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Local doctor optimistic Florida sunshine could help us avoid the COVID-19 surge hitting the Midwest

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 17:37:07-04

TAMPA, Fla. — COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the Northern United States, and local experts are keeping a close eye on Florida to see if we’ll follow suit.

But one local doctor is optimistic that the sunshine in the Sunshine State may help prevent a spike.

Seasons are changing, and for many in the U.S., that means windows are closing, and people are headed indoors. But not here in Florida.

“Our winter is really those really hot, humid months of July, August, and September,” said Dr. Charles Lockwood, Dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Those are the months when Floridians hole up inside, and it was during those months when we saw our greatest surge in COVID-19 cases, but the weather is cooling off.

“Now people are outdoors; and this is exactly what happened back in February, March, while we were relatively unaffected, the North was getting clobbered, and now we’ve gone through our phase, and now they’re back to theirs,” said Dr. Lockwood.

But it’s going to take more than a little Florida sunshine to keep our cases down.

“We’re following a fairly consistent pattern, particularly in Tampa Bay, of stable infection. We’d like it to be decreasing not stable, but we’re certainly not seeing anything like we see in the northern counties of the state or the northern states of the United States,” said Dr. Lockwood.

Dr. Lockwood is optimistic that we’ll have herd immunity through a vaccine come next summer, but until then, we’ve got to stick to the basics.

“Social distancing, hand hygiene, wear a face mask, get your flu vaccine,” said Dr. Lockwood.

Then hopefully by the time July rolls around, we’ll have avoided our summer surge.