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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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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

screenshot of Florida Department of Health dashboard for July 3.
Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health announced another 9,488 COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 178,594.

Players in an NBA basketball game.
Chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons

The coronavirus numbers are rising in Florida and across the NBA.

Across the United States the coronavirus is once again on the march. On Wednesday alone there were nearly 50,000 new cases — a record. The case counts for each state suggest the disease is mainly spreading in a band stretching from Florida across much of the southernmost states and westward to California, with Idaho and Iowa also in trouble.

But when you use tools to drill down to more local data, the picture gets more complicated — and even more concerning. Here are five takeaways:

It may be time for a statewide lockdown in Arizona and Florida

VP Mike Pence wearing a mask
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday sidestepped questions about whether he would recommend that vulnerable people not attend the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville next month if COVID-19 cases in Florida continue to surge.

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Vice President Mike Pence was in Tampa Thursday for a meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, where the pair discussed the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as the number of cases continued to skyrocket.

So you want to wear a face mask? Good call.

A growing body of evidence supports the idea that wearing face masks in public, even when you feel well, can help curb the spread of the coronavirus — since people can spread the virus even without showing symptoms. That's the main reason to wear a mask: to protect other people from you.

Annette Taddeo listening during a meeting
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Senate Democrats called out state Republican leaders Wednesday amid increasing cases of the coronavirus, including questioning Gov. Ron DeSantis for maintaining Florida is “not going back” on its reopening.

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

Florida set a new milestone in the number of positive coronavirus cases reported in a 24-hour period.

The Florida Department of Health reported Thursday that 10,109 people tested positive for the coronavirus in a 24-hour period, eclipsing the previous high of 9,585 reported on June 27.

DeSantis Downplays Beach Concern Ahead Of July Fourth

Jul 2, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he’s more concerned about people having parties indoors than going to the beach for July Fourth weekend.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Employers added a record 4.8 million jobs last month, as the U.S. economy continued to slowly bounce back from a deep and painful coronavirus recession. The unemployment rate dipped to 11.1%.

Job growth accelerated from May, when revised figures show employers added 2.7 million jobs.

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Mike Pence profile photo
whitehouse.gov

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Tampa on Thursday to discuss the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Alison Geissler pulled out of the driveway of her suburban home on the outskirts of Tampa, with tears streaming down her eyes. For six years, she drove the 30 miles from her home in the quiet community of Lithia to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Northwest Tampa, where she was a nurse in the cardiac intensive care unit. But this Saturday in late May it would be her final shift at the hospital.

Updated 8:15 p.m. ET

How severe is the spread of COVID-19 in your community? If you're confused, you're not alone. Though state and local dashboards provide lots of numbers, from case counts to deaths, it's often unclear how to interpret them — and hard to compare them to other places.

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

According to the Florida Department of Health's Wednesday report, 158,997 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state - an increase of 6,563 positive tests since Tuesday, and the eighth straight day the number of new cases surpassed 5,000.

Clearwater Beach
DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Pinellas County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday not to close beaches for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

illustration of herd immunity
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

As cases of the coronavirus surge across Florida, some suggest herd immunity could be a solution.    

It's the idea of fighting a disease by making a majority of the population immune, and it is often cited as the reason why vaccines are so effective in controlling deadly diseases like polio and the measles. 

screengrab of  Facebook Live video
WUSF Public Media / WMFE / Facebook

Florida’s rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases is derailing plans for some businesses to reopen.

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

St Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Facebook Live
City of St. Petersburg / Facebook

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is once again asking people to comply with the city’s mask ordinance.

During a Facebook Live video Tuesday, Kriseman said officials have visited more than a thousand businesses since last week and issued dozens of violations to businesses that have not required their employees to wear masks.

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

According to the Florida Department of Health's daily report, the Tampa Bay area recorded its highest daily increase in deaths Tuesday.

The state's report noted 58 deaths in the 24 hour reporting period, bringing the statewide total to 3,505.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, told members of Congress on Tuesday that although he can't predict the ultimate number of infections and deaths related to the coronavirus, "it's going to be very disturbing."

Mamie Brown is getting up earlier than ever these days.​

"A typical day for me starts about 4:30 to 5:00. I actually naturally wake up. I think part of that's my anxiety right now," she said. "And then when I do, very first thing in the morning is catch up on to-dos around the house and paperwork."

She's a self-employed lawyer in Fairbanks, Alaska, specializing in helping small businesses with things like contracts and HR issues. But now she and her husband are juggling work and their kids, ages 8 and 4.

Victoria Mejia
Zoom

On Florida Matters this week, we're taking a look at life behind the front lines - the front lines of the war on the coronavirus.

Many first responders - doctors, nurses and people just willing to lend a hand - have forsaken the relative comfort of their own hometowns and ventured into the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

The head of the World Health Organization is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up, and he criticized governments that have failed to establish reliable contact tracing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over."

"Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," he said.

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

Downtown high rise with view of street and bay.
Sarasota City Government

Citing concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the city of Sarasota is joining a growing list of Florida cities that require the wearing of face masks in public spaces.

The Sarasota City Commission approved the measure at a special meeting on Monday.

A growing number of leading Republicans are publicly embracing expert-recommended face masks as a means to slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus, in the wake of more than 125,000 Americans killed by the virus.

In recent months, the topic of wearing masks has become politically divisive, despite official health guidance that they are one of the best defenses to restricting the spread of the deadly respiratory disease, COVID-19, from one person to another.

The coronavirus keeps spreading around the United States. New hot spots are emerging and heating up by the day. The death toll keeps mounting. So how can the U.S. beat back the relentless onslaught of this deadly virus?

Public health experts agree on one powerful weapon that's gotten a lot of attention but apparently still needs a lot more: testing.

A new analysis that researchers at Harvard conducted for NPR finds that more states have begun to do enough testing to keep their outbreaks from getting worse, but most are still falling short.

construction workers wearing masks
istock

Requirements to wear face masks in Hillsborough County businesses and public spaces will continue for another week, but there are some adjustments.

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