The virus claimed the life of a woman who died from the disease. Her family was planning her funeral when her mother also succumbed. Two weeks later, COVID-19 was discovered in the body of an aunt who took over funeral arrangements.
Bright said, "That was one the most tragic things ever," and also arranged for the funeral of one his closest friends last week.
Florida is currently suffering from the worst COVID-19 wave since the pandemic. This deadly virus has been driven by the highly contagious delta variant.
Although Florida's vaccination rate may be slightly lower than the national average; the Sunshine State also has a large population of seniors who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. There is also a vibrant party scene and a Republican governor who has been very strict against the use of masks, vaccine passports, and business shut downs.
The state had 244 deaths per hour as of mid-August. This is an increase of 23 deaths per day from late June. It also surpasses the 227 deaths per day recorded in the summer 2020. (Because Florida has a different way of recording deaths and reporting lags, the most recent statistics on fatalities per hour are not complete.
To store more patients, hospitals have needed to rent refrigerated trucks. Funeral homes have been overcrowded.
Cristina Miles, a mother to five children from Orange Park is one of those who are facing multiple losses. After her husband died from COVID-19, her mother-in law succumbed less than two weeks later.
She said that she felt like everyone was in a strange dream state. Her children were grieving differently. One shutting down, one feeling inspired to swim hard, and the oldest just going about her normal life.
Hospitals were overflowing with patients who, just like Miles' mother-in-law and husband, had not been vaccinated.
Positive news: The number of patients admitted to the Florida hospital with COVID-19 has fallen from over 17,000 to 14,200 in the last two weeks, which indicates that the surge is slowing down.
Florida was very proactive in its efforts to immunize senior citizens. Professor of infectious diseases at University of Florida Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi said that the number of seniors who have not received the vaccine is still high, considering Florida's 4.6 million elderly population.
Cherabuddi stated that even 10% of the population is still very high. People who live with them and come into contact with them aren't vaccinated. "With delta things spread very quickly."
Cherabuddi stated that there has been a "huge" change in attitudes towards masks in Florida this year compared to last. He said that this summer it felt like there was not a surge if you traveled the state.