"It is too much.

There are too many dead, ”says a woman who is actually used to dying.

Just before the pandemic, Jacquelyn Graham-Townes took over her father's funeral home in Jacksonville, northeast Florida.

Her oldest child is 21 years old, the same age as the youngest of the 14 corona victims she had to bury in just one week.

"It's like the floodgates have opened," she told USA Today.

What is happening right now is worse than anything the city has experienced in the past year. 

Tatjana Heid

Editor on duty at FAZ.NET.

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In the past seven days, 1,727 people have died of the coronavirus in Florida, more than ever in a week.

The number of those who are in hospital with Covid-19 is also significantly higher than ever during the first wave.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the intensive care beds are 95 percent full, more than half of them with corona patients. 

Much of the southern United States has become a virus hotspot.

Florida recorded 543 new infections per 100,000 population last week, according to the state's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As dramatic as that is, it was still 23 percent less than the week before.

While states like Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana seem to be stabilizing at a high level, the number of cases in Tennessee is still rising.

"We implore you: get vaccinated" 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 489 per 100,000 people in Tennessee became infected with corona in the past week. That was 53 percent more than the week before. The state recorded 20,250 new infections on Monday - more than any other day of the pandemic. More than three quarters of the intensive care beds are occupied, and the trend is rising. In Middle Tennessee, the chairpersons of the ten clinics have made a call. "We ask you, implore you: Get vaccinated against Covid-19," it says.

The pandemic is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. More than ninety percent of those hospitalized with corona in the United States are not vaccinated. The vaccination rates in the southern states are particularly low: In Tennessee, according to Johns Hopkins University, just under 42.5 percent of the population are fully vaccinated. The number of daily doses has been increasing since the end of July, but only slowly. In the states of Louisiana and Georgia, which are also badly affected, only a little more than forty percent of people are fully vaccinated, in Mississippi only 38.5 percent. For comparison: nationwide, 52.6 percent of Americans are vaccinated. In Florida it is even 53.7 percent, but there is a huge difference between those over and those under 65 years of age.

As a result, people in hospitals and those who die are getting younger and younger. Many are between 40 and 59 years old and thus belong to the age group that was less endangered in the previous waves. "We have more patients this time who have died at a younger age with very few or no other medical problems," the New York Times quoted Jacksonville internist Chirag Patel as saying. They would just come to the hospital with Covid and would not be able to get it out. "It's such a pointless and avoidable way to die."

More and more children are being hospitalized, some of them are simply too young to be vaccinated. Nevertheless, the dispute over mask compulsory in schools rages on. Numerous parents and Republican politicians continue to oppose the mask requirement in schools. In Florida, a court has now ruled that Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has exceeded his competencies when he sought an executive order to prevent the mask requirement in schools. Previously, several school districts had disregarded his will - although DeSantis had openly threatened salary freezes for unruly headmasters. 

In Tennessee, five to 18-year-olds now account for around a quarter of all new infections per week. Politicians react indecisively. Republican Governor Bill Lee recommends that students wear a mask, but his executive order is still in effect, giving parents the option of exempting their children from the mask requirement. In Williamson County - where the dispute over the mask requirement in schools has escalated to such an extent that angry parents threatened a health professional who spoke out in favor of it - more than a quarter of elementary school students have been exempted from the mask requirement, according to the district. Nevertheless, the school committee has extended the mask requirement due to the rapidly increasing number of new infections to middle and high school students.