About the Coronavirus Pandemic (Graphs as of April 29, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives, and club social activities are no exception. We continue to monitor the situation for current Florida-specific information and are taking action to adjust to this new reality.
As social interactions resume, considerate and responsible individuals should maintain practical, yet sensible, social distancing actions as part of the new "normal." This requirement will likely remain for many months.
In the meantime, until we resume conventional in-person social events, we continue to host virtual activities and video conferencing to exchange Tesla and club-related information.
These events are a lot of fun and involve sharing Tesla experiences and information in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.
I remain in communication with Tesla Corporate and local Tesla leaders. We continue to work with Tesla to host Virtual events.
These Virtual Meetups will be open to club members only. If you are not a member and would like to join us for virtual activities, please click on the Join Us link above.
We continue to organize In-Car activities. These activities involve meeting for parades, scenic drives, race track events, etc. Participants remain in their cars during most of the events and wear face masks with strict social distancing to maintain safety.
In September 2020, we started Outdoor activities with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.
When Will We Resume Conventional In-Person Social Activities?
As we mentioned, we resumed "in-person" Outdoor activities in September 2020. These activities require wearing face masks and strict observance of social distancing requirements. There will be no indoor group activities, and group social interactions will be severely limited. Even with vaccinations proceeding, we don't expect to resume indoor activities, with robust coronavirus protocols, until the fourth quarter of this year.
Conventional In-person interactions without some form of COVID-19 measures, realistically, may not happen until 2022.
During a town hall meeting on CNN on February 16, 2021, President Biden expressed the hope that things might return to normal by next Christmas. He went on to say: "A year from now, I think that there'll be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, having to wear a mask." He added: "I don't want to over promise anything here."
On February 21, 2021, Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease doctor, said he agreed with President Biden that “we’ll be approaching normalcy by the end of this year, and God willing this Christmas will be different than last.” However, Fauci also said that face masks — for many Americans, one of the most visible signs of abnormality — may still be necessary in 2022.
Summary: (As of April 29, 2021.)
As of April 29, 2021, total deaths in the U.S. was 572,190 Americans.
On April 6, 2021, President Biden moved up by two weeks, to April 19, his deadline for states to make every American adult eligible for coronavirus vaccination.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of April 29, 2021, 144,894,586 Americans received at least one dose, or 43.6% of the population. 101,407,318 Americans are fully vaccinated, or 30.5% of the population. (Health experts state that at least 70% of the population is needed to achieve herd immunity.)
Multiple variants (mutations) of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating globally:
FDA Emergency Use Authorization
Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna received Emergency Use Authorization and began to distribute their vaccines in December 2020.
The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca was close to asking for FDA approval in December, 2020. However, dosage mistakes made that impossible for USA approval even though the United Kingdom approved the vaccine.
In early February, 2021, a study concluded that AstraZeneca’s vaccine was largely ineffective against the aggressive variant that emerged in South Africa. Also, analysts are wondering whether inconsistent manufacturing of the vaccine for the clinical trials could give the FDA pause when considering the vaccine for emergency use.
On January 29, 2021, Johnson & Johnson announced that after completing its phase 3 testing, its vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S. at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, 28 days after vaccination. They found that it was 85% effective overall in preventing severe disease and 100% effective against hospitalization and death as of Day 28.
Johnson & Johnson asked the FDA for emergency use authorization on February 4, 2021. Vaccine advisers to the FDA meet on February 26, 2021, and recommended emergency use authorization. The FDA approved it on February 27, 2021 and the CDC issued final approval on February 28, 2021. This is the first single-dose COVID-19 shot available in the U.S. The first shipments reached the states on March 2, 2021.
However, on April 13, 2021, U.S. health agencies called for an immediate pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine after six recipients out of 6.8 million doses developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within one to three weeks of vaccination. The CDC and FDA issued a joint statement.
On April 23, 2021, after evaluating additional data, the CDC and the FDA approved the resumption of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with the addition of a warning about the remote chance of contracting a rare blood clotting disorder. The they decided against limiting the vaccine’s use by age or gender. Aided by an advisory panel, the CDC reported that it had identified a total of 15 cases, including three deaths after nearly eight million Americans, received the vaccine. It concluded that failing to use it would lead to more deaths than the clotting disorder might cause.
