Florida's Reopening; Seventh Week Update

Florida, we have a problem. It’s now been seven full weeks since 64 of Florida’s 67 counties began to reopen, six weeks for Palm Beach County and five weeks for Broward and Miami-Dade. 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 averaged 2,885 newly diagnosed cases daily. An increase in new cases was expected along with reopening but it’s safe to say the size of the spike we’ve been experiencing wasn’t part of the plan. Over the past week, Florida’s seen a significant increase in new cases, positive test rates, and numerous new hotspots cropping up around the state. This includes 11 zip codes that are new hotspots in South Florida. Clearly not good news.

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 4.2% and currently stands at 6.1% since testing began. Here’s another way of looking at what’s happened since Florida began to reopen. Daily cases went up 430% and the positive test rate went up 17%.

This means you’re greater than four times as likely to be exposed to COVID-19 today in Florida than you were when reopening began. I’m positioning it this way for one reason and it’s not to be dramatic. Every day thousands of Floridians start the day healthy but by the end of it have done something to contract the virus. It’s imperative for all of us that we remain smart and vigilant as we go about our daily lives. Good hygiene practices, social distancing, and wearing masks in public. This isn’t about politics, it isn’t about questionable models, it’s about you and your family’s health. By every measure what we’re dealing with is the worst we’ve encountered since the 1918 pandemic. 

Five 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. Seven weeks into reopening in Florida, there's a lot to be concerned about what we’re going through and whether it's our worst stretch yet with the virus. We all want to get on with our lives but we need to remember to be smart and safe in public, many are clearly not being careful enough.

Photo by: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

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