Over the past a week, Florida has seen it's biggest surge in cases of COVID-19. Which raises the question, are we in the second wave? Let's look at what a wave really is to answer that question.
When experts discuss a wave of a virus they look at a set of data over several months. Dr. Marissa Levine, from USF Public Health, said we have to look at things like the rate of spread, the daily death rate, and hospital resources. So for us to call this current increases in cases a second wave, we need to look at the trend of those benchmarks.
Let's start with the rate of spread. Right now Levine said on average one person is only transmitting it to one other person. If we were in a second wave the transmission rate would be 2 or 3 times higher.
Let's look at the daily number of deaths. According to the Florida Department of Health, we saw a peak in the middle of April then a slight decline. In the past couple of days, deaths have been rising but not to the same level we saw in April. So again not an indicator of a peak.
The Department of Health's numbers also show a peak for hospital use toward the end of April and the number of available resources has been pretty level. Again, not a sign of a second wave.
So are we seeing a second wave? Based on these key indicators it doesn't look like it.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released new data that predicted Florida's second wave coming in September. The thing to remember is these are just predictions and are based off of our current social distance guidelines. As things reopen, those evaluations change.
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