ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – On the brink of two possible highly effective coronavirus vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doubling down on encouraging everyone to wear face masks, saying that there is new evidence showing that not only do they prevent the wearer from spreading the virus but from contracting it as well.
Meanwhile, Moderna said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be highly effective in a major trial, a second dash of hope in the global race for a shot to tame a resurgent virus that is now killing more than 8,000 people a day worldwide.
The company said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from Moderna’s ongoing study. This comes a week after competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.
The results are “truly striking,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious diseases expert. Earlier this year, Fauci said he would be happy with a COVID-19 vaccine that was 60% effective.
Face masks will continue to be a tool against the virus even after the vaccine distribution begins and now there is new evidence of just how beneficial they can be to stopping the spread.
Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to wear masks because of evidence that it stops people who are infected with coronavirus — whether they know it or not — from spreading it to others. But the CDC posted a new scientific brief discussing recent studies finding that a wearer gets some protection. CDC continues to advise Americans to wear masks to stop the virus from spreading.
In Florida, which saw the second astronaut launch by private company SpaceX on Sunday night, the Department of Health continues to report thousands of new cases daily. The company’s own CEO, Elon Musk, could not attend the launch in person after he reported coming down with a mild case of the coronavirus.
Thousands of people visited Florida’s Space Coast Sunday to witness four astronauts -- three NASA and one Japanese Space Agency -- liftoff on a Falcon 9 rocket. The astronauts will arrive at the space station Monday night, where they will spend the next six months. It’s possible they could return to Earth when a vaccine is available.
On the same day, Florida reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases. On Monday, the state reported 4,663 new cases and 41 deaths from COVID-19.
After Orange County reported a spike in cases Sunday, Dr. Raul Pino with the local Florida Department of Health branch said that was due to a data dump from a laboratory in Brevard County. The county reported 745 cases on Sunday, according to Pino, those tests were from results on Nov. 11-14.
However, Orange County’s top doctor warned this could be reality if people do not observe safety precautions and prevent the spread.
“It’s not far fetched from the reality that we may face. If we do not observe the guidelines that are placed is the bars, restaurants and other places where people congregate,” Pino said.
Below is information provided by the Florida Department of Health for Monday, Nov. 16.
The Florida Department of Health reported 4,663 new cases on Monday, bringing the state’s overall total to 889,864 cases since March.
The Florida Department of Health on Monday reported 41 people have recently died from COVID-19. As of Monday’s coronavirus report, a total of 17,775 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 216 non-resident deaths in Florida.
State health officials have always maintained that virus fatalities are often delayed in being reported to the FDOH, with some deaths not reported for a month or more.
Currently, there are 3,243 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida as of Monday afternoon, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 10,105 new COVID-19 cases as spectators swarm Space Coast for crewed launch]
Below is a breakdown of the coronavirus numbers across the 10-county Central Florida region for Nov. 16:
|County||Cases||New Cases||Hospitalizations||New Hospitalizations||Deaths||New Deaths|