Vaccine Storage and Transportation Requirements
Each vaccine has different storage and transportation requirements. Pfizer has the most stringent temperature storage requirements. Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson can be stored in standard refrigerators and have the least strict requirements. Moderna falls in between. Many billions of dosages will have to be produced and distributed. In addition, at least 70% of the United States population will have to agree to take it for adequate herd immunity to be achieved.
Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People
On April 27, 2021, the CDC updated its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.
Fully vaccinated people can:
For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
Expected Resumption of Cruising out of the U.S.
On April 28, 2021, the CDC sent a letter to the Cruise Industry stating that Cruise operators could restart sailings out of the U.S. by mid-July. The letter went on to say that cruise ships can proceed to passenger sailings without test cruises if they attest that 98% of crew members and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
White House Sets New Vaccination Goal
On May 4, 2021, President Biden set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of American adults at least partially and 160 million fully vaccinated adults by Independence Day. He explained that the federal government would be shifting from mass vaccination centers to more convenient locations, such as pharmacies, walk-in appointments, rural health clinics, pop-up and mobile clinics.
Optimistic National Outlook by CDC
On May 5, 2021, the CDC released an optimistic whitepaper that said that cases could be driven to low levels and the pandemic at least temporarily controlled in the United States by July if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and continue with precautions against transmission.__________________________________________________________________________________
Florida Vaccination Plan
Summary (As of April 29, 2021.)
As of April 19, 2021, according to the latest Florida report, 8,808,680 people were vaccinated. 2,625,579 received their first does of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and another 6,183,101 people are fully vaccinated. According to Becker's Hospital Review about 29% of the Florida population has been fully inoculated.
On December 23, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-315. It prioritized the first phase of vaccinations as:
Hospital providers, however, also may vaccinate persons who they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
On January 21, 2021, the State Surgeon General issued Public Health Advisory – Prioritization of Floridians for COVID-19 Vaccinations Given in Florida. It further requires vaccine recipients to be Florida residents or a health care providers in direct contact with patients.
COVID-19 Home Testing
Beginning April 19, 2021, consumers will be able to buy rapid coronavirus tests without a prescription at three national chain retailers.
Abbott Laboratories' BinaxNOW coronavirus self-test kits will be shipped to CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Walmart locations and sold online. The two-test kit, which received Food and Drug Administration emergency-use authorization for serial screening, will cost $23.99, the company said.
Another rapid test made by Ellume will be sold at CVS stores in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for $38.99. It also can be purchased online or at most CVS stores in other states by the end of May.
These retail tests eliminate barriers for people who want to test themselves without visiting a doctor. Both tests deliver results in about 15 minutes and don't require a lab.
Expanded Vaccination Groups
Beginning March 3, 2021, Governor DeSantis expanded the groups eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida.
Eligible residents include:
As of March 5, 2021, all Florida residents 18 years of age and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as prescribed by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for persons age 16 and up and the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccines are authorized for persons 18 and up. All individuals under the age of 18 receiving a vaccine must be accompanied by a guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.
Ban on Vaccination Passports
On April 2, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 21-81. It prohibits state and local government agencies and businesses with state contracts from requiring so-called vaccine passports, or documentation proving that someone has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
As of April 13, 2021, Florida is pausing all Johnson & Johnson (Jansenn) vaccines per the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the time being.
Florida Resumes Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
On April 24, 2021,the state’s division of emergency management Florida announced it is resuming the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and that federally-supported vaccination sites will resume the use of the vaccine on April 25, 2021.
Additional Ban on COVID-19 Vaccination Certifications
On May 3, the Governor signed into law SB 2006. Embedded in this bill intended to update the state’s emergency powers during a public health emergency were provisions that prohibited COVID-19 vaccination certifications. Florida already requires other types of vaccines for students to attend public schools. Nevertheless, private businesses, schools, and government entities are barred from asking anyone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. Violators can be fined up to $5,000.
