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The Southern Group's Hot Take 06/22/2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jennifer Bryan
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Is Florida the next Covid-19 epicenter?

After three months of lockdown, new Covid-19 cases in the US slowly trended downward and bottomed out on June 8 with about 18,000 cases per day. Since then, there has been a significant surge in new cases as states have reopened, and on Saturday there were about 32,000 new cases. We are rapidly approaching the previous record high of about 37,000 new cases set on April 24. Florida is driving quite a bit of that growth. On Thursday we set a state record for new Covid-19 cases, then broke that record on Friday, and did it again on Saturday with 4,049 cases. Both the growth rate and positivity rate had doubled in ten days. On Saturday, Governor DeSantis acknowledged that the growth rate can’t be explained just by increased testing, and additional social distancing measures may be required to slow the spread of the disease. Many local governments in Florida are now considering mandatory mask ordinances. However, there is good news. While cases have continued to grow in number, much of that growth is among younger people who are less vulnerable to the disease, and nationally deaths are continuing to trend downward from a daily peak of about 2,300 on April 16 to about 600 today.



Dust in the wind.

If you spotted a headline in the past week about Saharan dust spreading to the Caribbean and the United States, take a deep breath, this is NOT another 2020 catastrophe. The Saharan Air Layer (SAL), a dry and hot air mass which forms above the Sahara Desert between late spring and early fall, is typically the most active during hurricane season with strong winds pushing desert dust across western African and the Atlantic Ocean. The SAL and its accompanying dust can create hazy skies and respiratory concerns for at-risk individuals who experience prolonged exposure but it also has several important advantages, particularly for Floridians. It leads to beautiful sunrises and sunsets and has the added benefit of helping to hamper development of tropical storms. While this time of year is not the most active part of hurricane season, the dry air created by this dust can help increase wind shear and create downdrafts that should help impede the development of tropical cyclones, at least in the near future. In certain years, the dust can reach as far as the Amazon region in South America, where it helps to replenish nutrients in the soil of the rainforest that are depleted by tropical rains.



It's just a weird time to be a peninsula.

On the other side of the globe from Florida, eyes have turned toward India. The South Asian country is experiencing heightened tensions with neighboring China after military personnel from both nations got into a brief but brutal land skirmish in the Galwan Valley, a long-disputed border territory in the Western Himalayas. 20 Indian troops and an unknown number of Chinese died in the battle, which was gunfire-free but featured rocks, clubs and other blunt objects wrapped in barbed wire as weapons. On the civilian front, India has been rocked with an increase in new Covid-19 cases including a daily record today with 15,000. The sharp increases have come as the country lifted its economically-crippling, nationwide shutdown’ earlier this month.




FL Case Count

11.7% GROWTH SINCE 6/19
3,173 DEATHS
as reported by FL DOH


US Case Count

120,225 DEATHS
as reported by Johns Hopkins


Global Case Count

5.3% GROWTH SINCE 6/19
469,378 DEATHS
as reported by Johns Hopkins



Tallahassee Office

Leon Commission to Consider Making Masks Mandatory
Read more here →



Tampa Bay Office

Tampa Bay
Hillsborough Considers Indoor Business Face Mask Order
Read more here →



Jacksonville Office

60 Jacksonville Firefighters Self-Quarantining Due to Exposure to Coronavirus
Read more here →



Miami Office

Miami Seaquarium Has Reopened After a Three-Month Closure Due to COVID-19
Read more here →



Orlando Office

Disney World Announces More Reopening Dates for its Hotels
Read more here →



Florida Keys Office

Florida Keys
Election 2020 Head: No Challenge
Read more here →



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