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Current as of Sept. 2, 2020, at 7:00 a.m.
COVID-19 Testing Sites in Florida
  • Drive-Thru Testing sites available are listed by county. Each walk up site can test up to 200 individuals per day. Access the list here.

Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is giving daily updates on Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program: View DEO Dashboard Here.

Florida Department of Health COVID Dashboard: Access dashboard here.

Graphs, Charts, and Real-time Tracking of COVID-19

Data Sources

Data Sources on Social Media

Other Resources

Current Statistics

  • Fatality rate in Florida - 1.8%
  • Covid fatality rate in FL by age group:
  • 15-24 years old - .03%
  • 25-34 years old - .06%
  • 35-44 years old - .21%
  • 45-54 years old - .47%
  • 55-64 years old - 1.5%
  • 65-74 years old - 5%
  • 75 and up - 16%
  • Seasonal influenza mortality rate in the US (2017 CDC) 18-49 yo - .02%

  • Median age of new Covid cases - 39 years old
  • Emergency department visits w/ COVID-like illness - 28% decrease
  • ICU beds available in Florida - 22%
  • Hospital beds available in Florida - 25%

Vaccine Tracking

Last updated: September 1, 2020 8:56 AM PST

vaccines are in development.

are now in clinical testing.

Four months ago, I wrote a column titled "The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History." I explained that "'mistake' and 'evil' are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people."

Regarding the economic catastrophe in America and around the world -- especially among the world's poor who are dependent upon America and other first-world countries for their income through exports and tourism -- I wrote, "It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe."

Unfortunately, I was right.

The world should have followed Sweden's example. That country never locked down and has even kept children under 16 in school the entire time. As Reuters reported on July 15, the number of Swedish children between 1 and 19 years of age who have died of COVID-19 is zero. And the percentage of children who contracted the illness was the exact same in Sweden as it was in Finland, which locked down its schools.

As regards teachers, Sweden's Public Health Agency reported that "a comparison of the incidence of COVID-19 in different professions suggested no increased risk for teachers." Nevertheless, with few exceptions, teachers in Los Angeles and elsewhere refuse to enter a classroom that has students in it.

Their disdain for their profession has been superseded only by that of the Los Angeles teachers union, which announced that teachers will not resume teaching until the police are defunded.

People who defend lockdowns and closing schools point out that Sweden has the eighth-highest death rate per million in the Western world. But, needless to say, this has no bearing at all on the issue of whether Sweden was right to keep schools open or whether our country was wrong to close them, let alone keep them closed now. The overwhelming majority of deaths from COVID-19 in Sweden were among people over 70 years of age, and most of those were people over 80 and with compromised immune systems.

Reuters reported that three separate studies, including one by UNICEF, "showed that Swedish children fared better than children in other countries during the pandemic, both in terms of education and mental health."

For more than a month, Sweden has had almost no deaths from COVID-19 while the entire society remains open and almost no one wears masks. (In Holland, too, almost no one wears masks.) For all intents and purposes, the virus is over in Sweden.

I live in California, a state governed by that most dangerous of leaders: a fool with unlimited power. Despite the fact that California ranks 28th among the 50 states in deaths per million, Gov. Gavin Newsom has destroyed and continues to destroy tens of thousands of small businesses and untold numbers of livelihoods. His continuing to forbid -- a half-year after the onset of the pandemic -- indoor dining in restaurants is leading to a projected permanent closure of approximately 1 in every 3 restaurants in the state. The same catastrophic destruction will likely affect retail businesses and services such as hair and nail salons. But all this human tragedy -- not to mention increased depression and suicides among the young and increased abuse of children and partners -- means nothing to Newsom, to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti or to the Los Angeles Times, whose editors and columnists continue to advocate for the lockdown while they receive their salaries.

Why can people eat with no mask in an airplane -- inches, not six feet, from strangers -- but cannot eat in a California restaurant, which is so much bigger than the inside of an airplane, while sitting six feet from others? Because Newsom ordered it, the Los Angeles Times supports it and, like sheep, Californians have accepted it.

According to the California Association of Museums, "Museums are losing over $22 million a day due to the statewide quarantine. As of August 1, 2020, California museums have lost more than $2.9 billion in revenue. Museums have a $6.55 billion financial impact on California's economy, support 80,722 jobs, and generated $492 million in tax revenues for the State of California in 2017 and over $1 billion in federal taxes."

