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Coronavirus

News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help.

Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions. Send us your comments and questions about our coverage, and what matters most to you.

This map shows the current coronavirus cases and deaths in Florida.

Sign up for our newsletter to get daily updates and analysis from our team and NPR, and go to our Coronavirus Q&A to submit your questions.

The Florida Department of Health is providing daily updates on the number of people infected in the state. It also is providing a list of things you need to know.

Here's how you can help your children fight boredom while they're not in school.

Check out the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention website for updates and a national map. 

If you think you might have coronavirus, call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov

sign on a business door
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Small businesses feeling the impact of coronavirus caused shutdowns and local stay-at-home measures may be eligible for emergency loans through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

At the same time, tens of thousands of Floridians are filing for unemployment benefits.

President Trump is repeating his claim that the United States is doing more testing for the coronavirus than any other country.

"We have more cases because we're doing far more testing than anybody in the world," the president said in a White House briefing on Sunday.

The U.S has ramped up testing, but still lags other countries like Italy and South Korea, when it comes to testing on a per capita basis.

Two weeks ago, President Trump entered the White House briefing room and announced an aggressive plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Stay home for 15 days, he told Americans. Avoid groups of more than 10 people. "If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes, and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus," he said.

an illustration that says print the curve flat over photos of medical professionals wearing 3d printed face shields.
Print the Curve Flat Facebook Page/Haley Keim

Shortages are worsening for personal protective equipment like n95 respirators, gloves and gowns - typically shortened to PPE - as coronavirus continues its spread across the country.

In Florida, a state with nearly 5,000 cases of COVID-19 and counting, hospitals and urgent care centers are posting pleas to the community for anything that could help protect them while tending to patients.

Two gowned and masked researchers doing testing on table under tent
Joe Byrnes / WMFE

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the first week of an ongoing study by the University of Florida in The Villages found no cases of coronavirus among test subjects without symptoms.

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard
Florida Department of Health

With more than 900 new positive test results added since Saturday evening, Florida is rapidly approaching 5,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to figures released by the Florida Department of Health just after 6 p.m. Sunday, 4,950 people have tested positive for novel coronavirus. That’s up by 912 from the same time Saturday, and almost 1,800 since Friday evening.

Updated 8:13 p.m. ET

President Trump said on Sunday that federal guidelines urging Americans to social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place for another month and could last until June.

Under the recommendations, the Trump administration is imploring people to avoid restaurants, bars and other situations involving more than 10 people and restrict traveling to trips deemed essential.

The nation's leading expert on infectious diseases and member of the White House's coronavirus task force says the pandemic could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and infect millions.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said based on modeling of the current pace of the coronavirus' spread in the U.S., "between 100,000 and 200,000" people may die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States has sharply accelerated in recent days, now exceeding 2,000, marking a doubling of the fatality rate in the span of two days.

Animal shelters across the country have had to close their doors as part of the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Fearing the arrival of new litters and abandoned animals with no one to adopt them, they are racing to empty kennels before they are forced to resort to euthanasia.

WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

Updated at 9:59 p.m. ET

While tens of millions of U.S. households continue to fill out 2020 census forms on their own, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing the Census Bureau to suspend field operations for the once-a-decade head count for two more weeks until April 15.

With coronavirus cases continuing to climb and hospitals facing the prospect of having to decide how to allocate limited staff and resources, the Department of Health and Human Services is reminding states and health care providers that civil rights laws still apply in a pandemic.

States are preparing for a situation when there's not enough care to go around by issuing "crisis of care" standards.

But disability groups are worried that those standards will allow rationing decisions that exclude the elderly or people with disabilities.

Gov. Ron Desantis at a table with members of his staff.
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday announced the creation of an Interstate 95 checkpoint on Florida's northern border to screen motorists traveling from the New York City area, in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A graphic showing 3,763 cases of coronavirus
Florida Department of Health

Three more people in Pinellas County have died from coronavirus, bringing the county’s total death toll so far to four, as the state of Florida reported a new record leap in coronavirus cases – 863 more in a day -- officials said Saturday.

iStock

Hillsborough County is among the areas in Florida being hardest hit with coronavirus that will receive a shipment of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is being touted by some as a possible treatment for the symptoms of coronavirus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis is updating the media on the coronavirus outbreak in Florida.

Updated at 10:32 p.m. ET

After broaching the possibility of quarantining New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, President Trump backtracked late Saturday, saying a "quarantine will not be necessary."

Earlier in the day, the president said he was "looking at" quarantining New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut because they had developed as "hot spots" of the coronavirus outbreak.

Pasco Prison Employee Among 7 To Test Positive For Coronavirus

Mar 28, 2020
Zephyrhills Correctional Institution
GOOGLE

Seven Florida Department of Corrections employees who work at separate facilities across the state,  including one in Pasco County, have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, agency officials said late Friday.

Gun sales across the country are surging and in Florida, there have been several record-setting days in the past few weeks. Tallahassee-based Red Hills Arms is struggling to keep up with demand and its owners say as is the case with other gun stores, it's seeing a boom in first-time buyers.

Screen grab of Creative Pinellas website
CreativePinellas.org

Museums, educational centers, galleries and other cultural centers in Florida are closed to visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But many are offering online art and science programs to engage people while they keep appropriate social distance. 

As some U.S. state leaders have issued shelter-in-place orders statewide, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has pushed the decision down to local governments, some of which are doing so. DeSantis is facing partisan pressure to lock the state down.

Major League Baseball players are bracing for a 2020 that might not see a single game played.

Another possibility forced by the coronavirus outbreak is that the baseball season will move down the calendar.

On Friday, players and the Major League Baseball owners ratified a deal fairly quickly and with both sides taking concessions on economic issues in the face of the pandemic complicating and possibly axing this year's season.

Joe Pinero's after-work routine has changed recently.

"I strip outside of my door, take basically all my clothes off and walk in naked and just get directly into a shower when I do come into the house," Pinero said.

But he doesn't think his neighbors in Hoboken, N.J., mind too much, because they know he works as an emergency room doctor.

"If anyone has seen me naked, I'm sorry. But it's probably gonna happen again," he said with a laugh.

WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

Florida saw 714 new people test positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the largest daily increase since the coronavirus outbreak began in the state.

Closed sign at Upper Tampa Bay Park
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Hillsborough County has followed its “shelter-at-home” vote with a decision to close all county parks and preserves are now closed to contain coronavirus outbreak.

A bag of Covid-19 testing supplies
Manatee County Department of Health

Sarasota County has opened a drive-thru Covid-19 testing site but like others locations across the region, resources are very limited.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday just hours after the House approved it amidst the deepening crisis over the pandemic.

"This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation's families, workers and businesses. And that's what this is all about," Trump said at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Friday that anyone arriving in the state from Louisiana must self-quarantine like those arriving from New York already must because of the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis said he is expanding his quarantine order to include Louisiana after officials in the lightly hit Panhandle worried that people will flee New Orleans as the number of positive tests there climb.

The Florida Highway Patrol and sheriff's offices will set up checkpoints to screen cars arriving from Louisiana, DeSantis said.

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