Florida’s COVID-19 cases surge as Pfizer vaccine found 90% effective

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – We’re eight months since the pandemic first began in the United States but coronavirus is still surging around parts of the country, including Florida.

A new daily record of confirmed cases of the illness across the United States was reported with more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, according to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University.

In a Sunday update, Florida’s Department of Health detailed the state’s highest single-day increase of new cases since Sept. 1, with more than 6,800— which includes 63 new hospitalizations and 21 new deaths.

The state’s percent positivity currently at 8.07% and approximately one in 25 Floridians have tested positive for COVID-19.

Florida’s mortality rate per capita is the 11th highest in the country, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both ICU bed and regular hospital bed availability in the Tampa Bay area dropped below 30% over the weekend, with nearly 600 coronavirus patients occupying those unavailable beds.

Throughout the 10 counties that make up the Tampa Bay area, Citrus County had the highest percent positivity rate, surpassing 18% in Sunday’s FDOH reports.

President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday his 13-person COVID-19 advisory board comprised of doctors and scientists— many of them experts in public health— who will be charged with navigating the fight against coronavirus once Biden takes office.

The announcement came as Pfizer Inc said early trials for its coronavirus vaccine may be up to 90% effective in preventing the deadly illness.

“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, told The Associated Press. “We’re very encouraged.”

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