The number of new coronavirus cases in Florida appears to be flattening, but it’s unclear if the trend will hold. Based on case data from the past three weeks and the expected exponential growth curve that epidemiologists and national public health officials are seeing in other locations, Florida should have posted somewhere in the neighborhood of 340 to 380 new coronavirus cases today.
That didn’t happen.
Out of the 1,961 test results that came back today, the state identified just 240 positive cases, while the rest, nearly 88 percent, or 1,721 cases, came back negative. Those relatively low numbers come after Florida’s Department of Health found just 200 cases on Monday, which was 44 fewer than Sunday’s all-time high. But even Sunday’s total should have been significantly higher if Florida was experiencing steady exponential growth.
The conclusion is obvious: Florida expected exponential growth curve for the virus has inarguably started to flatten out over the last several days, which has lowered expectations going forward, too (note the new, much lower trendline in green on the chart below):
The low case numbers have almost certainly underpinned Governor Ron DeSantis‘s steadfast resistance to Democrat demands that he push the panic button and lock down the state. Meanwhile, other states, many with much smaller populations, are posting significantly higher numbers of cases.
In New York state, one in every 761 residents has contracted the virus. In Louisiana, that number is one in every 3,356 residents. But in Florida, the ratio is just one out of every 14,493:
Whether or not Florida’s luck will continue to hold is the big question. It is unrealistic to expect the number of cases to go down right away, but if the number of new cases keep trickling in, and the cases we do have start to recover (which we should also start seeing very soon) what should we do about it?
Already, Democrats and special interest groups are clamoring for federal and state aid, demanding handouts and debt relief, and pressuring lawmakers to ram through emergency measures they think will help lessen the economic damage. But the surest way to fix the problem is to find a way to return to a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible. That may still be several weeks off, depending on the case numbers, but if nothing else, the current data makes a very strong case that it’s time for everyone in Florida to take a deep breath and stop assuming that the Sunshine State is going to turn out exactly like New York.
DeSantis’s measured approach, empowering state and local governments to make the decisions that are best for them, appears to be the right one. It’s not time to push the panic button and lock down the state just yet.