Florida to investigate all COVID-19 deaths after questions about 'integrity' of data

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida, which has reported the deaths of more than 16,400 people from COVID-19, now says the public may not be able to trust any of those numbers.The state Department of Health on Wednesday ordered an investigation of all pandemic fatalities, one week after House Speaker Jose Oliva slammed the death data from medical examiners as “often lacking in rigor” and undermining “the completeness and reliability of the death records.”House Democrats then blasted the House Republicans’ report as an insult to coronavirus victims and an attempt “to downplay the death toll.”The pol...

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Florida surpasses 15,000 deaths from COVID-19

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday reported that a total of 15,084 people have died from COVID-19 complications in the state.These confirmed fatalities include 14,904 residents plus 180 people from other states who died here.The bleak milestone was reached as the state reported another 139 deaths on its daily coronavirus pandemic report. Most of the deaths listed on the state’s daily statistical tallies did not happen in the last 24 hours. There is usually a lag of several weeks between the date of death and confirmation as a virus fatality.Officials on Wedne...

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Doctors see rise in limb-threatening blood clots during COVID-19 crisis

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Health experts are now encountering a rare and terrifying COVID-19 complication: plug-like blood clots in the limbs of coronavirus victims that strangle circulation. And that means you could lose a limb to COVID-19, even if you don’t lose your life. After querying 10 major hospital networks in Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel has found 26 previously unreported examples of these coronavirus-caused limb clots. These clots contributed to the death of at least six of the patients who had them. And in at least one instance, surgeons at the University of Miami report havi...

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Hurricane Isaias: Here's the meaning behind name of the storm that's menacing South Florida

A famous line from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” poses the question “What’s in a name?” And, Isaias, the name of the second hurricane of the 2020 storm season, has left many wondering just that. Isaias seems an interesting choice for the name of a hurricane considering that, according to popular name origin websites, it means “God is my salvation.” Isaias, pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs, is the Spanish-Latin derivative of the Hebrew name Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament tied to both Jewish and Christian religions. In 2018, Isaias ranked 510 among baby names in the U.S., according to Social Sec...

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Pandemic parties rage on across South Florida despite growing coronavirus crisis

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Pulsing parties in swanky South Beach mansions. Raging raves in Miami warehouses. Backyard bashes in Palm Beach manors where teenagers drink late into the night. South Florida is a world epicenter of coronavirus infections, but some irrepressible revelers insist on trying to live out the subtropical promise of fun, sin and sun — COVID-19 or not. Experts say the pandemic parties could cost them their life.A review of police records, social media accounts, and interviews with professional event planners who refuse to let COVID-19 kill the music shows that South Florida’s wo...

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Cops at Florida protest likely crossed the line with aggressive tactics, experts say

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Fort Lauderdale police may have violated use-of-force policies and heightened tensions when they hurled tear gas and shot demonstrators with rubber bullets, say law enforcement experts who reviewed videos of the chaotic encounter.The police department has yet to release any records or police bodycam footage related to the officers’ actions on May 31, when a young woman was shoved by police and at least two protesters say they were struck by rubber bullets. But law enforcement experts who’ve reviewed publicly available footage call into question:The “aggressive stance” o...

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SeaWorld CEO tells Vice President Mike Pence park could reopen in June

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida tourism leaders called for a quicker reopening and more government help in a roundtable with Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Ron DeSantis in Orlando on Wednesday, with SeaWorld’s CEO saying the park might reopen as soon as June.At the same time, DeSantis urged theme park companies to open up their water parks.The meeting came as Universal Orlando said it would be the first major theme park to present reopening plans Thursday to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings’ Economic Recovery Task Force, paving the way for that resort to reopen.Marc Swanson, interim CEO of SeaWor...

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May storms are getting more common. So should hurricane season start earlier?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The official start of hurricane season may get shifted into May in coming years, after several consecutive seasons produced storms prior to the current opening date of June 1.A low-pressure system near the Bahamas has been given a 70% chance of forming a subtropical storm or depression later this week. If it does, this would be the sixth year in a row to see a storm form before the official start date.Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, said the possibility of shifting the opening date into May is being discussed, in light of the series of pre-s...

