Florida hospitals are suffering dangerous oxygen shortages as COVID-19 surges: report

Florida hospitals are suffering dangerous oxygen shortages as COVID-19 surges: report

From Florida to Texas to South Dakota, numeorus states are suffering surges of COVID-19's highly infectious Delta variant. And the situation is so dire in Florida that many hospitals, according to Central Florida News, are experiencing major oxygen shortages.

Central Florida News' Abe Aboraya reports, "The Florida Hospital Association is sounding the alarm, saying a survey shows 68 hospitals have less than a 48-hour supply of oxygen. Hospitals are using three to four times as much oxygen as they were before the pandemic because more than 17,000 patients are hospitalized statewide with COVID-19. The FHA survey, which was done (on August 25), shows 68 hospitals have less than 48 hours worth of supply, with about half of these have less than 36 hours."

Oxygen, of course, is needed to treat COVID-19 patients. The COVID-19 coronavirus, including the Delta variant, often attacks one's respiratory system, making it difficult to breathe.

Florida Hospital Association President Mary Mayhew told Central Florida News, "This is not like running out of masks, right? This is life-saving. And right now, we're focused on how to make sure that does not happen. And so, hospitals have been raising these concerns with the state, with the division of emergency management, with the governor's office, and have raised these concerns federally."

Aboraya notes that since July 1, 29 Florida hospitals have seen the amount of oxygen they have on hand fall below a 12-hour supply.

Mayhew told Central Florida News, "They're making frantic calls, trying to find where their driver is because they were supposed to get a delivery — and now, it's ten hours, 12 hours overdue."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five new COVID-19 infections in the United States is occurring in Florida. Regardless, far-right Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order forbidding local public school districts to require that students wear protective face masks — a move that the Biden Administration has been highly critical of.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst health crisis since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918/1919. Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 4.4. million people, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — and that includes more than 632,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States.

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