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Projections from the IHME and the Trump administration expect numbers to rise amid relaxed social distancing rules
Beachgoers sunbathe near a beach rules sign after Clearwater Beach officially reopened to the public Monday, May 4, 2020, in Clearwater Beach, Fla. Many public beaches and restaurants are reopening as part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to stop the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Monday marked the beginning of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first phase for reopening Florida.
As restrictions ease across the state except for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the department of health confirmed 36,897 cases of COVID-19 in Florida with 1,399 deaths attributed to the new coronavirus and 6,119 hospitalizations.
A prominent model now predicts that the death toll could be higher than previously projected, in part because of loosened restrictions. And, according to an internal report obtained by the New York Times, the Trump administration is projecting a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks.
Models predict more deaths
On Monday, a model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington that has been cited by the White House dramatically increased its projection for the number of deaths the United States will see from the pandemic, in part as a result of relaxed social distancing rules.
That model now predicts over 134,000 deaths in the country by early August (up from about 72,000 in the previous model). It projects just under 4,000 deaths in Florida.
“We, collectively, are now entering a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the IHME said in its release Monday. “More locations are easing previously implemented social distancing policies, and human mobility patterns are trending upward – even in places where distancing measures remain in place. Testing has scaled up in many parts of the world, but such progress has been uneven and is not keeping pace with the growing demand for lifting business and gathering restrictions. Carefully tracking what is happening today as locations move to “re-open” will provide vital information for potential COVID-19 trajectories in the coming weeks and months.”
Meanwhile, the internal document obtained by the New York Times, says the nation’s daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, which is amost twice the current number of about 1,750.
“The projections, based on government modeling pulled together in chart form by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases a day currently,” the New York Times report says.
The U.S. has already surpassed 1.1 million confirmed cases, the largest number reported in the world, with more than 68,000 deaths. Over 187,000 Americans have been classified as recovered, according to data compiled from various sources by Johns Hopkins University.
Worldwide, the number of COVID-19 cases reported is over 3.5 million, and there have been more than 250,000 deaths from the disease. Over 1.1 million people globally have been classified as recovered.
South Florida continues to see the highest concentration of cases in Florida, leading to the decision to delay reopening.
Miami-Dade County has 13,092 cases of COVID-19 with 378 deaths and 1,678 hospitalizations, the highest numbers in the state.
Broward has 5,383 cases, 208 deaths and 1,068 hospitalizations.
Palm Beach County has 3,311 cases, 196 deaths and 485 hospitalizations.
Monroe County has 80 cases, three deaths and 11 hospitalizations.
Monroe has been allowed to begin Phase 1 of reopening Monday, though the Keys remain closed to visitors.
Government and medical experts agree that testing is paramount to the decisions to reopen facets of business and life.
The health department says that over 445,000 coronavirus tests have been administered across Florida, with 8.3% of those coming back positive.
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Full report to Gov. Ron DeSantis from the Re-Open Florida Task Force:
Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.
About the Author:
David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.
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