It’s now been six full weeks since 64 of Florida’s 67 counties began to reopen, five weeks for Palm Beach County and four weeks for Broward and Miami-Dade. On May 4th, the day reopening began in Florida, we’d averaged 671 cases of COVID-19 per day in the prior week. Most recently, we’ve averaged 1,548 new diagnosed cases daily. Not good news. Not only are there new hot spots throughout South Florida, but also Palm Beach County is seeing the most rapid increase in cases over the past week. We’re seeing new hotspots in counties that hadn’t had any previously like DeSoto and Manatee on the gulf coast. It’s clear that a combination of reopening and protests have led to a rise in cases across our state.
On May 3rd, the day before reopening began, 3.6% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. Most recently, and with more testing taking place, the positive test rate rose to 4.6%. Here’s another way of looking at what’s happened since Florida began to reopen:
- Daily cases up 131%
- Positive test rate up 28%
There’s no sugar-coating this. We’re going through what’s proving to be the worst stretch yet for the coronavirus in Florida. We’re seeing rapid spread and unfortunately, the most recent trend is still sharply higher. It’s unclear how much worse this could become before leveling off. And let's be mindful that no county has fully reopened yet. I’m not saying this to be dramatic or to create undue concern, but we really do need to have a bit of a collective reality check. Heat and humidity aren’t doing the trick and every day over a thousand healthy Floridians are putting themselves in the crosshairs of this virus. You don’t want to be next.
Recently four separate studies have shown the use of masks in public is the most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes being more effective than lockdowns. Six weeks into reopening in Florida, there's a lot to be concerned about and its possible Governor DeSantis declared our performance, which still on balance has been far better than most of the country, a victory prematurely. We might not want to hear or deal with it but ignoring the issue won’t change reality. We all want to get on with our lives and leave the virus behind but every day a minimum of hundreds of Floridians, most in South Florida, are becoming infected. We need to remember to be smart and safe in public – many are clearly not being careful enough.
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