ORLANDO, Fla. – President Joe Biden has called on U.S. intelligence officials to further investigate the origin of COVID-19, joining other countries in asking China to be more open about the outbreak, according to the Associated Press.
China has not cooperated with the investigation, according to the AP, and in response to Biden’s call to investigate, China has accused the president of “playing politics.”
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, has said that he and others in the scientific community “believe that the most likely scenario is that this was a natural occurrence, but no one knows that 100% for sure.” Results of the investigation will be presented to Biden in 90 days, which he says will be made public.
The U.S. has been seeing a decrease in cases more than one year into the pandemic as more people are vaccinated, but countries such as Japan are still working to handle cases of the virus. Japan has a state of emergency in place until June 20, and with the upcoming Olympics, the organizing committee hinted local fans may not be allowed to attend the games as cases continue to strain the medical system, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, vaccination efforts continue in the U.S. and new data shows interest in doses have increased since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced those fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks in most settings. Since the CDC updated its mask guidance two weeks ago, the number of visits to vaccines.gov hit its second highest since the site’s launch.
As many return to normalcy, especially in the workplace, people are questioning whether employers can require COVID-19 vaccinations and they can -- with some exceptions. Employers could require staff to get vaccinated under safety measures, but an employee may have to sign a waiver or agree to work under specific conditions to limit any risk.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: As some Orange County vaccination sites close, Florida reports 2,312 new COVID-19 cases]
Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:
The Florida Department of Health reported 2,341 new cases on Friday, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,320,818 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.
Florida reported 43 new virus-related deaths Friday, bringing the death toll to 37,512 This number included the 738 non-residents who died in Florida.
As of Friday afternoon, there were currently 2,002 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
Since March 2020, 94,930 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 163 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Friday.
The percent of positive results was 3.06% Thursday out of 76,576 tests. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from the day prior. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.
The positivity rate has remained below 5% for over 10 days in Florida.
The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December 2020 on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.
FDOH reports 8,187,878 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.
As of Friday, 10,213,280 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations for Friday.
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