TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The two sides of the Howard Frankland Bridge depict two very different pictures of the coronavirus situation in the Tampa Bay area.
Over the last week, Pinellas County has experienced a steady decline in the daily percent positivity for new cases. The number hovered around 9% last week and then reached a new low of 4.9% on Saturday.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman praised the diligence of the community on social media, tweeting that the declining positivity rate can be attributed to “mask-wearing/enforcement” and “smart decisions by each” of the county’s residents.
According to the Florida Department of Health, Hillsborough County has also experienced a decline. The percent positivity for new cases was 17% on July 17 but dropped to 9.5% on Sunday – still more than double that of Pinellas.
So what’s the difference? One contributing factor may be the timeline of each county’s emergency orders.
Pinellas County officials issued an emergency order requiring face coverings at indoor, public spaces on June 24. It wasn’t until nearly two weeks later that Hillsborough County officials issued the same order.
Citing dozens of national and international studies, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that face coverings “are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.”
Even President Donald Trump, who has not often been seen in a mask tweeted a photo of himself in one last week, calling the act “patriotic.”
“Many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump tweeted.
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