NewsPinellas County


Health experts say it will take weeks to know if reopening and protests impact COVID-19 cases

Posted at 11:41 PM, Jun 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 07:42:08-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — COVID-19 cases showed an increase across the state this week and now health experts say we need to proceed with caution.

"One of the problems is that for every step that we take, we really have to wait two to three weeks to find out what the consequences of that step are," said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, USF professor of public health and infectious diseases researcher.

Unnasch says a person with the virus takes three to ten days to show symptoms and with tests running up to one week behind, current numbers reflect the spread of the virus more than two weeks ago.

"We’re really in the dark here. We don’t know how infectious this is going to be and how much a rebound there’s going to be," said Unnasch.

Unnasch says that’s why it's critical we take personal responsibility by wearing masks and practice social distancing so we don’t see cases start to multiply as they did in March.

"One misstep and you end up in a very bad place," said Unnasch.

On Saturday, St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted: “We have been closely monitoring a shift in COVID data in Pinellas and St. Pete these last few days. Meeting with #RESTARTSTPETE advisors on Monday to discuss and to help inform if any changes are warranted locally.”

"We only can make corrections that are going to have an affect two to three weeks down the line. So I think everybody should be holding their breath and praying that we actually get this right," said Unnasch.