(Reuters) – The U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic yesterday, driven by the still-spreading Delta variant, as one doctor warned of the “darkest days” yet.
More than 10,000 patients were hospitalized in Florida as of Sunday, surpassing that state’s record. Louisiana was expected to break its record within 24 hours, prompting Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, to order residents to wear masks again indoors.
“These are the darkest days of this pandemic,” Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said at a news conference with Edwards. “We are no longer giving adequate care to patients.”
O’Neal urged Louisianans to get vaccinated, warning that hospitals were overwhelmed. Many nurses were out sick with the virus, she said, leaving the state with a staffing deficit of 6,000 people.