And the American Alliance of Museums issued results from a survey on July 22, 2020, that warned 1 out of every 3 museums may shutter forever as funding sources and financial reserves run dry.

On Aug. 3, The Wall Street Journal wrote, "In March ... There was broad public support for the prudent goals of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed and buying scientists time to develop therapies." But the left -- the media and Democratic governors and mayors -- immediately moved the goal posts to "bending the curve" and "saving one life," enabling them to get away with destroying lives and livelihoods.

I conclude with the words of a Swedish medical doctor, Sebastian Rushworth:

"Covid is over in Sweden. People have gone back to their normal lives and barely anyone is getting infected any more. I am willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up. If that is the case, then there won't have been any point in shutting down in the first place ... Shutting down completely in order to decrease the total number of deaths only makes sense if you are willing to stay shut down until a vaccine is available. That could take years. No country is willing to wait that long."

The lockdown is a crime. But even more upsetting is that it is supported by so many Americans. This country is unrecognizable to those of us who lived through the 1968-1970 pandemic, which killed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 100,000 Americans -- the 2020 equivalent of 170,000 Americans. Nothing shut down. Not one mask was worn.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that he will lift the state’s ban on visiting nursing homes that has cut off vulnerable seniors from family since mid-March over fears of spreading the new coronavirus.

With his voice cracking at times, he wondered aloud if his actions might have contributed to suffering in his state as he made his announcement during a round table in Jacksonville.

“Part of having a healthy society is understanding that human beings seek affection," DeSantis said. “Many of the folks understand that they have loved ones who are in the last stage of their life. They’re not demanding a medical miracle. They’re not having unrealistic expectations. They just would like to be able to say goodbye or to hug somebody."

The visibly emotional governor paused to collect himself, and silence filled the room for about 20 seconds.

DeSantis said he would lift the ban on visitations in an executive order later Tuesday, following recommendations from a nursing home task force.

The governor's order is expected to allow family members to visit their loved ones no more than two at a time, wearing protective gear including masks. Facilities would need to go 14 days without any new cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents to allow the visits. Children under the age of 18 are not yet allowed.

The task force appointed by the governor recommended a lengthy set of rules last week, giving wide leeway for wary nursing homes on how to implement them. Critics were quick to express concern over what will likely be a patchwork approach, varying greatly among facilities statewide.

South Carolina took a similar step Tuesday, with Gov. Henry McMaster announcing visitations at nursing homes could resume after nearly six months, but only outdoors and with no hugs or kisses.

“As expected, the months of separation and isolation have caused loneliness, depression, stress, anxiety among the residents. I worry about them, like you do, every day,” McMaster said in Columbia.

In Florida, nearly two-thirds of facilities have not had new cases since Aug. 11, said Mary Mayhew, who led the task force and heads the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

The biggest sticking point was over physical contact, with gut-wrenching debates between the task force’s health experts and an advocate for families. The task force ultimately recommended that essential caregivers be allowed to touch and hug loved ones. But some members, including state Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, repeatedly expressed grave concerns during task force meetings.

“The more people that are coming in, that really increases the risk,” Rivkees said last week.

Task force member Mary Daniel pleaded on behalf of hugs for residents, who she said are dying from loneliness. Daniel took a part-time job as a dishwasher just to be allowed to visit her husband, who has Alzheimer’s.

“I’m turning in my two weeks' notice today. I’m not going to be a dishwasher anymore. I’m going back to being just a wife,” Daniel said Tuesday. She represents the group Caregivers for Compromise Because Isolation Kills Too.

All parties agreed on the terrible toll isolation has taken on residents, who have now gone almost six months without seeing loved ones.

Some facilities expressed concerns about the continued danger of exposing vulnerable residents to the virus while new cases remain high — though trending downward for several weeks — and without more widespread testing and stricter distancing rules.

“I am concerned that the state will throw open the doors to our communities and then walk away. Suddenly you will see a war develop between providers and families as we try to do what is best for residents and staff,” said Jay Solomon, CEO of Aviva senior home in Sarasota.

It’s unclear how many of the state’s more than 4,000 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and group homes will choose to open to visitors in any capacity.

The head of Florida Health Care Association, which represent 82% of the nursing homes in Florida, said many facilities told him they are very wary about allowing visitors, while others are eager to do so.
Brian Lee, head of Families for Better Care, an advocacy group for nursing home residents, said Florida's recommendations are “woefully inadequate.”

