About the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID graphs as of January 1, 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.

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.

Vaccine News:

National

Summary: (As of December 30, 2020.)

The Federal Government had hoped to have vaccinated 20,000,000 Americans by the end of 2020. As of December 30, 2020, 12.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed to the states and only 2.8 million people received their first dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Federal health officials said in a news conference on December 30, 2020,  that they did not have a clear understanding as to why only a fraction of the doses that had shipped have not been administered. If this slow rollout were to persist it would take several years to inoculate the population at the current rate. 

Florida is the third U.S. state to announce it has a case of the more contagious coronavirus strain that first emerged in the United Kingdom.  The strain is 50 to 70% more transmissible when face masks and social distancing are not being practiced.  There is no evidence to suggest the variant is more deadly, or impervious to the vaccines that are being administered.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Developments

Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have 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. However, dosage mistakes made that impossible for USA approval even though the United Kingdom has recently approved this vaccine.  

At a press conference on December 14, 2020, the chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed said that the first efficacy readout of AstraZeneca's vaccine could come in the second half of January. He estimated the company could potentially file for emergency use later in February.

He also stated that Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, which would require a single dose, could also be reviewed by the FDA in late January for emergency use authorization.

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.

On December 26, 2020, the New York Times reported:

In polls by Gallop,  the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center, the portion of people saying they are now likely or certain to take the vaccine has grown from about 50 percent this summer to more than 60 percent, and in one poll 73 percent — a figure that approaches what some public health experts say would be sufficient for herd immunity.

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. According to Bill Gates, an expert in this area, with distribution of the vaccines, infections may start to abate by June 2021, but it is likely, that the resumption of conventional interpersonal relations will not occur until sometime in 2022. 

Florida Vaccination Plan

Summary (As of January 9, 2020.)

According to the CDC as of January 9, 2020, 1,355,775 dosages were distributed to Florida, and 402,802 vaccinations were given. So, 30% of number distributed were administered and 1.9% of the Florida population have been inoculated.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Developments

On December 23, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-315. It prioritizes the first phase of vaccinations as:

  • Long-term care facility residents and staff;
  • Persons 65 years of age and older; and
  • Health care personnel with direct patient contact.

Hospital providers, however, also may vaccinate persons who they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

According to the New York Times, as of December 30, 2020, Florida was allocated a total of 1,218,300 doses from the federal government. 783,600 dosages were distributed to Florida, and 176,729 vaccinations were given.

Florida health records, show 80% of the vaccinations were given to persons under 65. The number 65 and over is expected to increase as more vaccines are distributed.

The governor said he expects Florida to get between one and a half to two million doses in January. He estimated that vaccines might become available in February for Florida's general population. He says the choice to take the vaccine will be optional in Florida.


COVID-19 Home Testing

On December 15, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first over-the-counter (OTC) fully at-home diagnostic test for COVID-19. The Ellume COVID-19 Home Test.

  • This is the first coronavirus test that can run at home without the need for a prescription.
  • People as young as 2 years old are cleared to use the test, which takes just 15 to 20 minutes to deliver a result.
  • The Ellume COVID-19 Home Test correctly identified 96% of positive samples and 100% of negative samples in individuals with symptoms. In people without symptoms, the test correctly identified 91% of positive samples and 96% of negative samples.
  • Bella Zabinofsky, a spokeswoman for the Elume, stated that each kit is expected to cost about $30 or less.
  • The Home Test uses an analyzer that connects with a software application on a smartphone to help users perform the test and interpret results.
  • In an interview, Ellume chief executive Sean Parsons said supply initially will be limited to 100,000, with plans to increase manufacturing to 1 million by the middle of next year.
  • The company will be announcing a partnership with a major retailer — such as Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart — to sell the test and create policies that would prevent hoarding by consumers.
  • The test’s price and limited availability may restrict it from frequent use.

The following are Graphs and Analysis.

Click here to jump to the Summary.

Graphs of pandemic status and analysis as January 1, 2021.

The graph below shows actual daily confirmed cases in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic through January 1, 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. 

Trend  before relaxation of restrictions


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 to January 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 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 which continues through the end of the year.  Experts have repeatedly cautioned that we may experience a "peak on a peak" during the holiday season with families tending to gather more frequently and that is what has happened with a new all-time peak of over 21,000 cases occurring on December 31, 2020. 

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.


The above chart shows daily tests to date since the outbreak of coronavirus through January 1, 2021. 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 in August shown in earlier graph was caused by a significant reduction in testing and was not due to a substantial drop in infection rates.

Some of the increases in cases that followed during September and beyond was due to partially resuming the number of daily tests particularly around Thanksgiving.  However, the infection rate was also increasing as shown in the following graph.


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 continuing to trend 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 and continues in December. 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 December 31, 2020.)

The IHME model makes multiple projections based on several different scenarios with varying assumptions.

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

  • Mask use stays at current observed levels.
  • Vaccine distribution is scaled up over 90 days.
  • Mandated restrictions are re-imposed when daily deaths reach 8 per million. 
This scenario is forecasting a peak of 182 by January 26, 2020, and then begin declining.  

Mandates easing (Based on actions taken to date, this scenario best matches Florida's situation.)

  • Mandated restrictions are never re-imposed.
  • Mask use stays at current observed levels.
  • Vaccine distribution is scaled up over 90 days.

This scenario is forecasting a peak of 256 by February 25, 2020, and then begin declining.

Universal masks 

  • Mask use immediately increases to 95%.
  • Vaccine distribution is scaled up over 90 days.
  • Mandated restrictions are re-imposed when daily deaths reach 8 per million. 

This scenario is forecasting a peak of 147 by January 10, 2020. and then begin declining.

Rapid vaccine rollout

  • Vaccine distribution is scaled up over 45 days.
  • Mask use stays at current observed levels.
  • Mandated restrictions are re-imposed when daily deaths reach 8 per million. 

This scenario is forecasting a peak of 179 by January 24, 2020, and then begin declining.

No vaccine

  • No vaccine distribution.
  • Mask use stays at current observed levels.
  • Mandated restrictions are re-imposed when daily deaths reach 8 per million. 

This scenario forecasts a peak of 191 by January 27, 2020, and then begins declining.

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 December 31, 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 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 8.6 million tests, about 60% of the Florida population remains untested. Thus, about 13 million people have not been tested. The daily Florida infection rate averaged 23.9% 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 3 million untested infectious people in Florida. Of them, more than 1,200,000 people may be walking around carrying the virus without knowing it. These are conservative figures since people testing negative are not immune from catching the virus later.

According to data released by the CDC, the number of actual coronavirus infections may average eight times the reported case rate.

Despite this sizeable invisible danger, Floridians are no longer being asked to limit movements outside the home. Holiday travel is exacerbating the surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths before a sufficient number of vaccinations can be administered.

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.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software