Hurricane Isaías caused strong gusts of wind in the Bahamas this Saturday (1st), as it heads towards Florida (southeastern United States), where it is expected with the fear that it will worsen the state’s already complicated health situation, with record numbers of killed by coronavirus.
Florida, the second state most affected by the pandemic after California, reached a new record this Friday (31) by registering 257 deaths from coronavirus for a total of 6,843 deaths and 470,386 infected.
To this is added the expectation for the arrival of Isaías, a category 1 hurricane, which blows with sustained winds of 130 km / h, and gained strength on Thursday night when passing through the Dominican Republic.
At 3:00 am (Brasília time) on Saturday, Isaiah was an extensive storm that moved northwest at a speed of about 14 miles per hour (22 km per hour), causing great gusts of wind in the Bahamas and also in the Turkish Islands and Caicos, reported the National Hurricane Center (NHC), based in Miami.
“Dangerous hurricane and storm conditions are expected in parts of the Bahamas by Saturday and hurricane alerts are in place,” added the NHC.
The prime minister of this Caribbean archipelago, Hubert Minnis, announced on Thursday evening a relaxation of strict pandemic containment measures to allow residents to prepare for the hurricane.
However, he warned: “Do not use this preparation period to socialize and visit friends or family.”
“We are in the middle of a pandemic and if we do not act responsibly, the consequences could be serious,” he said at a press conference.
Isaiah is the first hurricane to pass through the Bahamas since the Category 5 Dorian last year destroyed two of its islands by stopping for three days over the archipelago.
Isaiah left many floods and landslides on his way through Puerto Rico on Thursday, as well as fallen trees and poles, flooded houses and thousands of people without electricity.
“If you are seeing this, please, we need help!” Pleaded a man from Mayagüez, in the west of the island, in a video where he showed his family about a car, while the water rose and took over the house.
Meanwhile, the American state of Florida, already devastated by the pandemic and with overloaded hospitals, is preparing for the blow of Hurricane Isaias probably as a category 2, that is, with winds of more than 154 km / h.
Sectors on the east coast of Florida are on a hurricane alert, in particular around the Palm Beach region, 115 km north of tourist Miami. The rest of the southeast coast is expected to receive tropical storm winds over the weekend.
Governor Ron DeSantis reported at a news conference that he had declared an emergency in the state’s east coast counties.
But the storm turned slightly west, entering the sea, and now a direct hit on the Florida peninsula is not expected.
DeSantis also recommended that the population “remain vigilant” asked residents to ensure that they “have a plan for food, water and medicine for seven days”.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez said the county has 20 shelters that have not yet been activated.
Giménez said that if shelters are needed – usually installed in school gyms – people who test positive for the coronavirus will be housed in classrooms, an area that is generally not eligible.
“Yes, we have to take additional precautions due to covid-19,” he said, saying that masks and disinfectants were distributed.
Testing centers for covid-19 in Florida have been closed since Thursday until it is safe to reopen them, as the campaign structures may not be able to withstand the winds of a tropical storm.