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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.

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RESOURCES:

FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:

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

hurricane hunter plane
STEPHANIE COLOMBINI/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Authorities say five employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane hunter base in Lakeland have tested positive for COVID-19.

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

Doctors Demand Governor Mandate Masks

Jun 17, 2020

Even as Florida is reopening, the state is seeing record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. A a group of doctors has asked Governor DeSantis to make the wearing of protective face masks mandatory in certain settings.

There is much that isn't known about the coronavirus. But Dr. Howard Kessler, president of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, said one fact is undisputed.

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium
WFSU

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he will soon slash enough spending from the state’s proposed $93.2 billion budget to keep lawmakers from having to address a coronavirus-fueled loss in tax revenues before the November elections.

In Florida, where there's a surge of new COVID-19 cases, officials are divided over what to do about it. The state saw 2,783 new cases Tuesday. It was the third time in the past seven days that Florida set a new daily record.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican officials, including President Trump, say the rising number of new cases was expected and is mostly the result of increased testing. Florida is now testing more than 200,000 people a week, more than double the number tested weekly in mid-May.

Preschool children at a table.
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF / WUSF Public Media

With the start of school just two months away, Governor Ron DeSantis is suggesting public schools return to campus for the fall semester.

a red notebook on a desk with a pen, glasses and stethoscope.
iStock

Unprecedented job loss due to the coronavirus means that more people across the country have enrolled in the nation's largest health care insurance safety net program.

Florida's Medicaid enrollment increased by nearly 5 percent in April and about 3 1/2 percent in May.

A low-cost anti-inflammatory drug appears to reduce the risk of death in patients with COVID-19.

The drug is called dexamethasone. It's been used for decades to treat conditions such as arthritis and asthma. Because patients with advanced COVID-19 disease can have severe lung inflammation, scientists wanted to see if dexamethasone could treat that condition.

It was one of the drugs studied in a large clinical trial in the United Kingdom known as RECOVERY, or Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy.

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

The Florida Department of Health is reporting the largest daily increase of positive cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began.

Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently took an unusual step of encouraging people to drive alone — the exact opposite of what cities have urged people to do for years.

Major airlines will ratchet up their enforcement of face-covering policies, according to Airlines for America, an industry association.

Prior to each flight, Alaska, American, United, Delta, Southwest, Hawaiian and JetBlue Airways will communicate to passengers their policy on individual face coverings, which must cover a passenger's nose and mouth.

Marriott Hotel in downtown Tampa
GOOGLE maps

Hotels in the Tampa Bay area had their second-best month ever in February.

But, what a difference a month makes.

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

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

The Florida Department of Health reported 77,326 coronavirus positive tests statewide Monday; an increase of 1,758 in 24 hours.

COVID-19 May Have Temporarily Lessened Our Carbon Footprint

Jun 15, 2020

“Life, uh, finds a way,” as Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park.

It certainly did between February and April as populations were forced to self isolate indoors, local governments issued “shelter-in-place” orders, and public gatherings were being discouraged, all thanks to the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

Governments in China, parts of Europe, and most recently in the United States, are preparing to ease quarantine restrictions and allow life to return to normal.

Report: 40,000 Cruise Ship Workers Still Trapped At Sea

Jun 15, 2020

More than 40,000 cruise ship workers are still stuck at sea because of concerns about the coronavirus.

The Miami Herald reports that at least 42,000 workers remain trapped on cruise ships without paychecks. Some are still suffering from COVID-19 three months after the industry shut down.

Cruise lines stopped sailing in mid-March after several high-profile outbreaks at sea.

More than 600 people fell ill aboard Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess while it was quarantined off the coast of Japan.

Health Workers Resort To Etsy, Learning Chinese, Shady Deals To Find Safety Gear

Jun 15, 2020

A nursing home worker in New Jersey rendezvoused with “the parking lot guy” to cut a deal for gowns. A director of safety-net clinics in Florida learned basic Chinese and waited outside past midnight for a truck to arrive with tens of thousands of masks. A cardiologist in South Carolina tried his luck with “shady characters” to buy ingredients to blend his own hand sanitizer.

University of South Florida entrance
University of South Florida

The University of South Florida is rolling out its plan to reopen its campuses.

Phase one of a four phase plan approved last week by the Board of Trustees goes into effect Monday.

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

covid-19 map
Florida Department of Health

Another 2,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Florida Sunday, the second-highest number of positive tests reported in a single day statewide since the pandemic began, according to the state Department of Health. 

President Trump addressed the graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday as the nation continues to grapple with a public health crisis and unrest following the police killing of George Floyd.

The president delivered his remarks at West Point to an audience of more than 1,000 graduating cadets. The in-person speech was a break from the video addresses that have been ubiquitous this graduation season.

Bar graph shows daily case count rising in Florida
Florida Department of Health

New coronavirus cases in Florida surged to 2,581 on Saturday, marking the highest number of positive tests reported in a single day statewide since the pandemic began, and the third consecutive day of a record-breaking climb in case numbers, according to the state Department of Health. 

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

For the second consecutive day, the Florida Department of Health is reporting a new single-day record for people testing positive with COVID-19.

1,902 new cases were reported Friday, bringing the state total to 70,971.

President Trump will now accept the Republican presidential nomination in Jacksonville in August.

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

jail bars
iStock

Officials at the Pinellas County Jail are dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.

According to a statement from the Sheriff's Office, 13 staff members and five inmates have tested positive within the last few days.

Chart showing COVID-19 cases trending upward in Hillsborough County
Florida Department of Health

New coronavirus cases are spiking across the state, with Florida recording another high for new coronavirus cases reported in a single day on Thursday.

Hillsborough County officials are trying to get the word out that we still need to keep our distance from each other.

Florida Releases Plan To Reopen Schools

Jun 11, 2020
man stands at podium with flag and interpreter behind him
News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis and state education officials on Thursday released a plan to reopen public schools at full capacity in August, saying that vulnerable kids and Floridians need the return to in-person instruction.

“While there may be challenges regionally, Florida’s workforce and students with the greatest needs are counting on schools to fight to stay open,” the Florida Department of Education stated in the 143-page plan issued Thursday.

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

Florida health officials reported the highest daily increase in new coronavirus infections in the state Thursday.

The Department of Health reported an additional 1,698 positive coronavirus tests since Wednesday, bringing the number of people who have tested positive to 69,069.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced on Thursday an expansive plan to restart the economy and protect public health during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including federally funded testing for every worker called back on the job, guaranteed paid sick leave for workers affected by COVID-19 and a federally coordinated contact tracing workforce.

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