The third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic is reaching Florida, but there is some hope

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Here’s the third wave.

In Florida, the coronavirus is in an uncontrolled, persistently widespread community and is rapidly approaching one million laboratory confirmed cases and 20,000 deaths.

This grim picture, painted by the White House’s coronavirus task force in its latest weekly report calling for “aggressive action” to curb the latest peak of the pandemic, is revealed in a report by News 6 partner Florida Today.

“Florida is in the midst of a virus rebirth and is now able to curb this wave with aggressive action. The number of counties in the red zone has doubled in the past week, and this also affects the increase in the number of long-term care institutions (LTCFs) with positive staff. ”Reads the White House report of 15 November.

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While Florida performs slightly better than the national average, it has the 37th highest rate of new cases nationwide. Only Hawaii is in the right direction.

Brevard reported an average of more than 100 new cases and more deaths a day over the past two weeks, making a total of 14,000 cases on Thursday, and the number of deaths in the county rose to 418. Across the country, the number of cases is 914,333 and the number of deaths is 18,030.

“Nowadays, an aggressive, relentless, expanding broad community is spreading across the country, reaching most counties, with no evidence of improvement, but rather further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and need to be increased to smooth the curve to maintain the health care system in both COVID and non-COVID emergencies. ”Reads in the working group’s recommendation to the Sunny State.

The report also recommended proactive and targeted testing, full influenza vaccination, mask wear, social distancing, and aggressive contact tracking.

Meanwhile, the late-day announcement by the Department of Health and the redeployment of staff have raised concerns about the transparency and expectations that Governor Ron DeSantis ’leadership is expected to take in the new critical phase of the pandemic.

[WATCH: Florida nears 1 million coronavirus cases]

“We still face challenges in not having access to Department of Health public data for analysis, so there was no broad basis for cooperative (COVID-19) research (in Florida),” says Jay Wolfson of the University of South Florida School of Medicine’s leading health dean.

Wolfson has been lobbying for months on behalf of Florida public and private medical schools to access tight coronavirus data collected from state hospitals, clinics, and laboratories.

The urgency of the growing crisis cannot be clearer. “The water is hot,” Wolfson said.

The shock to DOH’s key staff, such as the departure of spokesman Alberto Moscoso this month, and the incorporation of conspiracy theory by Kyle Lamb, a college college blogger in Ohio, into a COVID-19 data analyst has become a COVID-19 data analyst.

“For the reasons that I still don’t understand the best and the brightest, they don’t necessarily keep it, but those who follow the line of the party,” Wolfson said.

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Rebekah Jones, a former DOH data controller who was fired in May after refusing to remedy public data, likened the shocks to “cleansing”.

An email sent to Moscow’s interim deputy, Jason Mahon, responded ex officio on Friday.

The media lines of DOH and Emergency Management in Tallahassee did not respond immediately to requests for comments.

In his remarks to the Orlando Sentinel, DeSantis spokesman Fred Piccolo, who explained Moscoso’s departure, said: “It’s a tough concert. DOH … I just think he did his part and wants to go home at 5 and hang up his phone.

After a week of silence during which the governor met with officials in Washington, DeSantis issued a video message Thursday that apparently tried to reassure the public.

“This month brought promising news about therapies and vaccinations against COVID-19, and the state of Florida was working to get new treatments for our hospitals and made plans to distribute a safe and effective vaccine that we believe will be delivered relatively soon,” he said.

The governor said the federal government promised 3,000 doses this week to send coronavirus therapy, recently developed by Eli Lilly and recently approved by the FDA for emergency use, to Florida hospitals. “And they plan to send a similar amount every week for the foreseeable future,” he said.

In Brevard, local hospital systems benefit.

Parrish Health Medical Center receives weekly benefits, said Natalie Sellers, Sr., vice president of communications, community and corporate services.

“The weekly allocation is variable. The therapy will be used in accordance with the CDC’s strict guidelines for use. “- He told.

Health First Clinical Director Dr. Jeffrey Stalnaker said in a statement, “We have received a limited amount of bamlanivimab and will begin dosing on Monday.”

Steward did not answer FLORIDA’s questions immediately today.

[DASHBOARD: Florida Department of Health tracks coronavirus cases]

DeSantis said DOH also bought 5 million needles, syringes and alcohol wipes expected to launch a vaccine, which it says could begin in three to six weeks.

