Florida Becomes Second State to Exceed New York's Coronavirus Count
Florida has now confirmed more coronavirus cases than New York, the early epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, in another sign that the U.S. as a whole is struggling to control the deadly disease.
Florida became the second state after California to overtake New York's case count Sunday. It had 423,855 total cases to New York's 411,736, according to Sunday afternoon figures from Johns Hopkins University reported by NPR. California, the U.S.'s most populous state, remained in the lead with 450,242 cases, while Texas was in fourth place with 391,000, according to a Reuters tally.
"What we have right now are essentially three New Yorks," White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said of Florida, Texas and California on Friday, as the Financial Times reported. "That's why you hear us calling for masks and increased social distancing, to really stop the spread of this epidemic."
BREAKING: Florida has passed New York for 2nd in total COVID-19 cases. The top 5 states by total cases: 1) Califor… https://t.co/szC6VLGFFt— Florida Coronavirus Tracker (@Florida Coronavirus Tracker)1595783193.0
New York continues to hold the lead for coronavirus fatalities with more than 32,000, according to Reuters. Florida has the eighth most with nearly 6,000.
However, deaths are rising in Florida and across the nation. California, Texas and Florida all reported record increases in deaths this week, according to the Financial Times. Florida reported 970 deaths and 3,452 hospitalizations for the week ending Sunday, up from 758 deaths and 3,021 hospitalizations the week before, the Tampa Bay Times reported. COVID-19 is by far the deadliest infectious disease in the state this year. It is currently killing three times as many people as AIDS, viral hepatitis, the flu and pneumonia combined.
Nationwide, the death toll rose by more than 1,000 for a fifth day in a row Saturday, the Financial Times reported. Deaths averaged 876 a day for the week ending Saturday, the highest daily average since early June.
The mortality increase follows a surge in cases that brought the U.S. total to over four million last week.
However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and state health officials thought new infections were beginning to plateau in the state, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Birx also told NBC news there was evidence of plateauing in Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, another hard-hit state, as The Independent reported.
It is hard to tell which state really leads in cases since the pandemic began, The New York Times pointed out. That's because New York and California both experienced outbreaks early, when testing was still limited. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published this month calculated that the number of coronavirus infections could be two to 13 times higher than the official case count.
While they are neck and neck for confirmed cases, New York and Florida represent very different approaches to controlling the pandemic, according to NPR.
New York decreased infections and deaths by late spring, just as infections began to rise in Western and Southern states.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted lockdown measures gradually and has required masks in public since April. Florida's DeSantis, meanwhile, has declined to mandate masks or impose new restrictions since most businesses were allowed to reopen in May.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said state health experts thought cases were beginning to plateau in the state. The story has been updated to note that both DeSantis and state health officials said this.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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