Suspension of all Remaining COVID-19 Restrictions
Also, on May 3, 2021, the Governor signed an executive order that immediately suspends all outstanding local Covid-19 emergency orders and related public health restrictions. Private businesses can still require masks and enforce social distancing and other protective measures.
The following are Graphs and Analysis.
The graph below shows actual daily confirmed cases in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic through April 29, 2021.
The graph above shows the first peak of less than 1,300 new cases occurred on April 4, 2020. The second all-time peak of over 15,000 cases occurred on July 11, 2020. The all-time peak of over 21,000 occurred on December 31, 2020. Since then cases trended downward until mid-March 2021, then began trending upward and now appears to be plateauing at around 5,000 cases per day.
The graph above is an enlargement of the first peak. It represents the situation in early May 2020, just before Phase 1 relaxing restrictions was implemented. It shows that before the easing of restrictions, there was a negative growth rate following the first peak. If the restrictions could have been maintained for a few more weeks, that negative growth rate would have resulted in near-zero daily cases by early June.
The above graph shows daily confirmed cases since the outbreak of coronavirus through to March 1, 2021. It illustrates that outbreaks in cases occurred directly following the various Phases which relaxed restrictions.
On May 4, the Governor initiated Phase 1 relaxing restrictions while Florida was still at high infection rates. That was followed by Phase 2 on June 6, which further removed restrictions. Following those actions, daily new cases were no longer trending downward, as shown in the previous graph. Instead, they started to exponentially trend upward, culminating with a peak in July.
After reaching over 15,000 cases in July, the number of cases trended lower during August. This decline in cases was not indicative of a real decrease in infection rate. During this period, testing was down by 75%. Refer to the next graph, People Tested Daily.
The Governor further removed restrictions on September 25, when he enacted Phase 3. Again that was immediately followed by another exponential increase in cases which continued through the end of the 2020. Experts correctly cautioned that we would experience a "peak on a peak" during the holiday season with families tending to gather more frequently. On December 31, 2020 an all-time peak of over 21,000 cases occurred.
Despite 29% of the Florida population being fully vaccinated, case numbers appear to be plateauing at relatively high levels.
To figure out whether changes in daily confirmed cases are due to changes in infections, or merely due to fluctuations in testing, we measure the daily infection rate. (Refer to the graph directly above.) The infection rate is also referred to as Positivity Rate. The Positivity rate is the percent of tests that come back positive. Because the Positivity rate is a percentage of tests, it is an accurate indicator of the level of infection that is independent of the number of tests conducted.
The graph shows that the infection rate peaked at in mid-July, but then declined during August. Beginning in October infections increased and peaked at the end of 2020.
Despite 29% of the Florida population being fully vaccinated, positivity averaged at about 6.5 percent over the last two weeks.
The World Health Organization has an extensive list of public health criteria to consider before reopening a community. Among them is a positivity rate of less than 5 percent in the previous two weeks. The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) also recommends following this positivity guideline.
An all-time record of 277 deaths occurred on August 8, 2020. Since then there was a downward trend in deaths during August. In September new death leveled off. In November the death rate began trending upward again and tied the peak of 277 in December. Despite improvements in treatments, deaths continued to trend upward during January 2021. During early February average deaths plateaued at near record highs. There was a downward trend in the last two weeks of February and all during March. In early April deaths rebounded and averaged at around 60 daily for the last two weeks.
The trend in death rate is an accurate measure to determine whether we are controlling the virus because it is independent from fluctuations in the testing rate. However, it is a lagging indicator and generally spikes in deaths follow spikes in cases by a few weeks.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) Model for Florida
Daily Deaths (As of May 1, 2021.)
The IHME model makes multiple projections based on several different scenarios with varying assumptions.
In general the projections look optimistic.
Current projection (What the modelers think will most likely happen)
This scenario is forecasting 5 daily deaths on August 1, 2021.
This scenario is forecasting 18 daily deaths on August 1, 2021.
This scenario is forecasting 1 daily death on August 1, 2021.
Below is the current (March 3, 2021) IHME model displaying actual and projected deaths per day.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). COVID-19 Projections. Seattle, WA: IHME, University of Washington, 2020. Available from https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections (Accessed May 1, 2021). Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, Institute Director.