ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – While “summer is over” for most states, Florida’s tourism season is really just about to begin. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will likely deter some seasonal residents from flocking to the Sunshine State, but it’s too early to tell.
The U.S. had about 1.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases around Memorial Day, before backyard parties and other gatherings contributed to a summertime surge. It now has more than 6.2 million cases, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths from the virus more than doubled over the summer to nearly 190,000.
The Florida Department of Health reported 1,823 new cases of the respiratory illness Tuesday, bringing the state total to 650,092 since the pandemic was first detected here in March.
Florida’s death toll from the pandemic reached 12,067 on Tuesday, including 152 nonresidents who died in the state. The DOH reported 44 recent deaths from the virus. Death data is often delayed and new deaths can take up to two weeks to report, according to the DOH.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 3,158 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to the same time 24 hours ago. The DOH reported 112 new patients were hospitalized Tuesday, bringing the state total to 40,195 for people who have been in hospital at some point during the last six month due to the virus.
Florida’s positivity rate -- the number of new cases compared to overall tests on Monday-- was 5.97%. For nearly a month, Florida’s rate has been below the medically advisable 10%.
Here are three things to know about the virus for Sept. 8:
- Florida’s tourism leaders are “hopeful” after a busy Labor Day weekend. Universal Orlando and Disney World reached their limited capacity on Saturday and Sunday and Universal’s Volcano Bay also did on Monday. “With the steady decline of numbers in Florida, of course, that helps a lot, and once more emphasizes Florida is a No. 1 destination,” UCF Rosen College of Hospitality associate dean Dr. Robertico Croes said.
- Golfview Elementary School will remain closed until Sept. 14 due to coronavirus cases connected to the school. The campus was set to open Tuesday but school district officials said they made the decision to keep campus closed another week so that those infected with the virus can make a full recovery. The county hopes the extended closure will limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
- Russian scientists have belatedly published first results from early trials into the experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, which received government approval last month but drew considerable criticism from experts, as the shots had only been tested on several dozen people before being more widely administered. Developers of the vaccine said it appeared to be safe and to prompt an antibody response in all 40 people tested in the second phase of the study within three weeks. However, the authors noted that participants were only followed for 42 days, the study sample was small and there was no placebo or control vaccine used.
Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases across the Central Florida region:
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