A surge in seasonal illness linked to fever – specifically ‘influenza-like illness’ – has been observed in Florida, according to a ‘US Health Weather Map’ provided by smart thermometer manufacturer Kinsa in collaboration with Oregon State University. The map uses anonymized data from users to flag “anomalously high” cases by comparing it to expected seasonal flu trends (read more here).
The map shows two key data points: (1) the illness levels we’re currently observing, and (2) the degree to which those levels are higher than the typical levels we expect to see at this point in the flu season. (Details on how we calculate this are available in our technical approach document.) We believe this latter data point — which we’re calling “atypical illness”, may in some cases be connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. –Healthweather.us
Kinsa says in a disclaimer that they are “not stating that this data represents COVID-19 activity. However we would expect to pick up higher-than-anticipated levels of flu-like symptoms in our data in areas where the pandemic is affecting large numbers of people.”
In Florida, restaurants are still open. Many localities have closed beaches but there is no statewide closure or enforcement.
— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) March 20, 2020
Florida notably has a shortage of test kits, and is limiting COVID-19 testing to those who have been referred by their doctor based on CDC guidelines.
“I think to be perfectly honest the amount of supplies that were needed have caught everyone off guard,” said Carmen Wiley, Chief Medical Officer for the Veravas, a laboratory medicine company. “We have to use the materials we have judiciously.”
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 22, 2020
Three days separate these tweets pic.twitter.com/Kq9unaMajk
— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) March 22, 2020