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The Latest on the Coronavirus — March

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Latest on COVID-19 in March — Updated
3/26/2021:
     
President Biden Doubles his Goal for Immunizations — New
     Vaccine Efficacy and Effectiveness Not the Same — New
     More Breakthrough Cases are Expected
 — New
     Social Media and Removing Vaccine Misinformation — New
     You Can Test Negative for COVID-19 and Still Have It — New
     
Life-saving COVID-19 Treatments Are Sitting on Shelves New
     This Week's Statistics
           Florida COVID-19 DOH dashboard — Updated
           Florida's COVID-19 Action dashboard — Updated

3/19/2021:
     COVID-19 Booster Shots Seem Inevitable

    
COVID-19 Variants Are Here in the U.S.
     
Dr. Fauci Corrects Sen. Paul Again & Defends Mask Wearing
     Allergies May Make You More Susceptible to COVID-19
     Spring Breakers Could Trigger Another COVID-19 Surge
     Vaccinated People Booking Trips Again
     This Week's Statistics
           Florida COVID-19 DOH dashboard
           Florida's COVID-19 Action dashboard

3/12/2021:
     Fully-vaccinated People May Be Less Likely to Spread the Virus
    
Pfizer Vaccine Said to Block 94% of Asymptomatic Infections
     CDC's Guidelines for Fully-vaccinated People
     COVID Long Haulers Now Being Studied

     Russian Intelligence Services Spreading Vaccine Disinformation
     This Week's Statistics

           Florida COVID-19 DOH dashboard

           Florida's COVID-19 Action dashboard

3/5/2021:
    
Merck Helping Johnson & Johnson Manufacture Its COVID-19 Vaccine
     A Troubling Trend: Testing Is Down
     CDC Guidelines for Vaccinated People Expected

     What is Moderna Arm?
     Florida Ranks 44th in COVID-19 Safety
     This Week's Statistics

          Florida COVID-19 DOH dashboard

          Florida's COVID-19 Action dashboard


Friday, March
26th

  • President Joe Biden is running ahead of schedule on his goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots to his fellow Americans within his first 100 days in office. He met that goal just 58 days into his presidency. As the pace of coronavirus vaccinations increases, President Biden announced Thursday that he would double his goal to 200 million shots in arms by his 100th day in office. While the new target of 200 million doses is "ambitious," the United States is on pace to meet it. And here in Florida, more and more of our friends and neighbors have gotten at least one shot after months of frustration in trying to get an appointment.
     
  • Vaccine confusion, efficacy and effectiveness are not the same. We've heard that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine efficacy is 95%, Moderna's is 94% and Johnson & Johnson's is 66%. Each company was using different measurements for their trials (e.g., what constitutes a "case" or "severe disease"), so comparing efficacy side-by-side is tricky. None of them looked for asymptomatic COVID-19. Efficacy is just a measurement made during a clinical trial; effectiveness is how well the vaccine works out in the real world. All these efficacy numbers are protection from having symptoms, not protection from being infected. All three vaccines were 100% effective at preventing severe disease 6 weeks after the first dose (Moderna) or 7 weeks after the first dose (for Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (just one dose needed). Zero vaccinated people in any of the trials were hospitalized or died of COVID-19 after the vaccines had fully taken effect. If vaccinated people are spending time with unvaccinated people in places where the virus is running rampant, their chance of getting sick is still higher. "Being vaccinated doesn’t mean you are immune. It means you have a better chance of protection." Vaccines are still best paired with safeguards like masks and distancing—just as rain boots and umbrellas help keep you dry in the rain.
     
  • Those who've been vaccinated and get the virus are called breakthrough cases. They are rare, but expected, but those rare cases are not a reason to avoid getting the vaccine. The shots dramatically lower your chances of being infected. All three vaccines were developed against the original coronavirus variant, but with more transmissible and possibly more dangerous variants spreading across the country, there will be an increase in these cases. Three main variants were first discovered in the U.K., South Africa, and in travelers from Brazil. Even if you come down with a variant, the vaccine provides you with some measure of immunity. Moderna and Pfizer are already testing booster shots for the known variants.
     
  • Over the past year, Twitter removed more than 22,000 tweets in violation of its own policies to prevent misinformation about the coronavirus. But a coalition of 12 state attorneys general argue Twitter and Facebook need to be even more vigilant. The attorneys general say the companies have not cracked down hard enough on prominent anti-vaccine accounts that repeatedly violate the companies’ terms of service. They also say that falsehoods about the safety of vaccines from a small pool of individuals has reached over 59 million followers on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, citing data from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which studies online misinformation and disinformation.
     
  • You can test negative for COVID-19 and still have it. Receiving a negative COVID-19 test result today doesn’t mean you definitely don’t have the virus. It just means there wasn’t enough virus collected at the time to register as a positive. It’s possible that you had the virus for a few days, but so little had developed that it wasn’t detectible, you may have been tested too early after being exposed, you could have been exposed after being tested, or you got a false negative. Sometimes the sample isn’t collected properly. Sometimes there’s a problem with the device, and someone might be positive but not shedding the virus yet. A woman in Oklahoma tested negative three times before being diagnosed. Healthline says that if you have symptoms, assume you have the disease. If the collection success rate of a testing event is 65 percent, then there will be an additional 10 to 11 patients who are infected but who have a negative test (that's one third of those tested).
     
  • Life-saving treatments for COVID-19 are sitting on shelves, they're free, and haven't been used nearly enough in the months they've been available. The Biden administration is starting an advertising campaign to let doctors know they can order them for patients. Monoclonal antibodies are manmade versions of the antibodies that our bodies naturally make to fight invaders, like the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Three monoclonal antibody treatments have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Doctors are being urged to prescribe the treatments "much more frequently," and people testing positive should seek them out and asking their service provider about the treatments to keep them out of the hospital. Giving someone these treatments is not as simple as swallowing a pill. Since patients are infectious, those administering the treatment must wear full protective gear, and they must be given intravenously in a clinic or hospital. 
     
  • I am showing statistics from both dashboards/data portals: Florida's COVID-19 Dept. of Health (DOH) statistics and Florida's COVID-19 Community Action statistics (both developed by Rebekah Jones). (Click on images to enlarge them.)  The statistics between the two continues to be quite different.
    From Florida's Department of Health (DOH) stats below, the state is
    obviously doing minimal testing, and if not testing, the number of cases and the positivity rate is kept artificially low. I suspect the state has shifted its personnel and other resources into getting residents vaccinated, but renders some of the metrics it is counting and publishing meaningless.
     
    Per the Florida Department of Health's dashboard* as of Friday, March 26th, cumulatively the state has now had 1,995,548 residents testing positive for COVID-19; with 84,406 residents hospitalized; and 33,116 deaths;** just 2361 residents have been tested, with a 5.69% positivity rate. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:

    • Sumter County: 8,693 cases (8,593 residents, 100 non-residents); 546 resident and 1 non-resident hospitalizations; with 243 deaths; a mere 456 residents tested, with a 4.17% positivity rate.
        
    • Lake County: 26,354 cases (25,992 residents, 432 non-residents); 1,367 resident and 35 non-resident hospitalizations; with 600 deaths; 1,252 residents tested, with a 4.47% positivity rate.
        
    • Marion County: 28,831 cases (28,688 residents, 143 non-residents), 1,942 resident and 12 non-resident hospitalizations, with 914 deaths; 986 residents tested, with a 5.68% positivity rate.

    * The new data includes the number of test results the department receives from the counties, along with additional demographics and graphs that show hospital admissions for patients complaining of cough, fever or shortness of breath. Previously, that data was only provided for larger counties. Still not included is how many infected people have recovered from the virus and, unlike other states, Florida does not report "probable" deaths from the virus.
     

    *
    * The newest reported deaths are the latest logged into the DOH system, and that process could take as long as two weeks or longer before they show up.
     
     

    Per the Florida's Community Action dashboard as of Friday, March 26th, the state now has 2,253,510 residents testing positive for the first time (5,773 cases today, 33,980 cases this past week); with 2,890 residents currently hospitalized; 33,589 deaths since March 1st, 2020 (109 deaths today, 370 deaths this past week); 28,678 residents have been tested today, with a 16.406% positivity rate (DOH reported a 5.69% positivity rate — a whopping 10.716% difference), with 2,919,263 residents fully vaccinated. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:
    • Sumter County: 10,146 cases since March 1st (15 cases today, 227 this week), 20 current hospitalizations, and 244 deaths since March 1st, 2020 (0 deaths today, 1 this week), 181 residents have been tested today, with a 8.7% positivity rate (DOH reported a 4.17% positivity rate — just a 4.53% difference), with 46,138 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Lake County: 28,493 cases since March 1st, 2020 (56 cases today, 472 this week), 35 current hospitalizations, and 611 deaths (8 deaths today, 7 this week), 388 residents have been tested today, with a 14.4% positivity rate (DOH reported a 4.47% positivity rate — another huge 9.93% difference), with 63,901 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Marion County: 30,807 cases since March 1st, 2020 (55 cases today, 269 this week), 39 current hospitalizations, and 919 deaths (2 deaths today, 9 this week), only 419 residents have been tested today, with a 13.1% positivity rate (DOH reported a 5.68% positivity rate — just a 7.42% difference), with 52,371 being fully vaccinated.


Friday, March
19th

  • More and more researchers have come to the conclusion that vaccine booster shots are inevitable, that immunity will not last forever. The virus keeps changing so it becomes more transmissible and better able to evade human immunity. The question is how often. The CEO of Pfizer agrees. And in an interview with "Axios on HBO"," Albert Bourla is concerned that the price of booster shots may prevent some people from getting them, increasing the chance of mutations developing. Current vaccine costs to the U.S. government is $19.50 per dose. Once the vaccine is sold on the open market, as flu shots are now, the price could be different, so long-term affordability it critical. Pfizer is currently studying whether a third shot would protect people against variants. As of today, France joins Italy with new COVID-19 restrictions.
     
  • Since the pandemic began, its viral cause—SARS-CoV-2—has been mutating. These genetic changes appeared inconsequential at first, but recently some alterations have produced variants with the unsettling potential to make the new COVID vaccines less effective. The worrisome new variants change the behavior of the virus. One called B.1.1.7 was detected first in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and contains several mutations, including one that helps the virus transmit more easily and could also be more lethal than the original version. Another disturbing variant called B.1.351 was noticed first in South Africa. This one contains mutations that make it far more difficult for immune system antibodies to interfere with the coronavirus’ spike protein (the viral component that latches onto cells to start infection). Vaccine manufacturers Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson have already declared that their vaccines are less potent or useless against some variants and variant-specific booster shots will likely to required. They are already working on booster shots. That is why the CDC continues to urge everyone to wear masks, social distance, and avoid crowds.
     
  • Dr. Fauci corrects Rand Paul yet again and defends mask wearing, even after getting vaccinated. At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Paul pressed Fauci on health experts' continued recommendation of masks, even for those who've had the virus or have been vaccinated. Paul repeatedly suggested wearing masks by Dr. Fauci and in those cases was "theater." Fauci denied Paul's accusation and suggested the true theater was coming from Paul. "Here we go again with the theater. Let's get down to the facts." Not everyone agrees that those people have full immunity, and there isn't significant data on whether they can still spread it or that the variants now circulating around the country could override any immunity. Fauci went on to address the specific study Paul had cited. Fauci added that because we don't have a prevalence of one of the variants yet, one is becoming more dominant... the original U.K. [variant]... a very troublesome one in New York City... and we’ve got two variants in California... and a number of others.
     
  • A new peer-reviewed study says there is a connection between your sensitivity to pollen and your susceptibility to the coronavirus, but it's not that pollen is connected to the virus. It is that when you are having an allergy attack, your body is busy addressing that, which makes it less likely to notice that a virus is also hitting you. One other thing to be aware of: Some pollen allergies show up with symptoms that look something like COVID-19 symptoms. The good way to protect yourself against pollen is to... wait for it... wear a mask.
     
  • Spring breakers think they're healthy and too young to be at risk, and they want to travel and party. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warns Governor DeSantis that maskless spring break goers could trigger another nationwide COVID19 outbreak at about the same rate as we had in October, with still 50,000 cases per day, and Florida having the largest number of U.K. variant cases (690), also having two other embedded variants (South Africa & Brazil). She is trying to warn about complacency, a feeling that it’s over, and the resulting surge that can (likely) occur.
     
  • Travel agents say that vaccinated people are booking trips as soon as they got their vaccination appointments. Agents have seen a 25% increase in travel inquiries since the first round of vaccinations became available. Many clients aren't even waiting for the second round to book a trip. Vaccination doesn't make the hassles of traveling during a global pandemic disappear. "There's a whole layer of procedure and regulations that keep changing that people aren't used to. Many clients think they can spread their wings two weeks after their second shot, and agents had to rein their customers back to the realities of quarantine rules and border closures that still apply to vaccinated travelers. And with new surges in infections and deaths, countries like France and Italy are on or about to lockdown again. Note: The CDC has continued to encourage everyone to wear masks, continue social distancing, and avoid crowds, even if you've had the virus and/or are fully vaccinated.
      
  • I am showing statistics from both dashboards/data portals: Florida's COVID-19 Dept. of Health (DOH) statistics and Florida's COVID-19 Community Action statistics (both developed by Rebekah Jones). (Click on images to enlarge them.)  The statistics between the two continues to be quite different.
     
    Per the Florida Department of Health's (DOH) dashboard* as of Friday, March 19th, cumulatively the state has now had 1,999,257 residents testing positive for COVID-19; with 83,189 hospitalized; and 32,651 deaths;** 101,591 residents have been tested, with a 5.02% positivity rate. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:

    • Sumter County: 8,472 cases (8,378 residents, 94 non-residents); 534 resident and 1 non-resident hospitalizations; with 242 deaths; a mere 442 residents tested, with a 6.56% positivity rate.
        
    • Lake County: 25,895 cases (25,481 residents, 414 non-residents); 1,342 resident and 32 non-resident hospitalizations; with 593 deaths; 1,536 residents tested, with a 3.97% positivity rate.
        
    • Marion County: 28,564 cases (28,426 residents, 138 non-residents), 1,888 resident and 12 non-resident hospitalizations, with 904 deaths; 1,361 residents tested, with a 3.75% positivity rate.

    * The new data includes the number of test results the department receives from the counties, along with additional demographics and graphs that show hospital admissions for patients complaining of cough, fever or shortness of breath. Previously, that data was only provided for larger counties. Still not included is how many infected people have recovered from the virus and, unlike other states, Florida does not report "probable" deaths from the virus.
     

    *
    * The newest reported deaths are the latest logged into the DOH system, and that process could take as long as two weeks or longer before they show up.
     
     

    Per the Florida's Community Action dashboard as of Friday, March 19th, the state now has 2,209,060 residents testing positive (5,093 cases today, 33,177 cases this past week); with 33,219 deaths since March 1st, 2020 (99 deaths today, 580 deaths this past week); 30,460 residents have been tested today, with a 20.251% positivity rate (DOH reported a 5.02% positivity rate — a whopping 15.231% difference), with 2,553,865 residents fully vaccinated. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:
    • Sumter County: 9,663 cases since March 1st (20 cases today, 174 this week), 22 current hospitalizations, and 243 deaths since March 1st, 2020 (0 deaths today, 0 this week), 218 residents have been tested today, with a 9.2% positivity rate (DOH reported a 6.56% positivity rate — just a 2.64% difference), with 32,675 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Lake County: 28,567 cases since March 1st, 2020 (77 cases today, 455 this week), 38 current hospitalizations, and 604 deaths (2 deaths today, 9 this week), 456 residents have been tested today, with a 16.9% positivity rate (DOH reported a 3.97% positivity rate — another huge 12.93% difference), with 57,847 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Marion County: 30,237 cases since March 1st, 2020 (28 cases today, 278 this week), 41 current hospitalizations, and 908 deaths (2 deaths today, 20 this week), only 293 residents have been tested today, with a 9.6% positivity rate (DOH reported a 3.75% positivity rate — just a 5.85% difference), with 44,269 being fully vaccinated.


Friday, March
12th

  • With more data available, a growing body of evidence suggests fully-vaccinated people are less likely to be asymptomatic carriers and less likely to spread the virus to others. Mask wearing and social distancing should still be followed as vaccinations are rolled out since fully-vaccinated people can still catch the virus and spread it to others. Let's hope thac patient who lateon to develop symptoms. Pfizer’s vaccine was the only available shot in Israel and when the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant from the U.K. was the dominant strain. At least 50% of transmission is estimated to come from people without symptoms, according to a study in JAMA published in January.
     
  • CDC's Guidelines for Vaccinated People is now available. Federal health officials released guidance on Monday that gives fully-vaccinated Americans more freedom to socialize and engage in routine daily activities. If you have gotten both your shots, two weeks after you've gotten your 2nd shot, you can visit indoors with unvaccinated members of a single household (with no one in the "high risk" category) without wearing a mask or social distancing, so you can visit your grandchildren. If visiting where there are unvaccinated people from multiple households, it's best to move the party outside, wear masks, and social distance. Long-distance travel is still discouraged. Fully-vaccinated people can also gather indoors with other fully-vaccinated people. But with over 90% of the population still not vaccinated, even if you've had both your shots, you might still get a "breakthrough infection." If you experience symptoms, get tested and self-quarantine for 14 days as though you aren't vaccinated. The key is still to limit exposure to unvaccinated people. The CDC also pointed out the things that haven't changed.
     
  • Dr. Fauci announced that the U.S. government is launching a nationwide initiative to study COVID-19 patients who suffer from residual symptoms months after recovery, commonly known as "COVID long-haulers." He also revealed a scientific name for the new syndrome — Post Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC) — further legitimizing the suffering population. (There are) a lot of important questions that are now unanswered that we hope with this series of initiatives we will ultimately answer," Fauci said. So, hopefully, their symptoms will no longer be dismissed or minimized. The announcement comes after a study in JAMA Network Open found about 30% of COVID-19 patients reported persistent symptoms as long as 9 months after illness.
     
  • According to the U.S. State Department, Russian intelligence services have used online publications to spread disinformation that undermines public confidence in Western COVID-19 vaccines. The Wall Street Journal reported that four online platforms have served as fronts for Russian intelligence groups, which can be amplified by other Russian and international media. Many of the claims resemble ones already debunked in the past. It’s unclear why, but one theory is that the Russian government sees these vaccines as a threat to its own Sputnik V vaccine. 
     
  • I am showing statistics from both dashboards/data portals: Florida's COVID-19 Dept. of Health (DOH) statistics and Florida's COVID-19 Community Action statistics (both developed by Rebekah Jones). (Click on images to enlarge them.)  The statistics between the two continues to be quite different.
     
    Per the Florida Department of Health's (DOH) dashboard* as of Friday, March 12th, cumulatively the state has now had 1,931,613 residents testing positive for COVID-19; with 82,006 hospitalized; and 32,145 deaths;** 105,325 residents have been tested, with a 4.88% positivity rate. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:

    • Sumter County: 8,297 cases (8,204 residents, 93 non-residents); 518 resident and 1 non-resident hospitalizations; with 242 deaths; a mere 326 residents tested, with a 8.59% positivity rate.
        
    • Lake County: 25,444 cases (25,054 residents, 390 non-residents); 1,312 resident and 32 non-resident hospitalizations; with 585 deaths; 1,448 residents tested, with a 4.49% positivity rate.
        
    • Marion County: 28,301 cases (28,172 residents, 129 non-residents), 1,836 resident and 10 non-resident hospitalizations, with 887 deaths; 1,224 residents tested, with a 4.82% positivity rate.

    * The new data includes the number of test results the department receives from the counties, along with additional demographics and graphs that show hospital admissions for patients complaining of cough, fever or shortness of breath. Previously, that data was only provided for larger counties. Still not included is how many infected people have recovered from the virus and, unlike other states, Florida does not report "probable" deaths from the virus.
     

    *
    * The newest reported deaths are the latest logged into the DOH system, and that process could take as long as two weeks or longer before they show up.
     
     

    Per the Florida's Community Action dashboard as of Friday, March 12th, the state now has 2,182,808 residents testing positive (5,214 cases today, 33,155 cases this past week); with 32,744 deaths since March 1st, 2020 (105 deaths today, 651 deaths this past week); 29,901 residents have been tested today, with a 18.359% positivity rate (DOH reported a 5.12% positivity rate — big difference!), with 2,203,788 residents fully vaccinated. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:
     
    • Sumter County: 9,518 cases since March 1st (28 cases today, 151 this week), 42 current hospitalizations, and 243 deaths since March 1st, 2020 (0 deaths today, 0 this week), 130 residents have been tested today, with a 21.5% positivity rate (DOH reported a 8.59% positivity rate — not even close!), with 26,471 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Lake County: 28,180 cases since March 1st, 2020 (66 cases today, 440 this week), 56 current hospitalizations, and 596 deaths (1 death today, 8 this week), 429 residents have been tested today, with a 15.4% positivity rate (DOH reported a 4.49% positivity rate), with 52,124 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Marion County: 30,025 cases since March 1st, 2020 (63 cases today, 336 this week), 50 current hospitalizations, and 893 deaths (5 deaths today, 43 this week), 448 residents have been tested today, with a 14.1% positivity rate (DOH reported a 4.82% positivity rate), with 38,878 being fully vaccinated.


Friday, March 5
th

  • The White House announced Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help manufacture Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, calling it "an unprecedented historic step" considering the two companies are normally competitors. The U.S. government will facilitate this partnership by invoking the Defense Production Act to equip two Merck facilities to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the vaccine and asking the Department of Defense to provide daily logistical support. Johnson & Johnson says it will be able to deliver about 3.9 million doses right away and more than 20 million by the end of March. Merck had been developing its own COVID-19 vaccine, but on January 25th it announced that it was discontinuing the effort following disappointing phase 1 clinical trial results.
     
  • While vaccination rates climb, public health experts have spotted a troubling trend in the opposite direction: testing is down. People think that because we have vaccines now, testing isn’t important. But that’s not true. Many experts deeply concerned because it comes just as America’s recent decrease in infections and deaths is stalling at a worrisome high level. Testing is a key tool to stopping coronavirus transmission. Without it, the virus has the potential to spread unchecked, and until more people receive their shots, testing remains one of the country’s main tools for stopping the chain of transmission. At the same time, more-transmissible variants of the virus are spreading as officials are repealing restrictions, making a spring resurgence of the virus possible.
     
  • It was expected that the CDC would hand down guidelines for vaccinated people this weekend. Insiders say they will likely tell people who have been vaccinated that they can safely gather with other fully-vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. It is also likely that they will tell vaccinated grandparents that they can safely hug their grandkids, but don’t expect a wholesale green light. They will also likely tell even vaccinated people to keep wearing masks while out in public, to not gather in big groups, and to social distance. Meanwhile, Americans are desperate for permission to reconnect with their loved ones.
  • Some people, maybe even a lot of people, are reporting a mild itchy rash a week or two after they get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. It is a harmless if annoying side effect. This week, new data says the second shot will not create a worse rash. USA Today was the first place I saw any mention of this and updated their reporting: "We're encouraging people who've had this reaction to go in and get their second shot," said Dr. Kim Blumenthal, an allergist, epidemiologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. There was concern that the second dose might be worse. However, they've followed enough cases to know that it's not happening... so get your second shot. The rash has not shown up for the recipients of the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

  • Health officials continue to criticize Texas and Mississippi’s moves to rescind mask mandates and let businesses operate at full capacity. Many businesses were quick to remove their "masks required" signs, but some of the country's biggest retailers like Target, Starbucks, CVS and others said they would continue to mandate masks in their Texas stores to protect their front-line workers and customers. The CDC still recommends that people wear masks in any public setting, and while wearing a mask, you should still keep physical distance from others as much as possible.
     
  • On the day when Florida fared poorly in a study on COVID-19-related safety done by WalletHub, 21 more local residents lost their battle with the deadly illness and a classroom of COVID-19-exposed students at The Villages Charter School were sent home to quarantine. The study by released Thursday showed that Florida ranked 44th out of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. when it comes to staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety is also essential for getting the economy back on track. Five key metrics were used: rates of COVID-19 transmission, positive testing, hospitalizations, death, and the share of the eligible population getting vaccinated. Texas is ranked 45th, Mississippi is 40th.
     
  • I am showing statistics from both dashboards/data portals: Florida's COVID-19 Dept. of Health (DOH) statistics and Florida's COVID-19 Community Action statistics (both developed by Rebekah Jones). (Click on images to enlarge them.)  The statistics between the two continues to be quite different.
     
    Per the Florida Department of Health's (DOH) dashboard* as of Friday, March 5th, cumulatively the state has now had 1,936,207 residents testing positive for COVID-19; with 80,632 hospitalized; and 31,522 deaths;** 116,064 residents have been tested, with a 5.12% positivity rate. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:
     
    • Sumter County: 8,147 cases (8,059 residents, 88 non-residents); 510 resident and 1 non-resident hospitalizations; with 243 deaths; a mere 340 residents tested, with a 6.12% positivity rate.
        
    • Lake County: 25,010 cases (24,636 residents, 374 non-residents); 1,285 resident and 27 non-resident hospitalizations; with 577 deaths; 1,625 residents tested, with a 5.17% positivity rate.
        
    • Marion County: 27,957 cases (27,883 residents, 124 non-residents), 1,776 resident and 9 non-resident hospitalizations, with 844 deaths; 1,525 residents tested, with a 5.25% positivity rate.

    * The new data includes the number of test results the department receives from the counties, along with additional demographics and graphs that show hospital admissions for patients complaining of cough, fever or shortness of breath. Previously, that data was only provided for larger counties. Still not included is how many infected people have recovered from the virus and, unlike other states, Florida does not report "probable" deaths from the virus.
     

    *
    * The newest reported deaths are the latest logged into the DOH system, and that process could take as long as two weeks or longer before they show up.
     
     

    Per the Florida's Community Action dashboard as of Friday, March 5th, the state now has 2,140,927 residents testing positive (5,975 cases today, 38,083 cases this past week); with 3,605 requiring hospitalization; and 32,093 deaths (138 deaths today, 931 deaths this past week); 32,885 residents have been tested today, with a 15.406% positivity rate (DOH reported a 5.12% positivity rate — big difference!). Today, 67,929 residents have been vaccinated today, with 1,852,466 being fully vaccinated. The breakdown of confirmed cases in our tri-county area is:
     
    • Sumter County: 9,265 cases since March 1st (22 cases today, 182 this week), 68 current hospitalizations, and 243 deaths (0 deaths today, 5 this week), a mere 139 residents have been tested today, with a 15.8% positivity rate (DOH reported a 6.12% positivity rate — not even close!). Today, only 340 residents were vaccinated, with 20,614 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Lake County: 27,553 cases since March 1st (82 cases today, 571 this week), 77 current hospitalizations, and 588 deaths (3 deaths today, 23 this week), 507 residents have been tested today, with a 16.2% positivity rate (DOH reported a 5.17% positivity rate). Today, only 757 residents were vaccinated, with 44,378 being fully vaccinated.
        
    • Marion County: 29,561 cases since March 1st (78 cases today, 474 this week), 59 current hospitalizations, and 850 deaths (18 deaths today, 64 this week), 475 residents have been tested today, with a 16.4% positivity rate (DOH reported a 5.25% positivity rate). Today, 2,084 residents were vaccinated, with 32,323 being fully vaccinated.


See what had been learned about the virus in
February.


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