to give you trouble, we really need your help."

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Despite rising numbers, Florida remains mostly reopened. Its stay-at-home order expired in early May; now, citizens can visit retail stores, dine indoors, keep salon appointments, and worship in groups. Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered bars to stop serving alcohol for onsite drinking in late June, but he has not yet announced any other plans to re-institute lockdown.

For more on Florida's challenges, This One State Is Now Responsible for 25 Percent of the U.S.'s COVID Cases.

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