Florida Sets US Record For Daily COVID-19 Cases
According to the Florida Department of Health on Sunday, the state broke the United States’ daily record for new COVID-19 (Coronavirus, 2019) cases. Accounting for a sizeable portion of the 66,281 cases reported throughout the country.
As a whole, Florida has 269,811 reported COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Even more alarming is the 19.60% rate of test positivity (test positivity) rate according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.
The research center details the significance of such a high test positivity rate below:
If a positivity rate is too high, that may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention, and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities. A low rate of positivity in testing data can be seen as a sign that a state has sufficient testing capacity for the size of their outbreak and is testing enough of its population to make informed decisions about reopening.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended rate is 5% to indicate proper testing and to show governments are currently administering appropriate pandemic responses at this point during the quarantine process.
The John Hopkins data comes from The COVID Tracking Project. While states are not consistent in how they release or update data, the resource is one of the most comprehensive data projects regarding the spread of COVID-19 within the United States. The research center provides the following instruction for states to help better track COVID.
When states report the number of COVID-19 tests performed, this should include the number of viral tests performed and the number of patients for which these tests were performed. Currently, states may not be distinguishing overall tests administered from the number of individuals who have been tested. This is an important limitation to the data that is available to track testing in the U.S., and states should work to address it.
Earlier in the week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the formation of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) which is tasked with evaluating the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Panel will be co-chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Prime Minister Clark would go on to lead the United Nations Development Programme, while President Sirleaf is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. “Prime Minister Clark and President Sirleaf were selected through a process of broad consultation with the Member States and world experts. I cannot imagine two more strong-minded, independent leaders to help guide us through this critical learning process,” Dr. Tedros said during his announcement address.
“The magnitude of this pandemic, which has touched virtually everyone in the world, clearly deserves a commensurate evaluation,” he continued. The Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme will continue its work as the IPPR launches.
“Even as we fight this pandemic, we must be readying ourselves for future global outbreaks and the many other challenges of our time such as antimicrobial resistance, inequality, and the climate crisis,” said Dr. Tedros. “COVID-19 has taken so much from us. But it is also giving us an opportunity to break with the past and build back better.”
Dr. Tedros would expound on the other challenges facing the world as the pandemic continues.
Hundreds of millions of children are at risk of missing out on routine vaccines for tuberculosis, pneumonia, measles, polio, cholera, diarrhea, and others. Many countries are running low on HIV medicines.
Refugees are among the most vulnerable to the pandemic, already facing limited access to adequate shelter, water, nutrition, sanitation, and health services. COVID-19 could push them over the brink.
And around the world, in countries rich and poor, many more people are now going hungry, we can see poverty visibly now, with estimates from the World Food Programme that global hunger could increase to more than 270 million people. These are not numbers: these are people.
Despite the work of WHO and other nation-specific health organizations, numerous individuals within the United States refuse to heed warnings from epidemiologists and ignore social distancing and mask recommendations.