By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – After an explosion of new COVID-19 cases all through June and July, the deaths caused by the coronavirus are starting to show record numbers as well. Yesterday recorded 253 deaths in the State of Florida, which is 36 more than the 217 record reported Wednesday.
Florida now has a total of 461,379 cases, with 6,710 deaths reported as of July 29th according to the State Department of Health. For perspective, the state has 21 million residents, and in 2019 there were 206,975 deaths, the leading causes being heart disease (47,044), cancer (45,562) and strokes (13,868) – homicides were 1,331.
However for those ready to downplay the significance of the coronavirus, in Florida last year there were only 2,703 who died from influenza and pneumonia. Also, if 253 people died from COVID-19 in Florida every day for a year, that would double the leading cause of death (heart disease) and total 92,345.
Palm Beach County has 32,696 cases with 821 deaths, and eleven new deaths yesterday. The County has 1.497 million residents and in 2019 there were 14,839 deaths, the leading causes being heart disease (3,871), cancer (3,211) and strokes (1,172).
However last year there were only 178 who died from influenza and pneumonia. Also, if just eleven people died from COVID-19 in Palm Beach County every day for a year, that would be leading cause of death with a total of 4,015.
The 21 fatalities from COVID-19 reported in Palm Beach County on Tuesday was also the highest since the State started recording in March. In the greater Delray Beach area, the total number of positive cases recorded has reached 2,169, more than double from just a month ago.
However officials are optimistic that the County mask mandate and closure of businesses at 11PM will continue to reduce the spread of the virus. City of Delray Beach Commissioner Juli Casale said last Friday, “seems the residents have settled into the fact that wearing a mask is an effective way to combat the spread of the virus.”
Delray Beach Fire Chief, Keith Tomey, said today, “The rise in deaths is in direct relation to the previous rise in new cases, so while it’s tragic, it’s not unexpected.” Adding, “I do expect that deaths will rise proportionately to the new cases.”
However he added. “On a better note, we are seeing a leveling off and even a slight decrease in new cases. For the last straight 8-9 weeks, the new cases have gone up every week. We peaked at around 80,000, and we saw 78,000 last week and 72,000 this week, so we are starting to see what we hope is a downward trend.”
Still, in the past month the state has added an average of 10,298 new cases a day, compared to an average of 3,209 new diagnoses a day in June. Palm Beach County has added an average of 618 new cases each day in July, compared to an average of 272 in June, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Palm Beach County’s Interactive Testing Map has over seventy testing sites, and can help residents find the closest private or community based testing location for them. With the possible arrival of a tropical storm this weekend the state-run testing sites will be closed Friday and Saturday.
The County is also planning to increase the fines for those who violate the coronavirus emergency executive order rules. For more information or to contact the COVID Education Compliance Team, please call 561-24COVID (561-242-6843) or email email@example.com.
Fire Chief Tomey shared, “It’s hard to say how history will write this, but I do think people not wearing masks has played a role in the spread of the coronavirus. There are statistics that show how protected a person is with no mask, wearing a mask and someone else not, with both people wearing a mask and both wearing a mask and social distancing, and that is by far the highest protection.”
To help with the devastating economic impact from the coronavirus, the City of Delray Beach provides a food assistance list where those in need can get food. From prepared meals for pick-up, grocery pick-up, food panties and even delivery options.