Florida’s reopening ten weeks later
Bottom Line: In the space-time continuum that is 2020, which I still haven’t completed ruled out as an episode of the Twilight Zone, it’s easy to lose track of time. On one hand, certain weeks seem to drag on. On another it’s hard to believe we’ve been in pandemic mode for four full months. Related, we’ve now been in reopening mode for ten full weeks. And of course, it’s not been the smoothest ride as we’re now experiencing the highest new daily cases and deaths of the pandemic. Let’s dive in and see what’s happened since reopening began.
It’s now been ten full weeks since 64 of Florida’s 67 counties began to reopen, nine weeks for Palm Beach County and eight 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 9,957 new diagnosed cases daily. Ten weeks ago, we averaged 47 deaths daily, now it’s 72.
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 – including 92 zip codes that are currently hotspots in South Florida. Clearly not ideal.
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 19.6%and currently stands at 10.5% since testing began– above the target rate deemed important by the CDC.
Here’s another way of looking at what’s happened since Florida began to reopen:
- Daily cases up 1,483%
- Positive test rate up 544%
I’m positioning it this way for one reason and it’s not to be dramatic. Everyday 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 use of masks in public are the most effective way to prevent spread of the virus. This includes being more effective than lockdowns. Ten weeks into reopening in Florida, there's a lot to be concerned about, we’re going through 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.