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Loneliness vs. safety: The dilemma of nursing homes during coronavirus lockdowns

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Rosalyn Kane spends her days reading book after book in her apartment at The Palace at Coral Gables, an independent living facility. She hasn’t had a face-to-face conversation with her daughters in two months, nor has she eaten a meal with her friends. She worries about getting the new coronavirus, but she wants a social life again.“It’s been hard,” Kane said. “It’s been two months but it seems a lot longer to us.”Over the weekend, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order that extends the ban on visitors to long-term care facilities in the state for another 6...

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Careful 'covidiots': You're being watched

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Careful, “covidiots.” You’re being watched, you’re being judged, and there’s a decent chance that somewhere on social media, you’re being shamed.Venturing out in public these days without a face mask or with a less-than-perfect sense of personal space has never been more likely to get you identified, labeled and publicly ridiculed. “Covidiot” is the insult of choice on Twitter, a mashup that takes the first part of its name from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The “FloridaMorons” hashtag was also popular before beaches were closed, gaining popularit...

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Florida woman arrested after bizarre rash of porn-filled Easter eggs left in mailboxes

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The weird case of the porn-stuffed plastic Easter eggs being left in northeast Florida residents’ mailboxes has led to the arrest of a 42-year-old woman.The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office says Abril Cestoni, of Palm Coast, was taken into custody on Wednesday night.Cestoni was arrested after multiple calls were made to authorities Wednesday night regarding a female placing plastic eggs in mailboxes on Hernandez Avenue in Palm Coast.Officers patrolling the area saw a car that matched a description of the woman’s vehicle and stopped it.Cestoni admitted to putting the eggs...

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Most homeowners can skip mortgage payments for up to a year, regardless of what their banks say

Here’s some coronavirus relief your bank or home loan servicer might not be telling you:New federal coronavirus relief measures enable most homeowners with mortgage loans to put off making their mortgage payments for a full year.And once we get back to normal, those borrowers will have the option to tack those missed payments to the end of their loan terms.Your credit won’t suffer.Yet, on social media pages of some of the nation’s largest banks, consumers say customer service representatives are offering them the opportunity to skip only three months of payments, and they’re saying those payme...

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Trump's handling of coronavirus gets much higher approval from Floridians than nationwide

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — President Donald Trump is getting higher marks from Florida voters over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak than he is from Americans overall.A slight majority of Florida voters, 51%, said they approve of the job Trump is dong in handling the spread of coronavirus in the United States, with 36% disapproving and 13% neutral or offering no opinion.The numbers come from a Florida Atlantic University poll released Tuesday.Confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle coronavirus is about the same, with 52% of Florida voters confident and 31% not confident.As...

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Man who cyberstalked Stoneman Douglas parents gets more than 5 years in prison

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The 22-year-old California man who sent hundreds of obscene and threatening messages to grieving parents and survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison.The decision followed an emotional sentencing hearing in which Brandon Michael Fleury was painted as the next Nikolas Cruz by prosecutors, while the defense sought to portray him as a developmentally disabled autistic adult with little cognizance of his actions.“This is not an easy task for anyone, and it gives me no joy,” U.S. District Judge Rodolfo Ruiz said...

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141 suing over Zantac cancer concerns likely to be just the beginning

A federal judge in West Palm Beach has been assigned to deal with a legion of lawsuits leveled against a clique of pharmaceutical companies after high levels of a potentially cancer-causing chemical were discovered in one of the world’s most popular heartburn medications.Since an independent pharmacy made the discovery in September, 141 people have sued the producers of ranitidine, a drug more commonly known as Zantac-75, in federal court.That’s a lot of lawsuits.So on Feb. 6, a panel of federal judges assigned the cases to a single U.S. District Judge for pretrial matters.That’s important, be...

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