Florida Leads U.S. In New Covid-19 Coronavirus Cases, Yet Sticks With Weekly Not Daily Reporting
A lot can happen in a week.
From July 16 to July 23, Florida tallied 73,199 new Covid-19 coronavirus cases. That’s an over 60% increase from the previous week, based on data from Florida Health. During that time period, Florida had more new reported infections than any other state in the U.S. In fact, Florida now accounts for about one out of every five new reported Covid-19 coronavirus infections across the entire U.S.
Over the past week, Florida has had at least 282 Covid-19-related deaths as well, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. All of this has been happening in a state where less than half of the population (48.5%) is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with vaccination rates slowing as this News4JAX segment showed:
So, things don’t seem to be going very well in Florida, unless, of course, you happen to be a virus and look like a spiky massage ball.
Imagine what would happen if you were to tell the public that they could only get sports, stock market, or celebrity news on no more than a weekly basis. It probably wouldn’t go too well. After all, society has gotten used to real-time updates on a lot of things and smartphone notifications like “Kim Kardashian Wipes Out While Wakeboarding Over Fourth of July Weekend.” So for now, Florida residents may continue to have more real-time info on what the Kardashians are doing than what a potentially deadly virus spreading around them is doing.
MORE FOR YOU
This makes about as much sense as a one-legged cat suit for a dog. Florida is battling the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In general, it’s better to know where your opponent is and may be moving, whether you are playing sports or video games, running a military operation, engaging in a beatbox competition, or trying to control an infectious disease. You can’t just wear a blindfold and use the Force as Obi-Wan Kenobi once told Luke Skywalker to do in the movie Star Wars.
In the middle of a freaking pandemic, daily updates are far from TMI (too much information). In fact, in many cases the daily updates were still TLI (too little information) or a TWTHIGO (too what the heck is going on) last year. Covid-19 testing in the U.S. has been about as well-coordinated as a Dancing with the Stars episode organized by marmots. Not everyone who gets infected can readily get tested. There may be delays between when you are first infected to when you get tested to when your results are reported to the state. Therefore, even daily reporting may actually represent what the virus was doing a few weeks ago.
Adding another week lag to the reporting delay just further impedes the ability of health care professionals, county and municipal leaders, schools, businesses, transit operators, and many other parts of society to coordinate their response. By opting for only weekly reporting, they are essentially saying “stay tuned until next week” when people may need to know what’s going on now.
After all, since Florida Governor Ron Desantis has resisted Covid-19 prevention measures such as face mask and social distancing requirements, organizations, schools, businesses, municipalities, and counties need to know where and when the virus may be surging to decide where and when to apply various Covid-19 precautions. When waiting for the next weekly report, they could very well be in the midst of high viral activity without even knowing it, sort of the opposite of being sexy and knowing it. This could leave them like a birds in lawn chairs, sitting ducks.
States could also use more forewarning to avoid a replay of 2020. Recall when states were forced to employ more drastic measures such as school and workplace closures to put the brakes on what was getting to be an out of control situation. It got that way because the U.S. didn’t implement less drastic ways of stopping the virus such as social distancing and face mask use earlier.
The impact of Florida’s decisions go way beyond that state. What happens in Florida doesn’t necessarily stay in Florida. As long as people continue to travel to and from the Sunshine State, the virus can continue to hitch rides to other states.
Of course, some may argue that there isn’t enough time, personnel, or resources to prepare and issue daily Covid-19 reports. That argument holds water about as well as fishnet underwear. States need to make Covid-19 coronavirus surveillance a priority, because failing to contain the virus affects everyone and every industry. Think about how much companies may spend on getting intelligence on what their customers and competitors are doing and then adapting accordingly. They realize how powerful information can be and how it can guide their actions. That’s why ads for thigh-high boots, bondage harnesses, and chastity belts may appear on your browsers soon after you’ve gone about your typical Internet searching and website visiting.
Based on information that’s collected by Facebook and other platforms, companies can know and anticipate what you are going to do even before you know what you are going to do. That anticipation can give them a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, without enough proper surveillance information, that can’t happen when trying to control the Covid-19 coronavirus. Just as with John Doe in the movie Se7en, not knowing enough about what the virus is doing is giving the Covid-19 coronavirus the upper hand.