California and Florida are both rolling back the opening of their economies as they struggle with COVID-19. But public health experts say the two states are not the same.
California is rolling back the reopening of its economy, closing bars state-wide following an increase in COVID-19 cases. The state's positive test rate has hit a two-week average of 7.4%. The move comes weeks after Florida did the same. But the states are not doing equally as bad. Florida's positive test rate has been in the double digits for weeks, while California hasn't cleared 10% since April. "Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic," Dr. Lilian Abbo, chief of infection prevention at Jackson Health System, told the Associated Press. "What we were seeing in Wuhan (China) six months ago. Now, we are there." "I think what has happened is that some states have been content to flatten the curve as opposed to really bend the curve, as opposed to really bend the curve and drive it down to zero," Dr. Thomas Tsai, of Harvard University, told Business Insider. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
California and Florida were both early COVID-19 success stories, with wildly different approaches: the former shut everything down early, and managed to escape the fate of New York, while the latter opened back up — bars, gyms, indoor dining — weeks before most other states. Neither is in a particularly good place today. California reported more than 8,300 new coronavirus cases on July 13, up from just over 3,200 a month before. That's not just because it's conducting more tests, either; the rate of positives is climbing too, hitting 7.4% on Sunday, up from a 14-day average of 5.6% two weeks before. On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, reversed course: instead of a phased reopening, he announced that he was closing bars, indoor restaurants, and movie theaters back down. "This virus is not going away anytime soon," he said. It's about time, John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Berkeley, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm all for what he's suggested," Swartzberg told the paper. "And I'm sorry it wasn't done two weeks ago." California, in fact, is acting weeks after Florida, the former role model for opening it all up. Bars in both states reopened in early June, but Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, prohibited the consumption of alcohol at bars in his state on June 26. But while neither is in a great place, one is doing far worse. "Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic," Dr. Lilian Abbo, chief of infection prevention at Jackson Health System, told the Associated Press. "What we were seeing in Wuhan (China) six months ago. Now, we are there." One of Abbo's colleagues told Business Insider that it was DeSantis' early decision to return to business as usual — opening up indoor dining in May, for example — that precipitated the current surge, which saw more than 15,300 Floridians diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday, a new record for any state. "When everything started to open up and ease up, then our volume picked up," Dr. Mark Supino, an emergency medicine physician at Jackson Health System, said in an interview. Dr. Thomas Tsai, a public health expert at Harvard University, says Florida, unlike California, began reopening without really seeing a decline in infection. Both are struggling, he told Business Insider, but Florida is reporting far more cases than California with just over half the population — not because it's conducting so many more tests, but because so many more people are testing positive. Over the past two weeks, Florida's positive rate has never fallen below 11.25% and, on July 8, it surged past 18%. California, by contrast, hasn't hit double digits since April. "California has been able to keep the lid on the pot and keep things from boiling over," Tsai said. But, he added, "It really hasn't had the opportunity to turn the temperature down." "In Florida, it's the opposite," Tsai commented. "I think what has happened is that some states have been content to flatten the curve as opposed to really bend the curve, as opposed to really bend the curve and drive it down to zero." The state has also failed to ramp up contact tracing. The epicenter of Miami-Dade County never fulfilled the mayor's promise, back in May, to hire hundreds of tracers, as Business Insider has reported. The focus, too often, has been on reopening the economy — no matter the long-term economic and personal cost, Tsai said. And some jurisdictions need to do a lot more than just scale back. "Clearly, in the states where the pandemic has gotten out of control, a limited shutdown is needed to prevent hospitals from being overrun," he said. Have a news tip? Email this reporter: email@example.comJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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Governor Ron DeSantis claims the situation is ‘stabilized’ but full ICU beds and overflowing emergency rooms...Governor Ron DeSantis claims the situation is ‘stabilized’ but full ICU beds and overflowing emergency rooms tell a different storyThe emergency department at Jackson health system, wedged between Little Havana and the vibrant murals of Wynwood in Miami, has overflowed with Covid-19 patients for weeks.Patients wait for beds in hallways and in the lounge. Some need oxygen minutes after arrival, while others are sent home for bed rest and to quarantine. Intensive care unit beds, the number of which has already expanded, are “snatched” up minutes after they become available. Not a single one of the 164 in the hospital is free. Continue reading...
States and localities across the US are backtracking amid a patchwork response as Covid-19 continues to...States and localities across the US are backtracking amid a patchwork response as Covid-19 continues to rageIn echoes of the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, some American states and localities are reversing economic reopenings after spread of the coronavirus accelerated in some regions.America’s Sun Belt, the region extending from southern California to Florida, has been particularly hard-hit, and now further flung and less populous states are joining the ranks rolling back reopenings. Continue reading...
Los Angeles County, one of the most populous counties in the US, has more confirmed coronavirus...Los Angeles County, one of the most populous counties in the US, has more confirmed coronavirus cases than all of Canada, City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday. As of Sunday, Los Angeles County reported more than 133,500 coronavirus infections, while Canada has detected just under 110,000 confirmed cases. In the last few weeks, California has seen record-high daily increases in coronavirus infections amid reopening efforts. California Gov. Gavin Newsom reinstated health safety restrictions, like closing indoor dining and other indoor activities, in an effort to mitigate the rapid spread of the virus. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Los Angeles County has more confirmed coronavirus cases than all of Canada, City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday. As of Sunday, Los Angeles county reported more than 133,500 coronavirus infections, according to a county press release. Canada has detected just under 110,000 confirmed cases, citing data from a case tracker by Johns Hopkins University. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti just said that the county has more cases than all of Canada. If LA County were an independent country, we would have the 20th most cases in the world. He also said al fresco dining is still open. — Cerise Castle (@cerisecastle) July 14, 2020 Among other states, California has seen record-high daily increases in coronavirus cases amid reopening efforts, prompting the state's Gov. Gavin Newsom to reinstate restrictions to mitigate the spread of the virus. Newsom announced Monday that the state would once again close bars and indoor restaurant dining, though open-air dining is still allowed. Indoor museums and indoor operations at zoos and aquariums will be closed, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County Public Health. The 29 counties on the state's coronavirus watch list are also mandated to shut down indoor activities at places of worship, non-essential offices, malls, and personal care services — including hair and nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo parlors. Last week, Garcetti issued a stark warning to LA county residents who tested negative for the coronavirus, saying that a negative test result is "not a passport to party." "You should assume everyone around you is infectious," Garcetti said. "Don't go out with your friends." Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in Los Angeles County, encouraged residents to follow the reinstated restrictions in another effort "flatten the curve." "We need our residents to repeat what we did just weeks ago if we are going to flatten the curve again," Ferrer said in a statement.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown