October 24, 2020

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 10/15/2020

Is Florida misleading with its key COVID statistic?

Florida has obscured the true extent of its COVID-19 pandemic by using a misleading measure of positive cases to justify reopening schools and businesses, state data indicates. While Florida has publicized that its “positivity rate” has regularly fallen below 5%, other health organizations are publishing data that shows the rate may be dramatically higher. Independent experts, including Johns Hopkins University, consistently list Florida’s positivity rate at 10% or higher, twice the recommended level for widespread reopening. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Former political consultant Sally Bradshaw is a Florida Icon

Former adviser to Jeb Bush, Sally Bradshaw tells how she got her start in politics and why she left: “My mom was volunteering at a political campaign one day after school – I was probably in the 10th or 11th grade – and I went with her to sit and do my homework, and they actually let me make some calls at the phone bank. I became completely hooked on the concept that you could have a conversation with someone about specific policy issues and specific candidates and talk substance and convince someone to support the candidate of your choice. I became obsessed with politics and began volunteering for campaigns.” [Source: Florida Trend]

Cruise cancellations further damage Florida's struggling tourism industry

As cruise lines extend cancellations, Florida's port-of-call cities, including Tampa, continue to take economic hits. This month Norwegian, MSC, Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines have canceled voyages through November, and some companies like Carnival Cruises are holding off passengers through early 2021. Fewer people mean less money flowing into the Bay Area economy, and tourism leaders said cruises are a selling point for Tampa. [Source: WTVT]

Central Florida's film industry excited about 'The Right Stuff'

Despite the pandemic, the Central Florida film industry is still attracting movie and television productions. And with a new series out, they say it will only get better. As The Right Stuff streams on Disney+, the local industry is reeling with excitement. Space Coast Office of Tourism, Film Commissioner Meagan Happel explains, "It’s an absolute thrill to have the Space Coast on TV nationwide. Especially on something as well respected as Disney Plus." [Source: FOX 35]

Best places nationwide to retire: Florida cities again dominate U.S. News’ list for 2020-21

Florida cities once again swept the U.S. News list of best places to retire in the nation for 2020-21, with Sarasota coming out on top in the newest rankings. The Gulf Coast city about two hours from Orlando was lauded for its “award-winning beaches and a thriving arts and cultural scene.” Sarasota is known in particular for the extensive Ringling complex, which includes an art museum, theater, gardens and more; and for its proximity to the popular Siesta Beach. Seven of the top 10 cities on the list are in Florida. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Tampa getting another women’s Final Four, men’s Frozen Four
Seven months after losing the chance to host an opening weekend of March Madness due to the pandemic, Tampa has been granted some amends. In quadruplicate. The NCAA on Wednesday announced its championship sites for a four-year stretch (2023-26), with Amalie Arena being awarded four prominent events. Among them: the 2025 Division I Women’s Final Four.

› Highways nightmare stalls massive American Dream Mall
Delays in the completion of freeway interchanges that will provide access to American Dream Miami, a mammoth entertainment and retail complex to rise in Northwest Miami-Dade, could push back the opening for about a year. “Our development agreement stipulates that the interchanges have to be in place before we can open, so we are tied to that,” said Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a land-use attorney at Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr who represents Triple Five Group, the project’s developer.

› JAX Chamber names Carlton Robinson as chief innovation officer
JAX Chamber announced Oct. 14 that it named Carlton Robinson as chief innovation officer and he will lead the Venture Services Division. Robinson has been vice president of entrepreneurial growth. He founded and launched the chamber’s JAX Bridges program, an entrepreneurial education program that the group said has served 1,800 business owners in its six years of operation.

› Bradenton Area River Regatta, Manatee’s largest spectator event, is canceled because of COVID-19
The largest spectator event in Manatee County will not take place next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Bradenton Area River Regatta that would have taken place in early February has been canceled, with organizers citing an abundance of caution surrounding COVID-19. The event, featuring powerboat racing on the Manatee River and other family-friendly activities, will return in 2022.

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home
Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home

A family in Palm Harbor recently found a rare creature in their home – a two-headed snake. FWC researchers said the phenomenon is named bicephaly – an uncommon occurrence that happens during snake embryo development. When two monozygotic twins fail to separate, it leaves the heads conjoined onto a single body.

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