Tampa, Fla. — Months into the virus and with so much information, how can we all understand what’s happening?

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Jason Salemi considers helpful a centralized reporting and interpreting of data

  • Florida’s trending lower in coronavirus cases

One positive development is epidemiologists across Florida are now getting new details of how the coronavirus is affecting daycares, K through 12 schools and universities, said University of South Florida epidemiologist Dr. Jason Salemi.

Salemi is one to know about the different streams of COVID-19 data.

He has taken the recent role of making sense of this vast information by creating his own dashboard.

At times it seems reported information from local, state and federal officials is not the same. That is because, Dr. Salemi said, there's no national or state recommendation on how to interpret the information--say hospitalizations.

"For example, the state reported numbers are focusing on patients with a primary diagnosis of Covid-19,” explained Salemi. “The federal numbers, who are also reporting about Florida, are reporting any cases which are suspected to have COVID-19."

According to him, the situation in Florida is getting better.

"We see the number of people who are testing positive, new cases on a daily bases, they are going down,” he said. “Now, part of that reason is because we are doing less testing."

His dashboard gives a more detailed look at COVID-19's impact.

Many of the graphs in his report show the state passing its recent peak. This is important as schools are reopening.

"If you're looking at the numbers, the decrease in the cases is a little more pronounced than the decrease in the testing,” he said.  “Again, that might suggest that we have a little less community transmission."

Salemi said he understands the mistrust with changing metrics and benchmarks. Part of it, he explained, has to do with dealing with a new virus.

As far as reopening schools, the professor feels better today than we were several weeks ago.

But he said testing needs to be robust and urged people to continue mitigation efforts, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

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