Florida coronavirus cases reached 36,078 on Sunday after 615 new positives and 15 additional deaths were reported in the state, the Florida Department of Health reported.

Miami-Dade has 12,775 cases and Broward 5,312. The two counties have the highest number of infected people in the state, where 1,379 people have already died from COVID-19.

In addition, Palm Beach County has 3,130 positive cases and Monroe 80. A total of 6,035 people have been hospitalized in the state during this outbreak, which does not mean that all are hospitalized at this time.

In the center of the state, Orange County has 1,434 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Hillsborough 1,281.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach are the only counties that have been excluded from the phased reopening process that will begin Monday, May 4 in Florida.

Although they will not enter the reopening process for now, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach have benefited from some relaxation of the containment measures that were in place in Florida throughout April.

The marinas, parks and golf courses reopened this week, although with requirements such as maintaining the physical distance of six feet (1.82 meters) between people and the use of masks or face masks.

Hundreds of people with yachts and towed boats sought to go out to sea this weekend and long lines formed on the access ramps to the sea.

The departure of boats is also regulated. No more than 10 people are allowed per boat and a distance of at least 15 meters must be kept between the boats.

The fines for violation of these rules are around $ 500.

According to the plan for a progressive return to normality, in Phase One that begins this Monday, most of the measures to restrict economic activity will be relaxed, but the mandatory physical distance of 1.82 meters between people and a ban on meeting more than ten people.

Except for cinemas, bars, gyms, hair salons, and other personal service establishments, all businesses will be able to open their doors in Florida starting May 4, although some will have to operate with certain restrictions, except in the southeast counties: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

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 428,189 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.

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.