The week in numbers: Florida among 21 states seeing rise in COVID-19 cases as 7 vaccines race forward
The death of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police on May 25 has prompted massive protests across the globe and a renewed conversation on racism and police brutality. Around the same time, in a delicate balancing act, multiple states and cities reopened parts of their economies while still attempting to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Amid all of this, it can be difficult to track and filter through all of the COVID-19 related news to fully understand how the pandemic may be impacting different parts of the country and world. Here is a snapshot of some of the important COVID-19 numbers from this week that deserve your attention.
That’s the number of potential COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase II, also known as expanded safety trials, as of June 12.
According to the New York Times, in Phase II, “scientists give the vaccine to hundreds of people split into groups, such as children and the elderly, to see if the vaccine acts differently in them. These trials further test the vaccine’s safety and ability to stimulate the immune system.”
As of June 12, there were two vaccine candidates in Phase III, the large-scale efficacy test phase, where a candidate is given to thousands of people, according to the New York Times.
While those developments sound promising, there are still alot of steps that go into not just approving a vaccine, but also preparing it for mass distribution. President Donald Trump did initiate Operation Warp Speed in efforts to expedite the coronavirus vaccine development and distribution process, although public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci previously stated at the near start of the pandemic that a vaccine is 12 to 18 months away.
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That is the rough unemployment rate of people living in America’s Black Belt, an area that stretches from Louisiana to Virginia that is mostly populated by black individuals, many of whom are descendants of slaves, according to the Associated Press. Eight of those counties have jobless rates near or above 20%, the Associated Press reports.
Overall, U.S. May unemployment numbers were below that 20% count at 13.3, according to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while anyone can contract the novel coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously stated that that “current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups.”
That’s the number of new COVID-19 cases that Florida has reported every day since June 1, according to the state’s health department.
From May 13 through May 31, there had only been three days in which the number of new confirmed cases crossed 1,000.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in Florida has been on a decline since June 3, according to that same data. Prior to June 3, the daily death count was frequently above 30. After June 3, it has ranged from five to 21.
One of the earliest states to reopen, Florida started its initial reopening procedures on May 4 and went into its second phase on June 5.
Health officials have previously indicated that the recent widespread protests may contribute to the worsening of the spread of the coronavirus. Protests also took place in parts of Florida.
That’s the number of states in the U.S. in where there has been a reported rise in average new cases following the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to the Associated Press
While no singular reason has been determined for the rise in cases, factors such as individuals ignoring social distancing guidelines, states reopening too early, and recent protests over the death of George Floyd may be contributors.
Among those states experiencing rises in infection rates include Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas. Coincidentally, these were states in which President Donald Trump plans to have rallies, events which have garnered thousands of attendees in the past. One caveat to Trump’s rallies is that attendees apparently must agree to a coronavirus liability waiver absolving the president’s campaign of responsibility if they contract the virus.
That’s the number of people in Africa who have tested positive for COVID-19, with most of the infections occurring in the western, southern and northern parts of the continent, according to CDC data from June 12. With over 1 billion people living on the continent, that 218,229 number may not sound like much, with less than 1 percent of the overall population having been infected.
But that number may also be misleading. For COVID-19, the continent was testing on average one person per every 1,000, according to the BBC, which notes that “there are however huge discrepancies between countries,” with less affluent countries testing in lower numbers. For someone to be confirmed to have COVID-19, they need to be tested.
Africa also has deficiencies in its health care system. A blog post from the non-profit organization Human Rights Watch highlighted how the continent suffers from a lack of investment and availability of resources. Several health professionals told the organization that “inadequacies in resources are due to insufficient government investment in health, which in turn affects the ability of health workers to fulfill their duties, especially during the pandemic.”
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That’s the milestone of confirmed COVID-19 cases that the United States crossed on June 10, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
As of June 12, there were more than 113,000 COVID-19 deaths and 540,000 recoveries in the United States. Across the world, there were more than 7.5 million confirmed cases and 422,000 deaths.
The United States remains the country with the highest number of COVID-19 deaths by a significant margin. Most of those deaths have taken place in New York, the current and historic epicenter of the crisis in the U.S.
What’s even scarier than that number is that it is likely the U.S. death tally is below the true number of individuals who have died from COVID-19, according to health experts.
For example, the New York City Health Department provides a list of probable deaths for COVID-19 in addition to confirmed deaths. Probable deaths refer to when the death itself was reported having related to the virus but with no positive laboratory tests. The larger New York state, though, only reports on confirmed COVID-19 fatalities.