The news you need to know
Here's the news you need to know for Monday, Feb. 21
Weekly COVID Update
A total of 68,902 Florida residents have died from a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, an increase of 1,330 from the previous week according to the weekly report from the Florida Department of Health.
The number of new cases dropped by more than half. The report showed 42,473 new positive tests for the week of February 11-17, down from 103,022 last week.
The positivity rates for new cases have dropped to 8.2%, down from 14.3% a week earlier.
As of Friday, 4,637 people are hospitalized statewide with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. That's down more than 26% from a week earlier.
Florida's abortion debate
The Florida Senate Appropriations Committee likely will take up the House bill that restricts abortions past 15 weeks today. It passed in the House late Thursday night after emotional testimonies.
Saturday will mark 10 years since Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager from Miami was shot and killed while walking back to his dad’s place from a 7-Eleven in Sanford.
His killing by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman — who ultimately was not convicted — led to protests across the country. Many say the case started the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Florida's governor race
Charlie Crist is the current frontrunner in a crowded field vying to take on Ron DeSantis this fall. However, the governor has a strong lead by Florida standards.
A new Mason-Dixon poll says Crist, who served as governor when he was a Republican, is running well ahead of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and State Senator Annette Taddeo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
In national news...
The struggle of a public option healthcare plan
Washington State is in its second year of offering the nation's first public-option health insurance plan, has learned an important lesson: If you want hospitals to participate, you're probably going to have to force them.