What You Need To Know About Florida And Coronavirus This Week

Miami desolated

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By Giselle Balido

May 8, 2020

From toppling California as the state with the highest unemployment numbers to the mysterious disappearance of a government database.

This week Florida continued hitting milestones, although decidedly grim ones for the Sunshine State. According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO), as of May 3 the state had filed 1,025,657 unique unemployment claims, surpassing California. This was accomplished with a population of 21.5 million, which is nearly half of California’s 40 million.

Among the hardest hit by the business and restaurant closings mandated throughout the state are hospitality and tourism workers, especially those living in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the area that remains the hot zone of the pandemic in Florida. 

Adding more frustration to the ranks of the unemployed, according to the FDEO, of the 1,025,657 unemployment claims received, only 452,526 –less than half– have been paid so far. To blame: the state’s glitch-ridden $77 million CONNECT application system. Read more: 

RELATED: GOP Governors Are Reopening Economies to Kick People Off Unemployment, Critics Say

It sounds like a noir thriller among palm trees, but it did happen this week in Florida. Data found in a Florida Department of Health  (FDH) report suggests symptoms of the disease started earlier than the state reported. And then the state’s database disappeared. 

 An investigation conducted by the Miami Herald found an intriguing piece of data hidden in a report released by the FDH: that the Covid-19 spread in the Sunshine State may have started as early as late December or January, as at least 26 people who contracted the novel coronavirus, started showing symptoms in late December 2019 or early January. Monday night, the dataset abruptly disappeared from the state website. It returned later that evening, but without showing the date when the symptoms were reported.

One of the most concerning facts found in the data is that at least eight of those who were symptomatic had not traveled nor had known contact with a person infected by the virus. In fact, of the at least 170 COVID-19 patients who reported symptoms between Dec. 31, 2019, and February 29, forty percent reported they had no known contact with someone ill with the virus, and the majority had not traveled, according to state health data. Read more:

RELATED: University of Pittsburgh Researcher on Verge of Coronavirus Breakthrough Shot to Death

On a more optimistic note, Doctors at Baptist Health South Florida reported being “very excited” after successfully treating three critically ill coronavirus patients with an experimental stem cell treatment. After receiving individual emergency approvals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the stem cells used in the treatment were grown by RESTEM, a biotechnology company based in California, from umbilical cord tissue.

The three patients with coronavirus chosen by the doctors in partnership with RESTEM had been intubated for at least a day. The frozen stem cells were then sent to Florida from California and given to the patients intravenously. The results were promising: all three began to improve in a matter of days, the doctors reported. 

As of April 30, two of the patients have been discharged from the intensive care unit, while the third was reported recovering at the time. However, the doctors emphasized that the treatment has not yet gone through a clinical trial. At this time, a clinical trial for a long-term study on the effects of this therapy is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Read more:

RELATED: New Study: COVID-19 Can Spread in the Air 13 Feet



CATEGORIES: Coronavirus | Florida | Health


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