Florida’s moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases dropped to its low level in more than two months, after Sunday’s total of 2,583 new cases dropped the 7-day moving average to just 3,002 cases per day. And while school openings and university campuses may ultimately lead to more spread of coronavirus, there is a sign of a return to normalcy in Florida: one way aisles are gone at Publix grocery stores.
Hi Tim. We implemented one-way aisles initially to help our customers understand and practice social distancing and over time, we’ve adopted it into our routines. •Allison
— PublixHelps (@PublixHelps) August 30, 2020
The decline in new cases comes after two months of fighting off a massive surge that began spreading rapidly among college-aged youth and young adults following public protests and increased socialization among that demographic. Many health officials and media outlets reversed course to applaud protests tied to social justice after having previously condemned protests against lockdowns.
It came at a cost. The number of new cases spiked significantly, and ultimately lead to more infections among all ages in Florida, forcing Governor Ron DeSantis‘s administration to take action to reduce the spread among college students by closing bars and similar venues.
Note the sudden drop off in hospitalizations (red line, above). That line is drawn to scale in proportion to the blue line showing new cases. It took the state nearly a month after new cases began to decline before we saw a significant reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations because of the way the disease spread among age groups. By late July, even though fewer people were getting sick compared to previous weeks, a larger proportion of the new cases were among the more vulnerable older population of the state, leading to a steady supply of new hospitalizations.
Here’s a closer look at the hospitalizations and deaths in Florida:
Now that schools are underway again, most communities around the state are taking significant precautions to reduce the spread. The state as a whole is better prepared than we were back in early March, with more protective equipment and procedures in place to reduce the spread and treat those who get ill. Because of these adaptations, Florida is less likely to see the sort of dramatic surge we saw in July. We’re now better prepared to react and isolate clusters of new cases, and we now have hospitals in the state that can better accommodate a localized outbreak of COVID-19.