“These breakthroughs are the biggest rays of hope we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic, offering the prospect of saving thousands and thousands of lives and resolving this epidemic by the end,” DeSantis said, stressing that vaccinations will not be needed by Floridians.

Results in the treatment of COVID-19, such as monoclonal antibody cocktails developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron, experts say have successfully reduced viral mortality, but effective vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer are unlikely to be available to the general public by 2021. because the introduction of the vaccine is likely to put health workers and the most vulnerable first.

– I managed to treat people very well and treat people. But as the number of cases increases, and as the number of hospitalizations increases, so will the number of deaths, ”Wolfson said.

Florida should not lower the guard.

[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]

“I believe that over the next six to eight weeks we will see a significant increase in cases towards the end of the year, especially when the flu season comes in and as a result health is put at risk, making people even more susceptible to other viruses,” warns USF Wolfson. ”“ I hope we’re lucky.

“The trick will be to know that this is happening so that we can do enough testing in our community to identify these hotspots. In order to secure these areas and reduce spread. And it’s very difficult, especially on university campuses and in urban areas that people visit because because restaurants and bars are open, you really can’t control what happens, ”Wolfson said.

Despite a better chance of survival, the long-term effects of COVID-19 infections, even among young people, are becoming known, and that’s not pretty. Research, the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain appear to be involved in many cases, even among those who have suffered only mild forms of the disease.

– Even if you are asymptomatic, the nature of this virus is that it attaches to an organ and sits there and some people will have an outbreak sometime in the future, we are already seeing some cases and they will have a new disease, it will be a chronic disease that it can affect them for the rest of their lives. So, that’s the reality, Wolfson said.

As a result, a “zombie nation” could remain, he added.

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With the arrival of seasonal flu and snowbirds in Florida, the messages from local health officials remain the same: shoot the flu shot, if you haven’t already, take precautions and wear a mask.

“We strongly encourage anyone 6 months or older to shoot their flu as soon as possible. Influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially serious complications. ”Wrote Anita Stremmel, DOH-Brevard’s deputy director, in an email to FLORIDA today. Children 6 months to 18 years of age can get a free flu shot from the DOH Brevard clinics in Melbourne, Viera and Titusville, Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. Uninsured or underinsured adults are also eligible for free vaccinations at DOH walking clinics.

“We also stress that there is still a need for precautions that also alleviate the transmission of influenza and COVID-19 – wash your hands often, avoid contact with your eyes, nose and mouth, cover your cough and sneeze, clean and disinfect frequently affected surfaces and monitor your health. Don’t go to work or school if you’re sick, ”Stremmel wrote.

“Facials are still vital in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” he added.

The CDC has recommended this Thanksgiving day against holiday trips or holidays with people outside your own household. The White House report explicitly warns that students should be careful not to bring the virus into their homes.

[WATCH: CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel]

“Encourage (colleges and universities) to test the range of their students before leaving university for the Thanksgiving break to alleviate exposure to family and community.”

As schools, restaurants, and bars opened at full capacity, and the wearing of masks was controversial among the entire population, many local leaders in the state applied to the governor for a mask mandate. But such a mandate is unlikely to be enforceable, and opponents of a mandate such as South Brevard State Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) said people’s personal responsibility should be invoked instead.

“I wear a mask because that’s the right thing to do,” Fine said several times.

In particular, the governor’s five-and-a-half-minute message lacked the public health council most used by the Public Health Centers and the Department of Health: a reminder to wear a mask.

The inconsistent messaging of wearing masks was considered one of the most significant failures in the country during the pandemic.

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Wolfson says it is not the opening of bars and restaurants or the lack of a mask order that is a problem.

– People go to them. They are lazy, reckless, and endanger the rest of the population. Because he doesn’t care if it’s given to someone. And they don’t think it will be such a problem if they get it. “

The fault, he said, is leadership.

“People are irresponsible and reckless and don’t take a drop because the leadership encouraged them to rebel against the system in any way (telling them to wear a mask) is not really science, it’s just a political stunt. Well, this is not, and this is a lie, but the perpetration of a lie by management and the creation of political principles based on this lie.

“We are in this together. This is a team sport. We are all on the same team and Covid is on the other side.

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