About the Coronavirus Pandemic (Updated October 5, 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. In October and November, we have upcoming Virtual Events with Tesla.

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. We have several exciting outdoor events on our calendar. 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. As far as Conventional In-person interactions without some form of COVID-19 measures, realistically, we don't think that will happen until 2022.

The following are Graphs and Analysis.

Click here to jump to the Summary.

Below is the graph presented by Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus task force coordinator, during the March 31st White House press conference. This model by the University of Washington estimated the number of deaths in the United States based on data available at the time. Dr. Birx explained that "It is this model that we are looking at now that provides us the most detail of the time course that is possible."

Graphs of pandemic status and analysis as October 3, 2020.

The graph below shows actual daily confirmed cases in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic through October 3, 2020.

The graph above shows the first peak in new cases occurred on April 4, 2020.  Notably, it shows a series of successive peaks that occurred following Phases 1 and 2 that relaxed restrictions. The all-time peak that occured on July 11, 2020 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. 

The graph above represents the situation in early May, a day or so 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 October 3, 2020.  It shows that instead of waiting a few weeks for the daily cases to return to near-zero levels, restrictions were relaxed while the infection rate was still high. 

Following relaxation of restrictions, daily new cases were no longer trending downward as shown in the previous graph. Instead, they started trending upward exponentially. 

The Governor relaxed restrictions starting on May 4, while Florida was still at relatively high infection rates. Those actions, in part, contributed to new all-time peaks which will prolong the amount of time needed to return to near zero infections. Further, both public gatherings of vacationers, as well as demonstrations by protestors, show many instances of inadequate social distancing in large crowds. Finally, many members of the public, particularly younger Floridians, have viewed this easing of restrictions as a signal to dispense with adequate social distancing. The combination of these actions culminated in a resumption of an alarming exponential positive growth rate in July.

After reaching an all-time record of over 15,000 cases in July, the number of cases trended lower during August. If this steep decline were indicative of a real decrease in infection rate, then this continuing trend would put Florida at near-zero infections by about now. (Refer to the yellow dotted line in the previous graph.)

However, as mentioned earlier, the cases remain high at about twice the first peak. In fact, during the last two weeks they have been trending slightly upward.  

The above chart shows daily tests to date since the outbreak of coronavirus through October 3, 2020. As can be seen, despite having made excellent progress in initially ramping up testing through the middle of July, since then, there has been a significant downward trend in testing. Even at these relatively low rates, testing continues to trend downward. 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 21% in mid-August, but then declined during August. Following that the rate leveled off and averaged about 11% for September.

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.

The last four days of July recorded successive records of daily deaths.  That was followed by an all-time record of 277 deaths 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. 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 two to three 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. 

The Mandates easing worst-case scenario, assumes that, regardless of the death rate, there will be a continuation of restriction easing, such as returning to in-class schooling. It is currently projecting that the daily death rate will rise to 675 by December 31, 2020 under this scenario.  

Current projection scenario is forecasting the same values as the Mandates easing scenario until November, 2020, with about 140 average daily deaths on that date. It then predicts that Florida will hit the model’s threshold of 8 deaths per million and assumes all restrictions will be reimposed. After the reimposition of these restrictions it projects 89 daily deaths by December 31, 2020.

The Universal masks scenario assumes a statewide mask mandate. This scenario projects a 137 daily deaths by December 31, 2020. 

Below is the current 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 October 7, 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 in 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 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 resulted in a significant resurgence in cases that were about 1200% greater than the first peak in April.

New infections rebounded and hit a successive series of all-time highs, rather than the consistent decline in May that we observed before the easing of restrictions. Public gatherings of vacationers, as well as demonstrations by protesters, show many instances of inadequate social distancing. The reopening of schools and higher learning institutions have 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 5.4 million tests, about 75% of the Florida population remains untested. Thus, about 16 million people have not been tested. The current Florida infection rate averaged 11% during the last 14 days. Research shows 25% to 80% of people with COVID-19 were unaware they have the virus.

Therefore, there could be about 2.2 million untested infectious people in Florida. Of them, at least 436,000 and perhaps more than 1.4 million 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 and some people have taken tests multiple times.

Despite this large 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 infection rate of the general population. Many of those that have started circulating, including children in school, will unknowingly be carrying the virus to their families, friends and coworkers.

So, with at least hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions of untested people invisibly infected, and mobility increasing, it isn't unduly cautious to wait for new daily cases to reach near-zero levels and the Positivity Rate to be much lower before resuming Conventional In-person club events without COVID-19 measures in place.

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 Motors, Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Our club participates in the Tesla Owners Club Program. While it is recognized and sanctioned by Tesla Motors 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 Motors, Inc. 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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