As the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States approaches, two of the country’s three most populous states – California and Florida – are seeing two very different epidemiological curves. Hard-lockdown California is – perhaps counterintuitively – recording significantly higher new case numbers and hospitalizations compared to the more open, less restricted state of Florida.
Florida as of this week has recorded a little over 1.5 million positive test results of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, while California has registered nearly 3 million. Per CDC figures, the two states are roughly equal in their population-adjusted case numbers per 100,000 residents, with California at around 7,300 and Florida at a little over 7,000.
The two states have arrived at more or less equal case numbers after roughly a year of divergent COVID-19 mitigation policies. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed one of the harshest lockdowns in the country over roughly the past ten months, at times ordering wholesale closures of entire industries, the shuttering of private and public schools, and a statewide mask mandate.
Throughout 2020 Newsom periodically ordered the shuttering of bars, indoor dining and other recreational businesses in counties he determined were experiencing dangerous levels of COVID transmission. In July, Newsom ordered a statewide shutdown along those lines. The state in August revealed a strict, color-coded blueprint to which counties would have to adhere in permitting businesses to open. Read more…