ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s better to have a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine than to rush the process and be first to produce a vaccine, according to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Azar made his comments after he was asked what he thought of Russia’s announcement that it had become the first country to register a vaccine against the virus.
“The point is not to be first with a vaccine,” he said. “The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world.”
The U.S. has six vaccines in development under the Operation Warp Speed initiative.
Meanwhile, in Florida, where the 2020-2021 academic year is now underway for some schools, 5,831 new positive cases were reported by the Florida Department of Health on Tuesday, bringing Florida’s total number of confirmed cases to 542,792 since the pandemic first arrived more than five months ago. The positivity rate, which represents the number of people who tested positive for the first time compared to the overall number of tests reported by the DOH for the day prior, was 10.30%.
The positivity rate and case numbers increased one day after the state reported its lowest numbers since mid-June.
While the sheer number of cases continues to grow, many people who test positive for COVID-19 will have mild or no symptoms at all, therefore it is important to monitor hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the virus.
On Tuesday, the state added 277 new fatalities, bringing Florida’s death toll from the virus up to 8,685. That number includes 8,553 residents and 132 non-residents who died in Florida.
This does not mean 277 people necessarily died in one day but during the last several weeks, as new COVID-19 deaths are often delayed in reporting to the state DOH. However, it does mark the highest number of deaths reported by Florida in a single day since the pandemic began.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 6,818 patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Florida, according to the state Agency for Healthcare Administration. The Florida Department of Health reported 569 new hospitalizations on Tuesday, bringing the overall total to 31,354 since March.
Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Tuesday during a collegiate athletics round table discussion at Florida State University and said that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the state is ready to resume college athletics in the fall.
“We’re here to say, from the state of Florida: We want you guys to play,” DeSantis said.
Here are three things to know about the pandemic for Aug. 11:
- Financial help for Seminole County residents and businesses: Seminole County officials revealed the county’s application portal for $20 million in CARES Act grants will open later this month for individuals and businesses seeking rent, mortgage and other help due to the pandemic. Individuals can qualify for up to $5,000 and businesses for up to $15,000. Click here for what you need to know to apply.
- 20 million cases: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million, more than half of them from the United States, India and Brazil on Tuesday. It took six months or so to get to 10 million cases after the virus first appeared in central China late last year. It took just over six weeks for that number to double. Health officials believe the actual number of people infected with the virus is much higher than the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, given testing limitations and that as many as 40% of those with the virus show no symptoms.
- 40% increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases: The American Academy of Pediatrics issued its latest report on COVID-19 infections in children using data available from all states. According to the report, infections in children went up by 40% during the last two weeks of July, topping 97,078 new pediatric from July 16 to July 30. Overall, children make up less than 9% of all U.S. coronavirus cases.
Across the Central Florida region, all counties but Flagler reported an increase in hospitalizations tied to the virus on Tuesday. Brevard, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sumter and Volusia counties all reported new deaths.
Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases across Central Florida as of Aug. 11:
|County||Case total||New cases||Hospitalizations||New hospitalizations||Deaths|