Recent Model Shows Florida Has Only A Week To Contain COVID-19

Mar 25, 2020

A recent statistical model shows that Florida may have only one week to contain the coronavirus before hospitals will be overwhelmed. 

The model predicts 465,699 people will be need to be hospitalized because of COVID-19, by April 24, but there will only be 36,384 hospital beds available by that date.

In an interview on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, Dr. Mobeen Rathore, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Health, discussed the spread of COVID-19 through the state. 

“I think we have a very narrow window of opportunity here, where we need to take all the necessary actions to protect our citizens. I know these are tough decisions but all evidence is pointing that if we do not do something right now - stay at home, shelter at home - orders have to be given. Otherwise, this is going to affect our community in a very terrible way.”

Related: Local, State And National Coronavirus Coverage

The model’s curve flattens with three months of social distancing. 

Gov. Ron Desantis said he will restrict travel into the state from the greater New York City area, in addition to asking those who have already arrived to self isolate. However, Desantis has not ordered a statewide lockdown. Rathore commented on these new restrictions.

“I think if we do not take these actions and do not take them soon, I'm afraid that Florida will pay a much higher price in the long run. We are a state that depends on visitors and if we cannot curtail this epidemic in Florida, you can well imagine what it will do. So I think we need to be wise about this... It's going to impact us, it's going to impact people's livelihoods. I have not taken that lightly. But I think if it's a choice between your life and your livelihood, I think most people will go for their life.” 

At the time of this story's publication, there are 1682 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida with 22 deaths. 

Sarah Glenn can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org, 904-358-6317