Weekly COVID Update 8/6: Nine on-campus cases, a letter from John Kelly, case surge continues

Florida cases continue to surge, an average of 851 cases were reported daily in Palm Beach County.

Map+of+coronavirus+hotspots+in+Florida+as+of+Aug.+6.+Courtesy+of+the+New+York+Times.

Map of coronavirus hotspots in Florida as of Aug. 6. Courtesy of the New York Times.

Gillian Manning, Editor-in-Chief

FAU

Eight students and one employee are currently positive for the coronavirus. The majority of the cases are on the Boca Raton campus; however, there is one case on the Jupiter campus. There have now been a total of 30 cases throughout the summer semester.

On Aug. 4, university President John Kelly published a letter acknowledging the statewide increase in COVID-19 cases and asking students to get vaccinated. Kelly also encouraged everyone to wear masks while on campus.

“I ask that everyone please get vaccinated. This effort is vital. We can move forward together if we work together to help stop the spread of this virus,” Kelly said in his letter

The university’s current plan is to return to normal operations this fall without coronavirus safety guidelines. FAU has not announced any changes to this plan. 

The New York Times reported that 754 cases could be directly connected to FAU within the first year of the pandemic. Of all the 54 Florida universities and colleges that the Times referenced, FAU sat in eighth place. The University of Florida was in first place with 9,914 cases in the first year.

Palm Beach County

In early July, PBC’s daily case average was 106. This week, PBC has seen an average of 851 new cases per day. Currently, 51% of the county population is vaccinated.

The newly inducted PBC School Board Superintendent Mike Burke announced that he will not challenge the executive order Gov. Ron DeSantis signed to deter schools from instating mask mandates. Burke won’t require the county’s public schools to enforce the use of face coverings. Meanwhile, PBC pediatricians report an increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases.

Statewide

Florida had an average of 18,120 new cases per day this week, compared to the 1,694 average in early July. Florida recorded 22,783 new cases in a single day, setting a national record.

The state also set the national record for hospitalizations this week. On average, more than 11,000 people have been hospitalized every day. The previous record was set in July 2020, more than six months before the vaccine became widespread. 

As of mid-day Thursday, 12,888 people had been hospitalized, beating the previous day’s record of 12,408. About 89% of Florida’s intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Forty-nine percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

As cases surge, DeSantis is fighting to keep mask mandates out of public schools. DeSantis passed an executive order which gave parents the right to choose whether or not their children wear masks in school, despite any mask mandates put in place by local school boards. The governor threatens to defund schools that impose mask mandates. However, some counties, such as Broward County, have decided to instate mask mandates regardless. 

When Pres. Joe Biden called out DeSantis for how he has managed the pandemic, DeSantis retorted that it was illegal immigrants that were the cause of the variants spreading through Florida. He argued that Biden needs to secure the Mexican border to shut down the virus. He did not provide data to support this claim. 

 

Gillian Manning is the Editor-in-Chief for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, tweet her @gillianmanning_ or email [email protected]