Florida reports 40,351 COVID cases as UN reconvenes, more countries drop tourism restraints

Canada, Japan vying to loosen respective restrictions

Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson) (Julia Nikhinson, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida over the last two weeks has reported 40,351 new cases of COVID-19 and 753 virus-related deaths to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The head of the World Health Organization on Sept. 14 said the world had never been in a better position to stop the pandemic, marking the lowest number of virus-related deaths recorded in a week’s time since March 2020. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned, however, “Now is the worst time to stop running.”

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“We are not there yet, but the end is in sight,” he said. “Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap all the rewards of our hard work.”

At that time, the U.N. health agency’s weekly report of global COVID-19 cases and deaths saw those figures drop 28% and 22%, respectively.

“If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty,” Tedros said.

The U.N. General Assembly reconvened in New York on Monday, following two years of virtual and hybrid summits.

“The General Assembly is meeting at a time of great peril,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, noting strategic divides between world powers are “paralyzing the global response to the dramatic challenges we face.”

As a place for nations to broadcast their agendas, grievances and calls to action with the world as their audience, significant speeches and announcements have already since occurred in the 77th session, which will last into next week.

At a news conference near Central Park, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday announced tourists would be allowed to enter the island nation starting Oct. 11. At latest, Japan has been working with a cap on the number of tourists allowed to visit, a rule soon to be tossed. The country remained largely shut-out to tourists since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, sending its tourism industry reeling.

Canada, too, plans to loosen COVID-19 restrictions for tourists looking to visit. According to an official familiar with the matter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reportedly expected to drop the vaccine requirement for foreign nationals entering Canada by as soon as Sept. 30.

Across the pond, Israel on Thursday started administering COVID-19 vaccines meant to target the virus’ highly contagious omicron variant. Health authorities in the region are focused on inoculating those over 65 years old, shoring up the nation’s reputation as a world leader in getting as many of its people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Closer to home, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday the city’s vaccine mandate for private-sector employees will be lifted Nov. 1. The city began requiring almost all private businesses to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace in December 2021, just as the omicron wave began claiming hundreds of lives in the city. It remains the largest place in the U.S. to have made vaccines mandatory as a workplace safety measure.

In Louisiana, after a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April upheld President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement on federal workers, the same court has since vacated that ruling and agreed to rehear the opponents’ case. Biden administration lawyers argue that the employees opposing the mandate should have taken their objections not to federal court but to a federal review board, in accordance with the Civil Service Reform Act. The administration also argues that the president has the same authority, under the Constitution, as the CEO of a private corporation to require that employees be vaccinated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the CDC and the state on Sept. 23:

Cases

There were 40,351 new coronavirus cases in Florida over the last two weeks. This week, there were 17,438 cases reported. There were 22,913 cases the previous week.

Florida has seen 7,106,653 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.

Deaths

The Florida Department of Health reported a cumulative death toll in Florida of 81,139. There were 753 fatalities recorded over the past two weeks, which we get by subtracting the number of deaths reported by DOH two weeks ago (80,386) from the current cumulative death toll.

The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida when the new weekly reporting method began.

Hospitalizations

The state Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus. However, Florida is still required to report that information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC continues to release that information online. The most recent hospital numbers show 1,816 adult and 44 pediatric patients in Florida.

Positivity rate

The Florida Department of Health reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 8.4% for the week of Sept. 16 but did not provide how many people were tested during the past two weeks. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.

Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases and new vaccination numbers between Sept. 16 - Sept. 22.

CountyTotal cases as of Sept. 22New cases since Sept. 16Total people vaccinatedPercent of 6 mo+ population vaccinated
Brevard165,122467423,45868%
Flagler27,16111480,35467%
Lake102,582275257,76767%
Marion99,390283232,01661%
Orange452,1489841,110,40976%
Osceola136,434248329,99679%
Polk244,573688470,90963%
Seminole125,311350333,75569%
Sumter27,619139105,99266%
Volusia141,936424359,56063%

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About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.