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Tag: florida covid

‘Funerals And Funerals’: Florida Mortuaries Overwhelmed By Delta Variant Dead

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

One of the ways to gauge the severity of a COVID-19 surge in a particular state or city is how busy funeral homes become — and in Florida, according to CBS News, employees of funeral homes are absolutely swamped.

In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in five new COVID-19 cases in the United States was occurring in Florida. Ron DeSantis, Florida's far-right Republican governor, has been receiving a great deal of criticism for his response to the COVID-19 surge; DeSantis has opposed social distancing measures, forbidden public schools from having mask mandates, and tried to score cheap political points with his MAGA base by railing against expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci.

CBS News' Khristopher J. Brooks explains, "In the last week of August, Florida hospitals averaged 279 deaths per day — up from 52 in July, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The spike in fatalities, although not yet definitively linked to the coronavirus, is strongly suspected to stem from the ongoing surge in cases caused by the Delta variant. Overall, the state has reported a total over 44,000 coronavirus deaths over the course of the pandemic, according to a New York Times tracker. COVID-19 has claimed so many lives in Florida that funeral directors said there aren't enough hours in the day to schedule all the services, a local TV station reported."

The local television station that Brooks is referring to is WFLA Channel 8, the NBC affiliate in Tampa. WFLA's Melanie Mitchell, on August 25, reported that funeral directors in Tampa are "working around the clock, seven days a week."

One of the funeral directors CBS News interviewed was 48-year-old Richard Prindiville, director of the Highland Funeral Home in Apopka, Florida. Prindiville told CBS News, "There's been days I've come home, and I'm exhausted — and I'm talking to my daughter, and I'm falling asleep as I'm talking to her. Every day is funerals and funerals and funerals."

According to Brooks, Prindiville "routinely works 14-hour days booking funerals, meeting with grieving families, transporting bodies and overseeing services." John Ricco, executive director of the Florida Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, told CBS News that in recent weeks, funeral workers in Florida have been as busy as they were during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Some funeral homes in Florida, Brooks reports, are running out of space for bodies of people who have died from COVID-19. And funeral homes have so many burials to arrange that they are having to ask the families of the dead to please be patient.

Prindiville told CBS News, "What makes it difficult for us nowadays is just explaining to family members that we cannot have — and we'll have to hold off having — a funeral. In an hour, I could have six death calls, and I'm back to figuring out how to piece stuff together."

Corpses ‘Stacked To The Ceiling’ In Florida As Delta Variant Explodes

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

An NBC poll out on Tuesday tells you what Civiqs has been saying for months: Trump voters are five times less likely to get vaccinated than Biden voters. In fact, with the exception of children under 12 who have no choice, the terms "unvaccinated" and "Trump supporter" might as well be synonyms. In the latest Civiqs data, 40 percent of Republicans still say no to vaccine in spite of the Delta variant wave, and in spite of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing full approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The numbers from NBC's new poll match those from Civiqs almost exactly, with 91 percent of Biden voters saying they've already been vaccinated but just 50 percent of Trump voters saying the same.

Just as the unreasoning vaccine hostility of Trump supporters shouldn't be a surprise at this point, neither should this: According to WFLA in Tampa Bay, the bodies of COVID-19 victims are "stacked to the ceiling" at area funeral homes and crematories. Even though the overall fatality rate from this wave of COVID-19 has been much lower so far than in previous disease surges, Florida is something of a special case. The large population and relatively low rate of vaccination when compared to states like California or New York has left Florida once again dealing with not just a spike in cases, but a staggering amount of death. Funeral directors are having to delay burials to accommodate an overloaded schedule, and stunned families who are losing ever-younger members are finding it impossible to get assistance or secure arrangements.

As the station reports, Florida is seeing a "death care industry struggling to meet demands at a level they've never seen before, and families struggling to cope with grief at a level a community has ever seen before."

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is still working to punish schools and fighting against federal efforts to protect students. And, as CNN notes, he's doing it because imperiling children "helps him with a narrow but politically powerful segment of the Republican Party, boosting his national prominence ahead of a 2022 reelection campaign and a widely expected 2024 presidential bid."

DeSantis is far from the only Republican courting the kill-kids-for-votes caucus. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose state came in second to Florida for new cases of COVID-19 again on Tuesday, is certainly in the race for the people who Hillary Clinton very accurately named "deplorables." South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has to be relieved that the unmasked, unvaxxed, unhinged Sturgis motorcycle rally has given her state a massive boost—after all, it's hard to participate in the extremist Olympics if you don't have some children to dangle over the flames.