Wednesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
‘It could be a double whammy.’ Florida scientists worry about Brazilian variant
As the pandemic continues to worsen around the world, scientists are grappling to better understand spin-off versions of the COVID-19 virus — and one of the latest strains poses a particular threat to South Florida. The little-understood “P1” strain of the COVID-19 virus, known as the Brazilian variant, contains two of the mutations that have researchers worried: one that is thought to increase the infectiousness of the virus and one that is thought to aid the virus in escaping a potential target’s immune system, which would have implications for vaccines. More from the Miami Herald.
Florida could expand government use of drones
The use of drones by Florida law enforcement and government agencies could be expanded under a bill approved by a Senate committee on Tuesday. State law prohibits law enforcement from using drones to gather information, with limited exceptions. The bill unanimously approved by the Criminal Justice Committee would expand those exceptions to allow use of the devices for gathering evidence at a crime scene or traffic crash or to assist with traffic control. More from the AP.
Florida National Guard General warns troop demand may soon outgrow supply
The Florida National Guard’s top-ranking general cautioned lawmakers on Tuesday that the nation’s growing demand for more Guardsmen may soon overwhelm their ranks. Amid an ongoing COVID-19 response, continuous worldwide deployments, and an approaching hurricane season, Adjutant General James Eifert warned that troops are in short supply. More from Florida Politics.
Citizens Insurance raises rates so you will (hopefully) buy elsewhere
Customers of state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. should prepare to pay more to cover their homes and businesses. And customers who are new to Citizens could soon be required to pay much higher rates. The reason: The folks who run Citizens would prefer you not be their customer anymore. The company’s Board of Governors on Tuesday approved rate increases averaging 7.2% statewide for its residential customers. If approved by state insurance regulators, the new rates will take effect on Aug. 1 for renewing customers. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville cancels April air show due to COVID-19 concerns
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels won't be flying high, low and upside down this spring at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. After what it called "careful consideration," the Navy base canceled the 2021 NAS Jax Blue Angels Air Show set for April 10 and 11. "Department of Defense Health Protection Conditions, as well as guidelines imposed by the Centers for Disease Control, and local civilian authorities, currently prevent execution of the air show," according to the Navy base. More from the Florida Times-Union.
Out of the Box
Ultra-rare whale washed up off Florida is a new species, scientists say
The animal formerly known as the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale could need a new name. The endangered whale may — upon confirmation — be an entirely new species, according to research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists have long puzzled over the whales, with fewer than 100 estimated in existence, perhaps among the rarest in the world. Examination of a skeleton found off of Everglades National Park in 2019, which was later buried at Fort De Soto Park to decompose, has led to new clues.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
You’re invited to attend Florida's Largest, Venture Capital event at the 30th annual Florida Venture Capital Conference on March 3-4, 2021. Our 30th year will be bigger and better than ever! The all-virtual conference will feature high growth company presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities providing attendees with unparalleled access on all aspects of venture capital in Florida – and beyond! To-date, Presenters successfully raised over $9B in equity capital!
Miami arts relying on intimate digital performances
Performing arts groups, theater houses and institutions are using technology to spread their work around the world, along with smaller more intimate inhouse productions. A hybrid of in-person theatrical performances and an emphasis on digital content producing and live streaming are the means Miami-Dade’s cultural arts identities are having their voices heard and art showcased.
» Read more from Miami Today.
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