“Governor DeSantis’ panel failed to recommend an at-the-door, rapid testing protocol that would identify asymptomatic COVID carriers before entering a nursing home,” he wrote in an email.

Mayhew said Tuesday that she felt confident visitors would adhere to the rules knowing the stakes were high.

“Human touch is absolutely critical,” said Mayhew, whose 87-year-old mother has been living with her for several months during the pandemic. “I understood how much my mother craved the interaction. No one should be going this long without a hug...”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered state health agencies to cut ties with Quest Diagnostics, one of the country’s largest labs, after the company failed to report nearly 75,000 coronavirus tests in a timely manner, according to the state’s department of health.

The bulk of the 75,000 previously unreported tests are two-weeks old with some dating back as many as five months, the department of health said. The Department of Health said Quest informed everyone who tested positive of their results, despite the backlog in reporting onward to the state.

The governor’s office did not learn of the backlog in test results until Monday, the Department of Health said. 

“The law requires all COVID-19 results to be reported to DOH in a timely manner. To drop this much unusable and stale data is irresponsible,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I believe that Quest has abdicated their ability to perform a testing function in Florida that the people can be confident in. As such I am directing all executive agencies to sever their COVID-19 testing relationships with Quest effective immediately.”

Jason Mahon, spokesman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said Quest was processed Covid-19 tests at a “limited number” of state-supported testing sites and will no longer be used at them.

“Whenever a lab does not fulfill its obligations to provide testing results with an acceptable turnaround time, or report those results to the state, the Division stops doing business with that lab,” he said in a statement to CNBC. He added that he has “no concerns” about transitioning to different labs.

Representatives of Quest did not immediately return CNBC’s request for comment. Shares of Quest traded more than 2% lower in midday trading.

The reporting backlog, the Department of Health said, is impacting the state’s data. Without including the backlog, Florida reported 3,773 new cases on Monday and 5.9% of all tests conducted came back positive, the state said. Including the backlog, the percent of tests that came back positive rose to 6.8% and the total number of new cases reported on Monday increased to 7,643, according to the state.

Labs across the country struggled to keep pace with the rapid rise of coronavirus cases earlier this summer, leading to long lines at testing centers and turnaround times of more than a week for some patients. Last week, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith pressed five of the nation’s largest testing labs, including Quest, over delays in processing coronavirus tests as the flu season approaches.

While new kinds of tests have come onto the market, alleviating the burden on commercial labs like those operated by Quest, the senators expressed concern that as flu season settles in and the same labs work double-time to process tests for both flu and Covid-19, it “may again strain labs’ ability to perform and deliver test results in a timely manner.”

“I wanted to stay put in Colombia to build a better future for my daughter, but we have to go back.” Those are the words of Nelson Torrelles to Wall Street Journal reporter John Otis. As Otis reported in the August 31 edition of the Journal, the “haggard and hungry” Torrelles along with his wife and 5-year old daughter are walking back to Venezuela on a Colombian highway.

They’d initially moved to Colombia to escape Venezuela’s socialist hellhole, only for Torrelles to get a job as a waiter at a barbecue restaurant in Bogota.

But when Colombia joined much of the rest of the alarmed world in shutting down its economy in March in response to the coronavirus, Torrelles lost his job and soon enough the family apartment that he couldn’t make rent on. Hard as it may be to imagine for those of us lucky enough to live in the United States, the hungry Torrelles and his family are moving back to Venezuela.

Please stop and think about this for a minute. Please stop and imagine the pain Torrelles is in. It surely extends well beyond hunger. Imagine not being able to adequately provide for your family, including a daughter too young to understand that your failures are largely beyond your control. Words don’t begin to describe what Torrelles must be going through, nor can someone lucky enough to be in the United States understand just how awful things must be for Torrelles and his family.

About the coronavirus shutdowns, this column will stress yet again what it always has: the greater the presumed lethality of any virus, the less of any kind of need for shutdowns or government intervention.

Practicality is behind this simple assertion.

For one, economic growth has long been the biggest enemy of virus and disease precisely because economic growth produces the surplus resources that can be mobilized in pursuit of cures for what ails us. If something threatens us with sickness or even death, no reasonable person would respond with forced economic contraction.

Second, the greater the presumed lethality of any virus, the more that any laws or rules meant to limit its spread are superfluous. Really, what about the high possibility of sickness or even death requires a law?

