PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Models with alternating data on when Florida would reach its peak in COVID-19 deaths have been floating around.
Recent modes have indicated that we have already passed that time, but coronavirus deaths continue to rise.
It's been exactly six weeks since South Florida's busy beaches were ordered closed, the first of many sweeping measures that, seemingly overnight, changed lives, and livelihoods.
COVID 19 took hold with speedy vengeance, quickly growing from a few dozen, to hundreds and now thousands of cases statewide, in part because many didn't know they were carrying the virus.
"That's one reason," said Dr. Bindu Mayi, Professor of Microbiology at Nova Southeastern University. "Another was we were able to test more and find more cases."
Last Friday, Florida saw its highest one day increase in cases, but there also came word that a forecast model is dramatically dropping the number deaths for the state.
"The numbers that we see are based on what we have been doing so far," said Dr. Bindu, referencing social distancing and other safety measures taken by elected officials.
The biggest question people are asking is what that means for each of them, especially the most vulnerable, including senior citizens.
"Those individuals are still vulnerable because the virus is still out there, and it's probably going to be out there for a while," said Dr. Bindu. "The highly vulnerable should be doing social distancing and should wear masks when out in public."
Even if we are past the peak, the risk of a second wave is still very real.
"Any talk of coming out of our current lockdown measures need to be done with additional measures, such as widespread testing, contract tracing. Then we need to isolate the infected individuals, so they are not adding to that chain of transmission."
The bottom line is that even if restrictions are slowly lifted, public health experts have said that any mass gatherings, such as parties, weddings, concerts, sporting events and other functions with more than a handful of people need to remain on hold for weeks, if not months.