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Over 50,000 don’t know how they contracted COVID-19 in Florida

With the state reopening and more testing in the state, we have seen an increase in reported COVID-19 cases. Florida has now reported over 100,000 coronavirus cases, and thousands have no idea how they contracted the virus. The spread began with travel, then contact with travelers. Now, many are not able to trace how they got the virus at all.

Data Florida Department of Health released Monday shows more than 50,000 people can’t pinpoint how they contracted the coronavirus or who spread it to them.

“I think it’s kind of odd that you don’t know where you’ve gotten it from,” said Laura Thomas in Lehigh Acres.

“It’s very like hard to find where you get it from because there are people who can be asymptomatic and not know where they get it from,” said Alexis Mercado in Fort Myers.

Dr. Bindu Mayi, a microbiology professor at Nova Southeastern University, says asymptomatic cases are a big reason why many people don’t know how they got the virus, especially with reopening bringing more people out of their houses.

“Now, the chance of us getting exposed to people who have the infection that are asymptomatic has gone up compared to what we’ve been seeing in the past,” Mayi said.

But, even with the increased risk, many say they are still happy to be out and about.

“I figure, if you want to be safe, you can be safe,” said Robert Stevens who was visiting Southwest Florida. “Wear a mask if you want.”

“We all have to live our lives,” Thomas said.

Mayi told us she thinks the increase in numbers is a direct reflection of the lack of social distancing. Southwest Florida accounts for nearly 9% of all of the positive cases in Florida and over 10% of all the deaths.

And Dr. Mayi said she hopes people will live their lives safely, with social distancing, sanitizing and masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The only way we can prevent transmission by asymptomatic individuals is by putting prevention in place,” Mayi said.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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