About the Coronavirus Pandemic (Updated November 21, 2020)

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.

Virtual Activities

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.

In-Car Activities

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.

Outdoor Activities

In September, we started Outdoor activities with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. Click on the Events menu item to view them.

When Will We Resume Conventional In-Person Social Activities?

As we mentioned, we resumed "in-person" Outdoor activities in September. 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.

We don't expect to resume indoor activities until sometime next year at the earliest. Conventional In-person interactions without some form of COVID-19 measures, realistically, may not happen until 2022, even with vaccines.

Recent Vaccine News:

On November 20, 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted an Emergency Use Authorization request with the FDA. Moderna is expected to submit its Emergency Use Authorization request by the end of November. The head of the White House Operation "Warp Speed" said that a panel of outside experts is scheduled to meet on December 10 to discuss the Pfizer vaccine, and would convene on December 17 to discuss the Moderna vaccine. If the panels approve the requests during the respective meetings, approval could occur as soon as the next day, or December 11 and 18, respectively. In the best-case scenario, selected first-line health workers may start to receive vaccinations before the end of 2020.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca are also close to asking for approval, perhaps next month.

Each vaccine has different storage and transportation requirements. Pfizer has the most stringent temperature storage requirements. Oxford has the least strict requirements. Moderna falls in between. All three vaccines require two doses, and 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. A Gallup poll conducted on November 17 indicated that only about 58% of the population is willing to take a vaccine, but confidence is trending upward. 

Of course, the pandemic is global, and it is not sufficient to merely adequately vaccinate Americans. To resume conventional interpersonal relations in the USA with minimal risk of new outbreaks will require a global solution. Likely, that will not occur until sometime in 2022.

The following are Graphs and Analysis.

Click here to jump to the Summary.

Graphs of pandemic status and analysis as November 21, 2020.

The graph below shows actual daily confirmed cases in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic through November 21, 2020.


The graph above shows the first peak in new cases occurred on April 4, 2020.  The all-time peak of over 15,000 cases occurred on July 11, 2020. It was almost 1200% higher than first peak in April.  Since the record peak, cases declined in August and have leveled off in September for an average of 2600 cases, or twice the first peak. Then in October and November case growth became exponential again.


The graph above represents the situation in early May, 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. 

Outbreaks following the relaxation of restrictions


The above graph shows daily confirmed cases since the outbreak of coronavirus through November 21, 2020. 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 an all-time peak in July.

The Governor further removed restrictions when on September 25, when he enacted Phase 3. Again that was immediately followed by another exponential increase in cases.

In addition, public gatherings of vacationers and demonstrations by protesters show instances of inadequate social distancing in large crowds. Many members of the public, particularly younger Floridians, viewed this easing of restrictions as a signal to dispense with adequate social distancing.

After reaching an all-time record of 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.



The above chart shows daily tests to date since the outbreak of coronavirus through November 21, 2020. As can be seen, despite having made excellent progress in initially ramping up testing through the middle of July, following that there was a significant downward trend in testing. Therefore, most of the decline in daily cases shown in earlier graph was caused by a significant reduction in testing and was not due to a substantial drop in infection rates.


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-August, but then declined during August. Following that the rate leveled off and is now trending upward.

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 and averaged about 100 daily deaths. In November the death rate began trending upward again. 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

The IHME model makes multiple projections based on three different scenarios.

Current projection (What the modelers think will most likely happen)

They assume that the trend of easing mandates will continue at its current trajectory. 

Mandates easing (Worst case scenario)

This scenario assumes that the current pattern of easing social distancing mandates continues, and new mandates are not imposed.

Universal masks 

This scenario calculates what would happen if 95% of the population always wore a mask when they were in public. 

Actual daily death smoothed as of November 16, 2020: 61

All three scenarios project the same daily death rate smoothed of 75 up to December 2, 2020, then they diverge. 

The Mandates easing worst-case scenario, assumes that, regardless of the death rate, there will be a continuation of restriction easing. It is currently projecting that the daily death rate will rise to 90 by March 21, 2020 under this scenario.  

