Coronavirus Florida's

Florida’s new coronavirus cases break record, nearly tying New York’s peak – NBC News

Florida shattered its single-day record for new coronavirus cases, nearly tying New York state’s peak daily count set in April.

Florida on Saturday reported 11,458 new cases of the virus, which breaks its previous records and approaches New York’s highest daily tally of 11,571 in April, according to NBC Miami and the New York State Department of Health.

New York’s peak was the highest one-day tally in the nation so far, according to Marketwatch.

In Florida, nearly all of the new cases, 11,445, were among state residents.

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The state is among 11 where numbers have spiked, at least doubling over the past two weeks. The other states, mostly in the South and West, are: Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas, according to an NBC News analysis.

The U.S. as a whole meanwhile reported 53,213 new cases, its second day in a row with a tally exceeding 50,000, according to the World Health Organization. The country has over 2.7 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 128,481 deaths, the WHO reports.

In Florida, Miami-Dade County’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus include a new curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. that began Friday night. County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez also said he was rolling back the reopening of entertainment venues, including movie theaters, bowling alleys and casinos under county control. The county previously closed its beaches for the Independence Day holiday weekend.

The state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is meanwhile encouraging people in the state to wear face coverings but has not made it a requirement.

DeSantis’s communications director, Helen Aguirre Ferre, said in an email that the growth in cases in the state was in part because Florida has also hit a new record in the number of tests performed: 85,086. The percentage of those receiving positive results remained constant at 14 percent, she said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looks on prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida on June 14, 2020.Michael Reaves / Getty Images

The governor’s office noted that most Floridians already live under a mask mandate, as populous counties like Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Duval and Hillsborough counties have already adopted such requirements.

“Governor DeSantis continues to stress the importance of personal responsibility in helping defeat COVID,” Ferre said in the email. “Florida has launched public service announcements, in both English and Spanish, emphasizing the importance of wearing a facial covering and avoiding the ‘3 c’s’: crowded spaces, closed spaces, and close-contact spaces.”

A group of 10 Democratic lawmakers urged DeSantis on Friday to mandate mask-wearing for all of Florida, according to NBC Miami.

“In watching the devastation that COVID-19 is causing in our communities, we strongly recommend that the State of Florida implement a mandatory use of face covering over the nose and mouth while in a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible,” the lawmakers wrote to the governor, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Image: Phil McCauslandPhil McCausland

Phil McCausland is an NBC News reporter focused on rural issues and the social safety net.

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-year-old Florida's

An 11-year-old boy is Florida’s youngest person to die from Covid-19 complications – CNN

(CNN)An 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County has died from Covid-19 complications, according to the Florida Department of Health, making him the youngest person in the state of Florida to die from the disease.

The boy had severe underlying health conditions, the health department told CNN. The latest health records show the 11-year-old’s case was not travel-related, but it’s unclear if he recently had close contact with anyone who had Covid-19.
The boy is the third minor in Florida to die of complications stemming from the novel coronavirus, according to health records. The others were a 16-year-old girl in Lee County and a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County.
News of the boy’s death comes amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in the Sunshine State, which on Thursday reported 10,109 new cases — another record for new coronavirus cases. A CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows the state is now averaging more new reported Covid-19 cases per day than any other state.
As of last Friday, 7,000 minors in Florida had tested positive for Covid-19. There are more than 169,000 cases statewide and more than 3,600 people have died.
According to the latest state data, patients between the ages of 25 and 34 make up 20% of the state’s Covid-19 cases. Those between the ages of 15 and 24 make up another 16%. Patients between the ages of 5 and 14 make up just 3%.
Still, DeSantis — who previously pointed to the lack of deaths among minors to justify reopening schools in the fall — has said the state will not re-impose lockdown measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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Florida's Miami-Dade

Florida’s Miami-Dade County to use nightly curfew to fight growing coronavirus cases – NBC News

In an attempt to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases in southern Florida, Miami-Dade County will impose a curfew beginning at 10 p.m. Friday.

