Miami-Dade County

‘A Lot to Be Thankful For': Leaders Hold on to Signs of Hope in Florida as Pandemic Enters Second Year

From Miami-Dade County's commission to the executive office of the governor, there is optimism about the course the coronavirus outbreak could take this year

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 After a year of largely bad news about the pandemic, year two began today with some encouraging signs.

The mood was relatively light at Friday's weekly Miami-Dade county commission COVID update, with one participant sharing his Zoom shot with his dog.

And Commissioner Javier Souto was jubilant as he held his vaccination card to his camera.

"I’m happy and honored and proud to have my vaccination card and I carry that with me," Souto said. "That’s the goal. The goal is to have everyone vaccinated here."

Everyone in the video conference strongly agreed, including the chief executive of Jackson Health Systems, Carlos Migoya.

"We’re not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot," Migoya said. "But we are starting to see a glimmer of hope."

A glimmer that he said will be bigger and brighter in three months, if the doses keep coming to various locations in the county at the current rate of about 290,000 a month.

"That means by the end of June we will have done 50% of the population in Dade County," Migoya said. "That is the magic number we need to get to to start seeing a major impact on this."

 Even sooner if, as expected, vaccine shipments increase.

Jackson has already vaccinated more than 112,000 people, including many from underserved and minority communities.

"As of this morning," Migoya said, "14.3% of our vaccinations have gone to Black patients, the highest that figure has ever been at Jackson."

 That is almost twice the rate of the county as a whole, which is 17% Black.

One more positive sign: Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking near Daytona Beach this afternoon, said the age limit for vaccines will certainly be eliminated altogether in April.

"Just think of where we were a year ago," DeSantis said. "Nobody knew anything, we had zero treatment that had been proven. Obviously, people were saying the vaccine would take years. Yet here we are. So I think there’s a lot to be thankful for and optimistic about the way forward."

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