ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. health leaders are sounding alarms over widespread misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccinations made to fight it.
The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory on this misinformation Thursday. He said inaccurate information is costing lives.
“We must confront misinformation as a nation. Every one of us has the power and responsibility to make a difference in this fight. Lives are depending on it,” Murthy said.
He is urging Americans, health organizations, tech companies, government agencies, news organizations and educational institutions to stop the spread of misinformation online.
Earlier this week, Dr. Raul Pino from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said the number of daily cases has doubled week over week, almost entirely among unvaccinated people.
“100% of the cases reported yesterday were among unvaccinated individuals,” Pino said Monday. “More so, 100% of the deaths that we are reporting to you today, were among unvaccinated individuals. So we can mask up, we can keep the distance, we can try not to talk about this but the reality is that this is an unvaccinated pandemic.”
This prompted Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings to recommend everyone start wearings masks again while in crowded, indoor locations.
An Orlando Black business owner, who at first did not want the vaccine, said his views changed after his recent battle with COVID-19.
“I just didn’t think it would happen to me,” Marquiz McKenzie said. “I thought I was untouchable to be honest with you. Like, I’m young and COVID is not going to catch me but it caught me.”
The 30-year-old said he was regularly wearing his mask and even getting tested for COVID. Though he only had a mild cold when he recently tested positive, he said the vaccine can save your life and possibly others.
McKenzie said when he’s cleared from his doctor, he’s getting the vaccine and he’s getting his children vaccinated, too, when they can.
“At first I was against the vaccine. All of these theories coming out and I was scared,” he said. “And one of the most important reasons that I wanted to get vaccinated is that everyone I come in contact with isn’t as lucky as me.”
[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: Florida averages 3,380+ new COVID-19 cases per day as delta variant surges]
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on July 16.
The Florida Department of Health reported 45,604 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,406,809 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 6,515 new infections reported per day.
Florida reported 59 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week. The state reported the cumulative death toll as 38,388. However, when the 59 new deaths are added to the cumulative death total from last week’s report, 38,157, the numbers come out to 38,216. The state has not provided any information as to when these deaths occurred.
The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida with its new weekly reporting method.
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.
In the last daily report in early June, since March 2020, 95,607 people had been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19.
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 11.5% but did not provide how many people were tested during the past week. 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.
The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December 2020 on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. In the new weekly reports, the state is combining the vaccination data with the COVID-19 infection numbers.
FDOH reports 9,780,017 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.
During the past week, 110,525 new people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Central Florida region
The state is no longer providing a breakdown of county-by-county deaths or hospitalizations as of June 3. The Florida DOH is also no longer providing county numbers for non-residents who have tested positive, causing the total case numbers to drop significantly, in some counties by more than 1,000 cases.
For example, with non-resident positive cases as of June 3, Orange County had reported a total of 143,198 but with the state’s new reporting method, the county has 141,941 total cases, a difference of 1,257 positive cases.
Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases and new vaccination numbers between July 9-July 15, 2021.
|County||Total cases as of July 15||New cases since July 9||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 12+ population vaccinated|