MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across South Florida and across the country, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is advising Americans not to let their guard down.

“I’ve often said, ‘Help is on the way, but help is not here yet,'” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, warns this next coronavirus wave could be the worst one yet due to a recent dramatic increase in cases.

“It’s so tragic because we’re so close to the finish line,” Marty said. “We face the inevitable reality of not having enough doctors, nurses, technicians, other staff.”

It’s also no surprise that those on the frontlines of the pandemic who are already overworked said they are worried about what is to come.

Jackson Health Systems has treated roughly 10,000 COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic.

“It is stressful. You can leave one day and you can have eight [patients] in the ICU and then you come back and you have double that,” said Jackson Health System Registered Nurse Vicky Perez.

With Thanksgiving a little more than a week away, those numbers are expected to worsen. Georgia Tech has created a county-by-county map that measures the risks of large gatherings.

In Miami-Dade, a group of 10 has a risk of 19% that one COVID-positive person will attend the event, in Broward the risk is measured at 14%, but Monroe sees an increase in risk at 21%.

The risk of transmission at a gathering with 25 people increases to 41% in Miami-Dade, 32% in Broward and 44% in Monroe.

Moments after being sworn in on Tuesday night, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced a new economic task force.

“My first act as mayor — I don’t need a pen — I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Peter Page, the Chief Physician Executive and Chief Clinical Officer at Jackson Health System, will be joining as our new Chief Medical Officer,” she said at the ceremony.

Steve Geller, Broward County’s incoming mayor, made a similar public health push. He asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide mask mandate to help slow the spread of the virus.

“It is my belief, based on the science, that if everybody would start wearing masks, we can avoid widespread shutdown,” Geller said.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox