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COVID 19

COVID-19 case study: Florida

Florida’s COVID-19 case load began to increase after 01 May and has exploded the first week in June. Since 01 May (a Friday) the state has trended upward in number of cases each week. The June 3-4-5 data represent a change in pattern: there has only been one instance of back-to-back “highs” in case reports.

It’s 05 June, day 137 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. Florida’s case load began to increase after 01 May. The state began “re-opening” on 04 May.

Contrary to a headline and assertion from Newsweek, the largest per-day report for the state of Florida was 1,575 on 03 April. Here we are with 1,419 on 04 June, two months later. The fact that these numbers are so close, after two months, is the story of poorly contained community spread.

The sharp increase in (average) daily cases this past week (incomplete without Saturday’s data) reflects infections which occurred around the Memorial Day weekend (based on a 7-14 day incubation to symptom cycle).

In addition, many patients worsen after day 5-10 after symptoms appear, suggesting they might be more likely to seek medical treatment. That might push these dates-of-actual infection into the “flat zone” of the early May.

The pattern of peaks in reported cases in Florida (Thursday and Friday) suggests there is an external factor in play, which could be related to number of test centers being open, the hours that test centers are open, or lags in summaries and reports to the state. The Miami Herald:

Florida reports new COVID-19 cases based on the date when the health department receives test results. But how many results the department receives each day — from state labs and private ones — varies because some labs report within one to two days of processing a test while others can take a week or longer to deliver an answer…

[Mary Jo Trepka an infectious disease epidemiologist with Florida International University’s Stempel College of Public Health] said fluctuations in reporting test results, and the fact that the health department reports cases based on the date it receives test results as opposed to the date of symptom onset, make it difficult for epidemiologists to measure the effect of policy changes, such as Friday’s Phase 2 reopening of bars and movie theaters outside of South Florida.

Nevertheless, since 01 May (a Friday) the state has trended upward in number of cases each week. And June 3-4-5 data represent a change in pattern: there has only been one instance of back-to-back “highs” in case reports. That was April 3-4, early in the virus outbreak.

You can see a similar pattern in reported deaths.

Note that the Florida Keys re-opened on Monday 01 June. Since 22 March, the Keys have been closed to nonresidents who don’t work or own property in the county.

Palm Beach County is planning to allow some summer camps to use school facilities.

The most cases are in the most populous counties:

From 05 June issue of COVID-19 Memo from a News Hound

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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