Florida coronavirus cases hit 35,463 Saturday after reporting 735 new positives and 50 additional deaths in the state, the Florida Department of Health reported.

Miami-Dade has 12,632 cases and Broward 5,257. The two counties have the highest number of infected people in the state, where 1,364 people have already died from COVID-19.

In addition, Palm Beach County has 3,080 positive cases and Monroe 80. A total of 5,945 people have been hospitalized in the state during this outbreak, which does not mean that they are all hospitalized at this time.

In the center of the state, Orange County has 1,422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Hillsborough 1,240.

As of Friday, the city of Miami had 7,685 cases, followed by Hialeah with 1,524, Hollywood with 1,271, Fort Lauderdale with 1,188, Orlando with 1,028, Tampa with 756, Miami Beach with 706 and West Palm Beach with 580.

At a press conference this week, Governor Ron DeSantis was optimistic about the unfolding of the contagion curve by saying that “the apocalyptic scenarios we were working on weeks ago fortunately did not happen.”

In Florida, where according to the governor’s figures 21.3 million people live, “out of 42 tests (which are made of coronaviruses) a positive test, more or less.”

A total of 358,127 tests have been carried out in the state. According to the governor, about 10,000 can be done daily in different laboratories.

DeSantis said they are studying whether pharmacies can do these tests going forward.

The first shipment of antibody tests for asymptomatic individuals will arrive in Florida on May 1. They will be sent by the federal government, added DeSantis.

“If a nurse is working with patients and they do this test, they will be more protected,” she said.

DeSantis cited the recent University of Miami (UM) survey based on blood tests with asymptomatic people, to measure the antibody status.

The trial found that at least 60% of Miami-Dade’s population had the virus “probably and didn’t know it,” the governor noted.

Miami-Dade the epicenter

The number of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, the most affected in this state by the pandemic, could be 16 times higher than official test-based figures indicate, the last Friday the 24th, the mayor, Carlos Giménez, offering the results of a recent serology study.

In a joint press conference with researchers from the University of Miami (UM), Giménez explained that between 4.4% and 7.9% of the county’s population could be infected.

The UM study estimated an average of 165,000 infections in this county, with about 123,000 at the low end and 221,000 at the top range.

Around 1,400 people were evaluated in the first two weeks of the study, carried out by researchers at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UM Miller School of Medicine.

The surveillance program, also known as SPARK-C and which will continue in the coming days, aims to determine the actual rate of exposure to COVID-19 in the community, the researchers said.

Among these was at the virtual conference Erin Kobetz, professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the UM and principal investigator of the project.

However, Miami Mayor Francis Suárez says the city of Miami is not yet ready to reopen public spaces.

The economic blow

Florida may lose 11.4% of its GDP based on official mortality projections, according to a study by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC).

“Although Florida has fewer cases of coronavirus per capita than many states, it is one of the most vulnerable to its economic impacts due to the age profile and the state’s dependence on tourism,” the report said.

The damage caused by the closing of the 2020-2021 Florida budget for 91,000 million dollars, which comes into effect on July 1 and contemplates salary increases for teachers, is currently uncertain.

This budget relies heavily on sales taxes, a scheme that works when tourism is active, when hotels, beaches, and theme parks are open.

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