The announcement about the curfew by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez came the same day that health officials reported more than 10,000 new cases statewide, a record high.

“This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly,” Gimenez said in a statement, adding that the nightly restriction would be in place until further notice.

The county curfew will be from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., but there are exceptions for people including first responders and hospital and food delivery workers. Miami Beach, which is in Miami-Dade County, on Wednesday announced a citywide curfew from 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.

People walk back from the beach in Miami Beach, Floa., on July 2, 2020.Chandan Khanna / AFP – Getty Images

Gimenez said that in addition to imposing a curfew, he is also “rolling back” the reopening of entertainment venues, including movie theaters, bowling alleys and casinos under county control.

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Officials in Florida and elsewhere have tried to impress on younger people the risk they face in resuming their social lives as normal amid the pandemic, something Miami-Dade County’s mayor seemed to reference.

“I do not want to go back to closing all but essential businesses, but the only way to avoid that is for everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Gimenez said. “That means every generation — every one of us, no exceptions.”

The moves come after beaches in South Florida were ordered closed for the holiday weekend. Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties, as well as the city of Key West and other communities in that region, have all closed beaches, officials said.

On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health announced 10,109 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 67 additional deaths.

Miami-Dade County has had more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19, the most in the state, with more than 1,000 deaths, according to state health department numbers. In total cases it is followed by Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The three counties are among those that have also required that masks be worn in public places.

Overall, Florida has had more than 169,100 cases and 3,617 deaths, according to the state health department.

On Thursday, the governor of Texas, whose state is among others seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, reversed course and issued a statewide mask order. The governor of Kansas also issued a statewide order requiring masks in public places.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused calls to do so. He has said that the state was putting out guidance and relying on people to make good decisions and that decisions on mask requirements are up to local governments.

Florida on Friday banned the consumption of alcohol at bars statewide in response to the rising numbers of cases.

Nineteen states have either reversed or paused planned reopenings amid the pandemic. More than 2.7 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States, with more than 129,600 deaths linked to the disease, according to NBC News’ count.

Image: Phil helselPhil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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COVID Florida's

Florida’s COVID-19 cases are surging, and that could ruin the NBA’s Disney World bubble plan – CBS Sports

The Florida Department of Health reported a terrible milestone on Monday: The state has passed 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections. New cases have been trending up for more than a month, and in recent days the positive test rate has been roughly 12 percent. Beginning on July 7, 22 NBA teams will travel to Orlando to prepare for the resumption of the 2019-20 season. 

In a phone interview, Zach Binney, an epidemiologist at Oxford College of Emory University, called this combination of facts “really, really, worrying.” He said the NBA hadn’t done anything wrong, but “I’m afraid it’s all about to go pear-shaped anyway.” 

Binney initially thought it was reasonable for Disney personnel to enter and exit the campus every day, given the mitigation procedures: a lack of face-to-face contact with players, required use of face coverings and symptom screening. Now, the increased number of infections means that the baseline chance of a staffer being infected will be significantly higher, as will the difficulty of preventing an outbreak in the NBA. Binney borrowed a metaphor from the team executive that called the campus a “mesh hat” rather than a “bubble” in a story by NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh.

“If it’s drizzling, maybe your head can stay dry,” Binney said. “If it’s pouring, that’s a really hard ask for a mesh hat.”

It is a “full-on rainstorm” in Orlando, in Binney’s estimation. 

The test-positive rate in Orange County and Orlando “indicates that there is rampant viral spread and that there aren’t enough tests in that area to do what needs to be done and to keep track of the virus,” he said. He expects that any expert looking at these numbers would be “very concerned” about the situation potentially getting much worse before it gets better.  