People don’t need to be told to not hurt or kill themselves. No reasonable person would seek to expand government power over human action during the spread of a virus precisely because wise people would govern themselves.

To which some who absolutely revel in being told what to do will respond that not everyone is rational when it comes to protecting themselves. So true.

All of which speaks to the third reason any kind of governmental response to a virus is impractical. It is because accepted wisdom rarely ages well. Think back to AIDS in the 1980s, and the popular view that it could be spread by people merely existing in the same room.

Some people will most certainly throw caution to the wind about any virus, and it cannot be stressed enough that these people are crucial. Their indifference or their disagreement with accepted wisdom means essential information will be produced. Specifically, those who don’t share the alarmism of doctors like Anthony Fauci and Scott Gottlieb, two individuals who in no way face the risk of going without food, shelter or life’s comforts if it turns out they’re wrong, can tell us if those who aim to protect us are wrong or right. In particular, if some wholly ignore the Faucis and Gottliebs of the world only to experience no ill health effects for doing just that, the medical profession and society more broadly will be much smarter as a consequence.

Lest we forget, Fauci was the doctor who told us a husband could pass on AIDS to his wife just by being in the same room. This was 1983. He knew so little. So did everyone. The past raises an obvious question about the present: why would doctors and scientists eager to know the truth be so adamant as Fauci and Gottlieb are about ongoing governmental limits on human action? Those wholly interested in the truth would presumably cheer those not eager to follow official, or unofficial rules and accepted societal norms. They produce information as important, and arguably more important than the rule followers. Again, there’s so much we don’t know.

At the same time, what we know is that per the CDC, the hospitalization rate for those infected with the virus is .1 percent? As for deaths, the New York Times reported once again on August 18th that “More than 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths in the United States have been tied to nursing homes.”

“Once again” is operative mainly because the Times has long reported this fact, and it’s one that has long led the half-awake to a very simple conclusion: some, or maybe a lot of the U.S. coronavirus deaths have been a consequence of the elderly dying with the virus as opposed to having died directly because of it.

It turns out the CDC agrees with this blinding glimpse of the obvious. It recently released a report indicating that over 94 percent of the U.S. coronavirus deaths occurred among individuals with “underlying medical conditions” like diabetes, heart failure, respiratory failure, and other maladies. So while there’s so much so many don’t know, including doctors, what’s long been apparent is now being accepted even by the CDC; U.S. death counts related to the virus are overstated. Perhaps wildly so.

It’s a reminder that the answer to any illness or any other presumed problem must always begin with freedom. Not only does it produce crucial information that truth-focused doctors and scientists would plainly want to know, not only does it produce the growth that provides cures, it also helps those with the least avoid what Nelson Torrelles is enduring right now.

Again, please stop and imagine the many layers of his agony. Having done that, please ask yourself in your relative comfort just how deep your corona-religion is? Is it so deep that you’ll continue to turn a blind eye to the global suffering that’s taking place so that you can feel safe from a virus that thankfully kills so few? Please think deeply about this. The lives of hundreds of millions of innocent people with exponentially less than you hang on your level of alarmism, and the strange joy you derive from being told what to do.  

Across the country, stores are reopening, people are getting back to work by the millions, and the United States is entering the Great American Comeback as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. For Americans suffering from substance use disorder and those in recovery, a return to the way things were before the pandemic presents a risk of falling back into harmful behaviors. With reports of increased overdoses in the news, on this International Overdose Awareness Day the Trump Administration is proud to empower first responders with tools to continue saving lives.

As Americans look ahead to the possibility of getting back to the routines of daily life, it is reasonable to believe those in recovery who may have largely been at home due to COVID-19-related restrictions once again are likely to experience the same feelings, people, places, and things that trigger their previous association with drug use. The potential of America reopening presents hope for those suffering from substance use disorder to connect once again — in person — at recovery support groups nationwide; reopening also offers the unhappy prospect of renewed associations with people and places where the likelihood of obtaining illicit drugs is increased, and with that comes an increased risk of overdose.

This global pandemic has affected every aspect of our society, and the production and trafficking of illicit drugs has been no different. The difficulties traffickers have faced in bringing their illegal drugs into the country has reduced their availability in some parts of America. However, once widespread commercial activity and travel resume, drug trafficking organizations will have more opportunities to bring their products into the country. With more Americans returning to work for real paydays, a perfect storm is brewing.

