Florida’s Covid Deaths Rise as Orlando Urges Cut in Water Usage
Florida reported one of its highest weekly death tolls from the pandemic, and the mayor of one of its biggest cities asked residents to cut back on the use of water to conserve resources needed to boost the supply of liquid oxygen for Covid-19 patients.
The Sunshine State reported 1,486 Covid-19 deaths in the latest week, according to a new report from the state’s department of health. The Orlando Utilities Commission said the liquid oxygen for respiratory treatment of these patients are also used as part of its water treatment process, urging residents to limit the usage of water for their lawns and cars.
“It means there could be impacts to our water quality if we don’t immediately reduce the amount of water that we need to treat knowing that we could be facing issues with this limited supply,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a speech. “This is another unfortunate impact of the pandemic that continuing to surge in our community.”
About 40% of water used in the city is for irrigation, he added. He also urged residents to get vaccinated.
The fatalities in Florida are still largely occurring among seniors, but there’s been an alarming uptick among younger people. More than a third of the 11 deaths among children under age 16 have been reported in the past four weeks. Among those age 16 to 29, about a quarter of all Covid deaths -- 51 of 207 -- were disclosed in the same period.
The state reported 150,118 infections over the last week, down from a record 151,468 the previous week. It was the first drop in at least 10 weeks.
The mortality data has a significant lag, and many of the deaths didn’t actually occur in the past week. At a seven-day daily average of 212 deaths, the newly reported deaths would surpass the previous high 185 average daily fatalities in Johns Hopkins University data on Florida.
CDC data show Florida average daily deaths peaked at about 227 on Aug. 5, 2020, but that’s based on a different standard -- the date on which the deaths occurred. That data is incomplete for recent weeks.
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