“This epidemic is like a train,” Binney said. “You can’t just hit the breaks and stop it immediately. It takes time because it spreads fairly easily and it takes a while to show itself. Those are the two really insidious things about this particular virus that make it really hard to control. By the time you’re seeing 12 percent-plus positive and 4,000 cases a day in Florida, it’s out there. The horse is out of the barn and you’re going to have a heck of a time getting it back in. [That] is my fear.”

The variables to watch are the number of active cases, the test-positive percentage, hospitalizations, hospital capacity and ICU capacity. “There is no single magic number or single barrier that you break and then it’s fine, or, on the other side of it, it’s horrible,” he said. “It’s all a continuum.” Potential on-campus infections aside, players will get hurt and some of them will need to visit a hospital.

“If the medical system is completely overwhelmed, you can’t have a league,” Binney said. “You could not in good conscience have the NBA if ICUs are full and they’re putting bodies in refrigerated morgue trucks in Orlando.”

By setting up a rigorous testing program, the league implicitly assumed that there would be enough tests for the general population. That could change, at which point “I don’t know how you can bring over 1,000 NBA players and staff to Orlando and be testing them every day and just twiddle your thumbs at the situation around you,” Binney said. “I think that’s really ethically questionable.” 

The NBA has enough time to try to turn the mesh hat into a real bubble. It would be expensive and logistically difficult, but, even if things stay about as bad as they are rather than getting a lot worse, Binney said that housekeepers, food-service staff and bus drivers would need to be tested every other day “at the absolute minimum” in order to be confident that a reasonable percentage of cases would be caught. 

As tight as the NBA makes its restrictions, the local number of infections, testing capacity and hospital capacity will be out of its hands. “It’s going to rely on policy responses and individual choices,” Binney said, and he has a message about the latter: “If you want sports back, you have to get this thing under control. You can’t shortcut it. You can’t sidestep it. It’s a force of nature.” Recent surges suggest “we just don’t seem to have the patience for that.”

The NBA’s 113-page health and safety plan does not include any protocols about shutting the season down again. After spending months figuring out how to make the Disney experiment work, it’s unclear what exactly would have to happen to make the league abandon ship — and forgo the money it is counting on. 

In Binney’s view, it might not be reasonable to expect a black-and-white rule in such a fluid and complicated situation. He recognizes, however, that the NBA has enormous incentive to play the games, so the responsibility should fall to the Florida Department of Health. 

“In an ideal world, I would be able to trust them completely,” Binney said. “But in as polarized a world as we live in, I think it would be reasonable to have some concerns about them being able to play that role very clearly, particularly given the other elements of the state government of Florida.”

On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledged that the rising number of cases could not be solely attributed to increased testing, a reversal of comments he’d made days earlier. Last week, a report from scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania said Florida had “all the makings of the next large epicenter.” As part of Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, 64 of 67 counties, including Orange County, are allowing people to dine indoors and allowing gyms and retail stores to operate at full capacity. If the state is planning another lockdown, DeSantis has not yet said so. 

Binney wondered whether or not the NBA would be capable of setting up a truly independent medical board to assess the overall safety of the plan, similar to the “physician panel” that will determine whether players and staff are high-risk. These public-health experts would need to be paid ahead of time and be assured that the league would not interfere with their decision or retaliate against them if they were to say the plug should be pulled.  

“Maybe you could have one person with a lot of NBA or sports subject-matter expertise, and then the others are public-health professionals that have shown absolutely no interest in sports their whole lives,” Binney said. He laughed, then continued: “They exist. Trust me, they exist.”

As a sports fan and a public-health expert himself, Binney has found himself in a weird position. He wants sports to come back, and he feels awful for the NBA because he thinks it did outstanding job with the protocols. “But I’m a human being first,” he said, and he feels worse for the people of Orlando. If the choice is between contributing to an explosive pandemic and keeping people safe, he would like to think he knows where he stands. 

“The NBA has done everything it can,” Binney said. “It’s just the virus doesn’t care. The virus is going to do what the virus does.”

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