Coronavirus

According to the Florida Department of Health's Monday report, 146,341 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state - an increase of 5,266 positive tests since Sunday, and the sixth straight day the number of new cases surpassed 5,000.

As coronavirus cases in Florida have surged, so has the demand for testing and Tampa Bay area health officials are struggling to keep up.


Requirements to wear face masks in Hillsborough County businesses and public spaces will continue for another week, but there are some adjustments.

The coronavirus keeps spreading around the United States. New hot spots are emerging and heating up by the day. The death toll keeps mounting. So how can the U.S. beat back the relentless onslaught of this deadly virus?

Public health experts agree on one powerful weapon that's gotten a lot of attention but apparently still needs a lot more: testing.

A new analysis that researchers at Harvard conducted for NPR finds that more states have begun to do enough testing to keep their outbreaks from getting worse, but most are still falling short.

In an about-face, Arizona's Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the state's bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to shut down for at least 30 days amid thousands of new coronavirus cases in the state.

Ducey issued the order Monday to go into effect from 8 p.m. local time, citing concern over a recent spike in new cases — including a one-day record of more than 3,800 in the state on Sunday. It was the seventh time in the past 10 days that new cases in Arizona exceeded 3,000. He also ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until Aug. 17.

The head of the World Health Organization is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up, and he criticized governments that have failed to establish reliable contact tracing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over."

"Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," he said.

A growing number of leading Republicans are publicly embracing expert-recommended face masks as a means to slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus, in the wake of more than 125,000 Americans killed by the virus.

In recent months, the topic of wearing masks has become politically divisive, despite official health guidance that they are one of the best defenses to restricting the spread of the deadly respiratory disease, COVID-19, from one person to another.

The nation's pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics' guidance "strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

Dr. Elias Zerhouni knows the dangers of infectious disease outbreaks. He was director of the National Institutes of Health in 2005 when bird flu appeared poised to become more infectious to humans. Fortunately, that pandemic never materialized, but he says it served as a warning of what was to come.

Zerhouni has been a member of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and head of global research and development for the pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

Going to the beach and seeing parades for the Fourth of July won’t be an option in Miami-Dade County, as Mayor Carlos Gimenez will be signing an order to close all beaches and ban large gatherings during the holiday weekend.

Remdesivir is used in a hospital to treat COVID-19
WMFE

The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries.

Gilead Sciences announced the price Monday for remdesivir, and said the price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. It will sell for far less in poorer countries where generic drugmakers are being allowed to make it.

Mamie Brown is getting up earlier than ever these days.​

"A typical day for me starts about 4:30 to 5:00. I actually naturally wake up. I think part of that's my anxiety right now," she said. "And then when I do, very first thing in the morning is catch up on to-dos around the house and paperwork."

She's a self-employed lawyer in Fairbanks, Alaska, specializing in helping small businesses with things like contracts and HR issues. But now she and her husband are juggling work and their kids, ages 8 and 4.

Florida’s ban on serving alcohol to people in bars will be reevaluated daily, the state’s top business regulator said in a series of tweets over the weekend that also offered apologies for the crackdown.

Packed Bars Serve Up New Rounds Of COVID Contagion

Jun 28, 2020
Beer mugs toasting
Hannah Norman / KHN Illustration / Getty Images

As states eased their lockdowns, bars emerged as fertile breeding grounds for the coronavirus. They create a risky cocktail of tight quarters, young adults unbowed by the fear of illness and, in some instances, proprietors who don’t enforce crowd limits and social distancing rules.

The consumption of alcohol at Florida bars was suspended Friday as Florida reported nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period.

Florida on Saturday reported yet another alarming surge in coronavirus cases, with a total of 9,585 new infections, marking a new daily record high for the state.

Twenty-four more people statewide died from COVID-19, bring the total death toll in Florida to 3,390 since the pandemic began, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Florida health officials reported more than 8,500 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, the fifth straight day the number of new cases surpassed 5,000.

About 76 percent of the state’s hospital beds and about 79 percent of adult intensive-care unit beds were occupied Friday as Florida faces a continuing surge in COVID-19 cases, according to information posted online by the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Two More Inmates Die Of COVID-19

Jun 28, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida skyrockets, Department of Corrections officials reported Friday that two more state inmates have died of complications from the novel coronavirus.

The recent deaths bring the toll of inmate fatalities in Florida’s prison system to 23.

The chief executive of Sarasota Memorial Hospital said Friday it’s “scary” how fast COVID-19 cases are rising and that younger patients are increasingly among those hospitalized.

After seeing the number of COVID patients at the hospital dip to eight in May, and even a brief period when the intensive care unit had no COVID patients for a few days, CEO David Verinder said the outlook has worsened.

State tax revenues showed little improvement in May as the  economy continued to suffer heavy damage from the coronavirus pandemic, a new report shows.

Hillsborough County officials are reporting a 61 percent increase in coronavirus cases from a week ago.

Close to one in five of people tested have been positive the past seven days.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic reached a new milestone on Sunday, with confirmed deaths surpassing half a million around the world and the number of confirmed cases topping 10 million.

As the number of new coronavirus cases spikes in several states across the U.S., governors, county officials and business owners have been crafting laws and guidelines that mandate the use of face masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But even a simple cloth face covering has become political.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Public health experts overwhelmingly agree that one of the best ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus is to wear a mask. Still, the seemingly straightforward recommendation to secure a covering over one's nose and mouth has proven one of the pandemic's more partisan issues.

The Department of Justice is now warning that a card circulating online is falsely claiming its holder is lawfully exempt from wearing a mask.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Residents and staff of long-term care facilities account for at least 40% of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus. In reaction, nursing homes have banned family visitors, scrambled for scarce personal safety equipment, and attracted scrutiny from state and federal lawmakers.

What's received less attention is that many nursing homes have remained virtually COVID-19-free. If researchers could figure out what made the difference, that could help protect nursing home residents now and in the future.

But so far, their studies have drawn wildly different conclusions.

Airlines Want Flyers To Feel Safe, But Grab Bag Of COVID Policies Adds Turbulence

Jun 26, 2020
Tampa airport airline passengers with face masks for protect from coronavirus.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Tony Scott boarded an American Airlines flight May 25 from Los Angeles to Dallas. It was a trip he felt he had to take despite concerns about the coronavirus. His son, who lives in Texas, was having health problems.

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