It’s now been four full weeks since 64 of Florida’s 67 counties began to reopen, three weeks for Palm Beach County and two weeks for Broward and Miami-Dade. With the incubation period for COVID-19 being 2-14 days, we have a time horizon long enough to draw meaningful observations about how our reopening has gone statewide thus far. Most importantly, we’re in a window that should be able to tell us if we can continue to reopen the economy while increasing testing and still bringing down the trend of new cases.
On May 4th, the day reopening began in Florida, we averaged 671 cases of COVID-19 per day in the prior week. Most recently, we’ve had 757 newly diagnosed cases. That’s obviously not the news we want to hear but it’s actually lower than the average a week ago. There’s also an explanation that suggests the increased case counts could be higher due to expanded testing rather than additional spread of the virus. On May 3rd, the day before reopening began, 3.6% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. That’s now back up to 4% as of the most recent reporting.
Another way of looking at what’s happened since Florida began to reopen is that most recent daily cases went up 13% and positive test results are up 11%.
Obviously less than ideal. What's unclear at this point is how much of this is due to additional spread of the virus compared to expanded testing into areas where it hadn’t taken place previously. This includes nursing homes and many poorer communities across the state. On a positive note, we’ve seen a significant decline in deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Florida. In the week prior to reopening, Florida averaged 44 deaths per day. We’ve averaged 31 per day in the most recent week, a decline of 30%.
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