TreasureCoast Covid-19 Update April 6, 2020
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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida now tops 12-thousand. The Department of Health says 221 people have died.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is responding to a warning by the U.S. Surgeon General that this will be a deadly week in the fight against COVID-19.
In a Twitter video, Rubio said the country needs to do more now to prepare for the potential of a second wave of the coronavirus this fall.
Floridians are split on the performances of President Trump and Governor DeSantis during this pandemic. A survey by the University of North Florida found less than half of voters support Trump’s handling of the outbreak and disapprove by 53-to-45-percent. For the governor, 51-percent of Floridians approve and 46-percent disapprove.
If you get a phone call offering to help speed up your COVID-19 impact payment from the government, hang up!
The effects of COVID-19 continue to lower prices at the pump. Triple-A reports that Florida gas prices dropped another 7 cents last week, contributing to a massive 50 cent drop in the past 40 days. The state average sits at a 4-year low.
The CDC recommends people stay about 6 feet apart to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.
So, how far is that?
Well, as Leon County, Florida, put it, about the length of an alligator.
The county released this visual aid for residents and noted it should be a large alligator. The distance is to avoid the spread of respiratory droplets from infected people to healthy ones.
Other ways to remember the minimum length for social distancing include:
The size of a sedan
Two golden retrievers
Leon County’s post on “alligator distancing” has been shared more than 4,000 times since it was posted Thursday on Facebook.
Churches on Sunday made adjustments to their services to allow members to worship safely. Pastor Ned Childress with Allen Chapel AME Church in Fort Pierce led his congregation in an outside worship service.
The church remains closed, but Childress said his members can still safely worship in their cars. People cracked their windows, some wearing masks while listening to Childress preach outside under a tent. Preaching to a “drive-thru” congregation was a first for Childress. He’s glad to see people are still sticking to their Sunday worship routines. Church members were glad they were still able to attend the Sunday service. Childress plans to continue his outside services as long as possible, bracing for what he anticipates will be a full parking lot on Easter Sunday.
There is a need in the farming community due to restaurants not buying as much produce lately, so connections are being made between suppliers and local buyers. On Sunday at the Martin County Fairgrounds, the Stuart Green Market which usually hosts local and small businesses in downtown Stuart, had to have another plan. So people picked up produce from their cars. People were able to get everything from bakery items, eggs, meats, and other locally produced foods. Last week they had over 500 vehicles drive through and they plan on hosting the event again the weekend after Easter.
The now fired captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has tested positive for COVID-19, the New York Times reported on Sunday. The New York Times cited two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family.
Captain Brett Crozier called attention to the plight on board of ship earlier in the week amid a massive spread of COVID-19 among sailors, which turned into a public spat between Naval leaders and Crozier. Crozier leaked a memo to a newspaper, which brought attention on the ship, which is docked in Guam.
The spat resulted in Crozier’s dismissal as the ship’s captain. On Friday, Crozier left the ship with hundreds of sailors chanting “Captain Crozier,” as seen in a number of videos that have since gone viral.
The New York Times reported that Crozier began exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms on Thursday. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed to CNN on Sunday that there have been 155 cases of COVID-19 on board the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. Crozier’s firing drew the support of President Donald Trump. The Navy claimed Crozier not following the proper chain of command as justification for his firing.
Americans are bracing for what the nation’s top doctor warned would be “the hardest and saddest week” of their lives. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told “Fox News Sunday” that deaths from the coronavirus would make this moment reminiscent of Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11. New York City saw a glimmer of hope, with daily deaths and ICU admissions falling slightly.
Meanwhile, Britain assumed the unwelcome mantle of deadliest hotspot in Europe after a record 24-hour jump in deaths that surpassed even hard-hit Italy. As warm, sunny weather beckoned across Europe, Queen Elizabeth II appealed to Britons to exercise self-discipline in “an increasingly challenging time.” Britain recorded 708 new coronavirus deaths Saturday while Italy reported 631 deaths that day.
Home testing for the new coronavirus may sound like a good idea, but U.S. regulators say it’s still too risky. They’ve stopped companies that quickly launched home-testing kits until they can show their products can accurately detect the virus.
For now, the only way Americans can get tested is at hospitals, clinics or drive-thru sites, with a doctor’s order.
After a botched rollout, testing in the U.S. has ramped up thanks to high-volume testing machines and new rapid tests. Last week, federal officials said total tests topped 1.4 million, and labs are processing nearly 100,000 tests daily. That’s the threshold many experts say is needed to track the virus.
Still, testing continues to be constrained by shortages of medical supplies like gloves, masks and swabs. And the widespread drive-thru testing proposed for parking lots at chains like Walmart, Walgreens and Target has barely gotten off the ground.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is aggressively pushing new options onto the market.
Genetic tests are the gold standard for detecting COVID-19 infections. New, quicker ones are replacing the original laboratory tests that have to be manually mixed and developed.
The idea behind both tests is the same: chemical solutions are used to isolate the virus from the patient sample, grab its genetic material and then reproduce it millions of times until it’s detectable with a computer.
New rapid tests such as the one by Abbott Laboratories automate the process, cutting the time from four to six hours to about 15 minutes.
The cartridges from Abbott and other companies run on small, portable electronic machines found in thousands of U.S. hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. That’s expected to increase testing beyond large universities, government and commercial labs. Abbott said it plans to begin shipping 50,000 tests per day this month. U.S. officials said they’d go first to remote areas with less access to labs.
For now, only a health care professional can order a coronavirus test. Under current guidelines, priority is given to people with COVID-19 symptoms who fall into several high-risk groups, including hospitalized patients, health care workers and the elderly.
Simpler, cheaper blood tests could also have a role in tracking the virus – and possibly expanding testing to the home.
The FDA is permitting companies to launch certain types of finger-prick tests that can detect whether people may have recently been infected.
Instead of detecting the virus itself, these tests detect proteins called antibodies that the immune system generates to fight COVID-19.
Public health experts hope that mass screening with antibody tests could eventually help track how the virus spreads and who might have built up immunity.
In a rare address to the nation, Queen Elizabeth II asked Britons to rise to the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic. The 93-year-old monarch is expected to acknowledge the suffering that many families have experienced because of the COVID-19 crisis, which has infected over 42,000 citizens and killed at least 4,313 of them.
Experts and health officials who are trying to plan a response to the coronavirus outbreak are missing a critical piece of information – the number of health care workers who have tested positive for the disease. Washington state faced the first major outbreak of COVID-19 in the nation, but health officials have not kept track of how many doctors and nurses have the disease. New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, also lacks infection figures for medical staff. Experts who create models for how the coronavirus will affect the country’s health care system say they want the data to better determine how severely hospitals will be hit.
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