Current projection scenario is forecasting 74 daily deaths by March 21, 2020. 

The Universal masks scenario assumes a statewide mask mandate. This scenario projects a 26 daily deaths by March 21, 2020. 

Below is the current IHME model displaying actual and projected deaths per day.  


Source:

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 November 23, 2020). Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, Institute Director.


So, what does this all mean?

Our club's future in-person social engagement will be guided by the best science available to us. We will be using the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) computer model to assist in planning the timing of our upcoming face-to-face events. More importantly, we will continue to monitor actual data.  

We will be resuming "in-person" activities in phases.

    • In September, we resumed "in-person" Outdoor activities with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. 
    • Next year we will consider certain Indoor activities with appropriate measures. If warranted, those measures may include proof of vaccinations or point-of-care COVID-19 testing.
    • We don't expect a resumption of Conventional In-person interactions without COVID-19 measures until virtually all of the population is vaccinated.

You may ask, "Why not just resume in-person activities consistent with the governor's timetable for reopening businesses?" Unfortunately, those prior actions continue to result in significant resurgence in cases.

New infections rebounded rather than the consistent decline in May that we observed before the easing of restrictions. Public gatherings of vacationers and demonstrations by protesters show many instances of inadequate social distancing. The reopening of schools and higher learning institutions has resulted in new outbreaks.

In the absence of a widely distributed, proven vaccine, it is prudent to wait for near-zero new confirmed cases before resuming Conventional In-person activities without COVID-19 measures in place.  

You may think that waiting for near-zero new confirmed daily cases is being unduly cautious. Here are some statistics to put things in perspective. Even though there have been about 6.9 million tests, about 68% of the Florida population remains untested. Thus, about 15 million people have not been tested. The daily Florida infection rate averaged 18% during the last 14 days. The CDC's best estimate based on research shows that 40% of people with COVID-19 were unaware they have the virus.

Therefore, there could be about 2.6 million untested infectious people in Florida. Of them, more than 1,000,000 people are walking around carrying the virus without knowing it. These are conservative figures since people testing negative are not immune from catching the virus later.

Despite this sizeable invisible danger, Floridians are no longer being asked to limit movements outside the home. On the contrary, the White House and the state government are encouraging the opening of schools even though school-age children have more than twice the general population's infection rate. Many of those that have started circulating, including children in school, will unknowingly be carrying the virus to their families, friends, and coworkers.

So, before resuming Conventional In-person club events without COVID-19 measures in place, with more than a million untested people invisibly infected and mobility increasing, it isn't unduly cautious to wait:

    • for new daily cases to reach near-zero levels
    • for the Positivity Rate to stop trending upward and be much lower
    • for new daily deaths to stop trending upward and be much lower
    • For widespread vaccine inoculations

For graphs and analysis of the data, click here for Graphs of Pandemic Status.

Stay well.


Larry Chanin

President, Florida Tesla Enthusiasts

email: lfchanin@gmail.com

Website: teslaownersflorida.org

Facebook: Florida Tesla Enthusiasts


Hopefully, in response to this resurgence, the Governor and local governments will take action to slow down or reverse further easing of restrictions. Such action may restore the decline in infection rates sufficiently to permit us to attend our next planned in-person event scheduled for September.

Florida Tesla Enthusiasts, Inc. is an enthusiast club and 501(c) 7 non-profit organization. It is registered with the Florida Department of State and is also registered to do business in Florida as Tesla Owners Florida.

The use of the trademarked name "Tesla" in our club names is strictly for the nominative purposes of description and identification as granted by the Lanham Act for fair use of trademarks. Its use is in no way intended to imply any business affiliation with Tesla or its subsidiaries.

Our club is an official partner of the Tesla Owners Club Program. While it is recognized and sanctioned by Tesla through the program, Florida Tesla Enthusiasts, a/k/a Tesla Owners Club of Florida, is an independent enthusiast organization and is not affiliated with Tesla or its subsidiaries. TESLA, MODEL S, MODEL X, MODEL 3, POWERWALL and the “TESLA,” “T” and “TESLA and T Flag” designs, and certain other marks, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Tesla Motors, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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