States will begin receiving the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in mid-December, but will make their own determinations on who will be first in line for a shot. An estimated 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine will be distributed to states and territories by mid-December, assuming it receives Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization by that point, Operation Warp Speed officials told reporters Tuesday. State officials were notified Friday how many doses they should expect to receive in the initial distribution, and they will make their own decisions about who will be prioritized for the first doses.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued another video message via Twitter regarding potential coronavirus vaccines – his second video in less than a week – as Florida creeps closer to reaching one million total virus cases. In the video message released Tuesday afternoon, DeSantis says “he has been meeting with federal officials involved in Operation Warp Speed” and has “been able to get key questions answered for Florida.” DeSantis did not say what key questions were asked nor what the answers to those questions were.
By now, the pandemic has disrupted Americans’ daily lives for nearly as long as a baby typically spends in the womb. This means that many children conceived in mid-March are weeks away from joining us in this disorienting new world, but just as notable are the children who won’t be joining us—the babies who would have been born were it not for the ongoing economic and public-health crises. These missing births, which could end up numbering in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S., will make up what’s been called the “Covid baby bust.”
MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – The number of reported COVID-19 cases has tripled in the state since Gov. Ron DeSantis reopened Florida in late September. On September 25, DeSantis signed an executive order reopening the state, freeing restaurants and bars to operate at 100 percent capacity. In the week leading up to the order, Florida reported more than 17,000 new cases. In the past 7 days, the state has reported more than 53,000 — meaning three times more Floridians have tested positive in the past week than in the week before the reopening.
About 77,000 new pandemic-related unemployment claims were filed in Florida over the past week. According to the latest data released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, there were a total of 4.718 million jobless benefit claims since the outbreak of coronavirus in March as of this week. That’s up from last week’s total of 4.641 million.
Waiters and bartenders are being thrown out of work – again – as governors and local officials shut down indoor dining and drinking establishments to combat the nationwide surge in coronavirus infections that is overwhelming hospitals and dashing hopes for a quick economic recovery. And the timing, just before the holidays, couldn’t be worse. Restaurant owner Greg Morena in Los Angeles County was trying to figure out his next step after county officials banned in-person dining for at least three weeks, beginning Wednesday.
Thanksgiving may bring the most large indoor gatherings Miami-Dade has seen during the coronavirus pandemic, and the county on Tuesday rolled out a familiar message to limit the damage: Consider staying home, avoid crowds inside and remember that eating outside is the safest route for meals. “The numbers are increasing. It’s a rising concern for our county and for our cities,” said Dr. Peter Paige, a senior administrator at the county’s Jackson hospital system who also serves as the newly appointed chief medical officer for Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
TALLAHASSEE --- Florida’s vital tourism industry could start to experience an uptick midway through 2021, although foreign travel will continue to lag for several years, according to information posted online Tuesday by state analysts. Short- and long-term outlooks from a panel known as the Florida Economic Estimating Conference indicate people, mostly from other states, could travel to Florida in close to pre-coronavirus pandemic numbers in 2022.
TALLAHASSEE --- Florida has seen a spike in Medicaid enrollment since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the agency responsible for enrolling and disenrolling people in the health-care program is swamped. Mark Mahoney, a 16-year veteran at the Department of Children and Families and director of revenue management, told state economists last week that processing Medicaid applications during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as applications for other social service programs, has been an enormous undertaking.
Florida’s legislative session may look different in the new year, as it grapples with the continued effects of the global pandemic — but Florida won’t be alone. Legislatures across the country are considering plans to meet in person or virtually, or adopt hybrid models in 2021. Some states have already made decisions, as COVID-19 cases surge around the nation. In Maryland, for example, the General Assembly plans to hold a mix of virtual committee meetings and in-person floor sessions, with restrictions on public access and implementation of social distancing measures.
Smart Cities Drive
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met virtually with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) on Monday to offer their full support in unifying the nation and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden assured the mayors that his administration will work with them on the safe and equitable distribution of vaccines as well as expanding testing capacity for all residents. "All of you have been on the front lines from the very beginning.