According to experts, the impact of the mitigation actions taken in Florida to address the spread of the coronavirus should began to show up in the tracking numbers this week.
It has been approximately two weeks since Governor DeSantis issued Executive Orders aimed at blunting the spread of the coronavirus.
On March 20th an Executive Order was issued that shut down restaurants, bars and gyms through-out the state. In addition, another Executive Order put in place more stringent actions aimed at South Florida, including closing beaches in Palm Beach and Broward counties.
Medical experts indicate that it takes approximately two weeks for social distancing measures to have an impact. This means the benefits of social distancing should be evident in reporting during the first part of April in Florida.
In a recent interview, David Hutton, an associate professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and an expert in mathematical modeling of diseases and pandemic planning, explained the rationale.
“It takes almost a week or so before symptoms develop, and then it takes another few days for someone to go to the hospital, and then another few days for them to actually get tested and get their test results back,” said Hutton. “So there is going to be a natural lag or delay between when you implement successful interventions to reduce the spread of disease and when you see the actual number of reported cases peak or begin to drop.”
So what numbers should we be watching?
A decline in the rate of positive tests will be an indication of the impact of mitigation actions. These are the numbers being analyzed at the national level by the Coronavirus Task Force.
However, the timing of this impact on the reported numbers could be beyond two weeks, due to the lag in completing the testing process.
TR has begun tracking these rates for the 25 largest Florida counties. TR reported that Florida was experiencing a positive test rate of approximately 10.8% through April 4th.
Also, the number of new hospitalizations is another measure that should begin to decline after successful mitigation actions. From April 1-4, Florida reported an average of 150 new hospitalizations each day. The mitigation actions should cause these numbers to decline.