ORLANDO, Fla. – There is positive news ahead of Thursday’s Food and Drug Administration meeting to debate the use of COVID-19 vaccines and whether the shots are ready for wide-spread distribution.
Documents released by U.S. regulators Tuesday confirmed that Pfizer’s vaccine was strongly protective against COVID-19 and appeared safe -- offering the world’s first detailed look at the evidence behind the shots.
The positive FDA review sets the stage for a decision allowing the vaccine’s initial use within days. FDA regulators posted their analysis online even as across the Atlantic, Britain began vaccinating its oldest citizens with the shots, which were co-developed with BioNTech.
But the U.S. judges experimental vaccines in a unique way: On Thursday, the FDA will convene what’s essentially a science court that will debate -- in public and livestreamed -- just how strong the data backing the shots really is. That public vetting is considered key to bolstering confidence in the shots ahead of what’s expected to be the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history.
Meanwhile in Central Florida, several counties broke records with new cases reported Tuesday but Orange County reported negative 1,750 cases, as well as negative hospitalizations and deaths.
News 6 has reached out to the Florida Department of Health requesting clarification on the significant decrease in Orange County’s coronavirus data. A spokesperson with the department responded saying they are looking into the dataset.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 7,575 new cases with COVID-19 vaccine potentially days away]
Below is a breakdown of Florida’s COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Along with the resources previously utilized by News 6 (state and county-by-county data), as of Dec. 7, WKMG has added state data pulled from the Florida Department of Health’s Florida COVID19 State Testing Totals. This new dataset includes the number of people tested the day prior, which is the number public health officials use to calculate the state’s daily positivity rate.
The Florida Department of Health reported 7,842 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,073,770 cases since March.
As of Tuesday’s coronavirus report, a total of 19,627 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 249 non-resident deaths in Florida. The state reported 98 new deaths Tuesday.
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.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there are currently 4,547 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration, an increase by about 50 patients in the last 24 hours.
In total, 56,906 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from the coronavirus. The state reported 299 new hospitalizations on Tuesday.
The percent of positive results ranged from 6.22% to 9.15% over the past two weeks and was 7.92% for tests reported to the state Monday. This is slightly up from the state’s last report.
Below is a county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.