Families and friends of those with opioid use disorder or in recovery should be vigilant about their loved ones succumbing to stress-driven use or relapse and have the opioid overdose antidote naloxone on hand, just in case. Research has indicated that individuals given this life-saving drug have a mean 96% survival rate when it is administered in the throes of overdose.

With COVID-19 still very much on people’s minds, some first responders and members of law enforcement are understandably wary of administering naloxone to individuals experiencing overdose who may potentially have the disease. First responders should take comfort in the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found it safe to administer either subcutaneous or nasal naloxone while wearing their issued Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Naloxone can restore a person’s breathing in minutes, and it has saved thousands of lives. Our first responders can continue that downward trend by administering naloxone when they are the first to the scene. All people, whether they have COVID-19, an addiction, or both, deserve this standard of care.

We are pleased to have developed an infographic for first responders showing them how to administer naloxone as safely as possible. We encourage police, fire, emergency response and ambulatory leadership everywhere to circulate this document and post it where it will be visible by their first responders. To access the infographic please visit this link.

Thanks to naloxone, the power to save lives from overdose is literally in the hands of first responders, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and the friends and families of known opioid users. We should all be prepared to help — on International Overdose Awareness Day, and every day.

A few days ago, I was sitting in my office reading the morning newspaper as I customarily do. As I read from one page to the next, it dawned on me that every story and every commentary were all negative. As I flipped through page after page, I couldn’t find even one story that was positive and uplifting. The stories ranged from global and international strife and chaos to how divided we as Americans are as we head into what will be a brutal presidential contest to how we’re responding to COVID-19 – every last piece was negative.

As I sat there reading, I thought to myself, what happened to the good news? I remember when I was a child growing up in South Carolina, despite how challenging things were during those times, you could always find uplifting stories that encouraged unity and brought our family and community together. Inspirational stories about people who had accomplished their dreams or who had overcome perceivably insurmountable odds. They were stories of survival that taught us that you can successfully persevere through even the most challenging situations.

I remember stories about family unity and the importance of sticking together no matter what. Now, the stories that I read are about families breaking apart if they even exist at all. It’s rare to read stories about people coming together to help neighbors or perfect strangers. In fact, when such a story is told, they sometimes go viral because they’re just so rare. Think about that, it’s rare to read stories about people helping each other because so much of our existence has become focused on the negative and consumption with only the self.

Living with constant negativity affects us all in ways that are invisible to the naked eye. If you allow it to, you run the risk of being totally consumed by negativity. When that occurs, you bring it with you to every environment you enter and to every person you encounter and from there it can spread like wildfire. Human beings cannot exist and function in the bowels of darkness forever. At some point, we need light before we infect every aspect of our existence with hate and negativity.

Therefore, we must all ask ourselves what role we have in spreading positivity because each act of kindness produces something fruitful whether we realize it or not. Perhaps that is the problem, perhaps we don’t realize or we even worse we have forgotten just how much of an impact even the smallest gesture can have.

Have you ever wondered what happened to good news? You may be wondering what I’m talking about so let me expound a little on the good ol’ days where you could turn on the news or maybe even your favorite show and see positive stories or uplifting shows about family and faith. When I was growing up, I remember just how important it was to have a balance in the stories that were being reported.

Perhaps it’s that so many people in our society have simply become conditioned to only thinking about the bad. If you’re constantly bombarded with negative images about how you should feel or that the world around you is in an unstoppable state of decline, attempting to have any hope for your future and about things to come is nearly impossible. It’s like the old saying you are what you eat, well, you are also what you watch and listen to.

We have to turn the tables on this chapter in order to heal our nation of what is starting to become an incurable infection. The first step is to turn off the news. Yes, we should all be informed, but read a newspaper or limit yourself to watching only 20-minutes’ worth of news per day. Turn off the TV and the social media, spend more time with your family and friends and while with them, encourage them to do the same with other families and people of different backgrounds. My final recommendation would be to spend more time doing the things that make you happy and bring you joy. It goes without question that this time, under the COVID-19 pandemic, is perhaps the most opportune time to do such a thing.

So, grab your loved ones and hold them tight. Together, begin a new chapter of peace and prosperity that will change your life for the better and that will usher in a new chapter for America. If we each dedicate ourselves to a more peaceful and positive way of life, America will continue to be one of the greatest nations that the world has ever seen.