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Hurricane Isaiah sweeps the Bahamas and heads for Florida, punished by the covid

Hurricane Isaiah punished the southern Bahamas today and heads toward Florida over the weekend, as the southeastern United States records record numbers of deaths from coronavirus for the fourth consecutive day.

Florida, the second state most affected by the pandemic after California, today reached a new record by registering 257 deaths by covid-19, for a total of 6,843 deaths and 470,386 infected.

Added to this is the expectation of the arrival of Isaías, a category 1 hurricane, which blows with sustained winds of 130 km / h, and gained strength last night when passing through the Dominican Republic.

At 21h GMT (18h Brasilia), Isaías was an expansive storm that moved in a northwest direction at 24 km / h, causing strong storms and falling over the chain of islands in the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, reported the National Hurricane Center (NHC), based in Miami.

Storm tides of up to 1.5 meters and up to 200 mm of rain are forecast in the Bahamas.

The Prime Minister of this Caribbean archipelago, Hubert Minnis, announced yesterday a relaxation of the restricted 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 can be serious,” Minnis said at a news conference.

Isaiah will pass through the center of the Bahamas archipelago tonight and through the eastern part of the Florida peninsula on Saturday afternoon or Sunday.

It is the first hurricane to pass through the Bahamas since the Category 5 Dorian destroyed two of its islands in 2019 by stopping for three days over the archipelago.

Isaías has already left many floods and landslides in his passage through Puerto Rico, in addition to 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.

Hurricane in the middle of the pandemic

Hurricane Isaías - Maro Siranosian / RAMMB / CIRA / AFP - Maro Siranosian / RAMMB / CIRA / AFP
Satellite image shows Hurricane Isaiah passing through the Dominican Republic on 7/31 Image: Maro Siranosian / RAMMB / CIRA / AFP

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 Florida’s east coast are on a hurricane alert, in particular around the Palm Beach region, 115 kilometers north of 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 coronavirus will be accommodated 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 yesterday until it is safe to reopen them, as campaign structures may not be able to withstand the winds of a tropical storm.

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