It’s February 1st 2021, how is Orange County Florida doing with Covid-19?


The 7-day average of new cases (628 per day) has fallen from the post Holiday peak, and is comparable to that of the summer surge. I am hopeful that this decline will continue.

The number of deaths per day are going up, but as physicians have learned better ways to treat patients we are not yet having as many deaths as in the summer peak.
In December 2020, Orange County Florida had an average of 3.35 covid-19 deaths per day (104 total deaths). In January 2021, the average had risen to 6.7 deaths per day (208 total deaths). The summer peak (June 22nd 2020 to July 22nd, 2020)  had 6.97 average deaths per day (223 total deaths).

In the state of Florida overall, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has started to decline, indicating that we may be close to the peak of deaths.
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2 year Grid-Tie Solar System report

We have had our Grid-Tie solar system installed for a little over two years.

In 2020 (January 13th,2020 through January 12 2021) we used 15,866 kWh of power, while our solar system generated 14,877 kWh or 93.7% of our total usage.  We purchased 989 kWh from Duke Energy for $269.47 over the year of which $136.80 was the mandatory connection charge.

93.7% of energy produced by solar

[In 2019 and 2018 we used 16,695 kWh and 16,695 kWh, so our overall usage was slightly lower than in past years, mostly due to the fact that we did a lot less commuting in the electric vehicles in 2020….something was different after March…..]

Significant decrease in 2020 transportation energy usage...

Cost Calculations

We saved $1,958 in 2020 (compared to $1,886 in 2019). Given the average yearly savings of $1,922 on our electric bill, the system will pay for itself after 9 total years of operation. (After that, any savings are pure profit.)  As this calculation includes two years worth of data, I feel that it is slightly more accurate than the 9.19 year payback period I calculated last year.


Nissan Leaf (2015) Hitch Receiver – CURT 11396 Class 1 Trailer Hitch

1 1/4 inch hitch receiver mounted under Nissan Leaf
I installed a CURT 11396 Class 1 Trailer Hitch receiver onto our 2015 Nissan Leaf. The procedure was relatively straightforward, but took me around three hours (the instructions say the novice install time is 70 minutes).  If you don’t already have a jack and set of jackstands, I’d recommend buying a set of auto ramps for this procedure, as it doesn’t involve the wheels/tires.
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AT&T Uverse (DSL) vs Spectrum Cable Modem (Orlando, FL)

At my house, we have two options for wired internet. AT&T Uverse (copper wires DSL modem) “Internet 25” (their slowest option), or Spectrum Internet (via Cable modem). Unfortunately, AT&T Fiber is not an option at our location because the FCC does a poor job incentivizing competition.

AT&T Uverse (DSL) speedtest

The AT&T DSL modem option is the cheapest  (even including their $10 a month DSL Modem / Wifi router rental charge, which you could avoid by buying your own). Notably, the upload Mbps is almost as good as Spectrum’s basic internet. 30 Mbps down obviously isn’t as good as 57 Mbps that I can get from Spectrum, but as we only stream to a single TV and don’t do a lot of downloading, it’s plenty. [Also, every year Spectrum raises their rates by $5 a month.]

Spectrum Cable Modem basic internet speedtest

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New (Refurbished) Glowforge

I received one of the original Crowd Funded Glowforge laser cutters  (oh, sorry, “3D laser printer”) in November of 2017. Other than the lid glue detaching from both the front handle and rear hinges in 2019 and 2020, it has worked very nicely. However, I did notice that the power of the unit was gradually decreasing over time in 2019 (I had to use higher and higher power settings to cut through the same wood).
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It’s January 3rd 2021, how is Orange County Florida doing with Covid-19?

Seven day averages of new cases and new deaths in Orange County FL.

The 7-day average of new cases (848 per day) has reached levels only seen at the peak of the summer surge, bringing us firmly into “2nd wave” territory. There were dips in reported cases around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as many testing sites were closed, but it is clear that these holidays drove a continuing increase in infections.

The number of deaths per day are going up, but as physicians have learned better ways to treat patients we are not yet having as many deaths as in the summer peak. (Also, deaths lag infections by several weeks, so I expect these numbers to increase.) 
In November, Orange County Florida had an average of 2.87 covid-19 deaths per day (86 total deaths). In December 2020, the average had risen to 3.35 deaths per day (104 total deaths).  This is still 50% of the deaths reported in the summer peak (June 22nd 2020 to July 22nd, 2020) which had 6.97 average deaths per day (223 total deaths).

In the state of Florida overall, the total number of people hospitalized for covid-19 is slightly over 6,000 (but rising), while the summer peaked at almost 10,000. The deaths per day is also currently lower than the summer peak.

Hospitalization and Death trends for the entire state of Florida. (Hospitalization data was not reported by the Florida DOH until July 10th.)

Percent Positivity
The percent positivity metric has been above 6.55% in 14 of the last 14 days, indicating that community spread is not under control.

How many people have been vaccinated

The Florida department of health reports that as of January 3rd 2020,  19,356 Orange County residents have received their first dose (out of two) of a COVID-19 Vaccine. 

This is 1.3 % of the population (primarily front line healthcare workers and residents of long term care facilities) who have begun the vaccination process.  [Note that full protection is not achieved until two weeks after the second dose, but some protection begins to appear within 10 days of the first dose.]

How many people have been infected

The US Census bureau estimated that Orange County Florida has a population of 1,393,452 people (July 1st, 2019).   The Florida Department of health reports today that  78,512 cases of COVID-19 (confirmed by either a positive PCR or Antigen test result) have occurred in Orange County so far.   That means at least 5.6 percent ( 78512/ 1393452 = .05634352 ) of the population has been infected. The actual percentage is likely to be much higher as many asymptomatic cases may never be detected.

How many people have been hospitalized or died

Of those confirmed infected, 1,953 or  2.5 percent ( 1953 / 78512  =  .02487517) have been hospitalized, and 750 have died.  The death toll is currently 0.96 percent of all detected cases ( 750 / 78512 = 0.00955267).

Florida average percentages for hospitalizations and deaths are 4.7% and 1.6% so Orange County has done better than the rest of the state of Florida for hospitalizations and mortality so far.

Median Age of the infected

Last month the median age of those infected was 35, while 42 was the median age over the last 7 days.  [The median age of Florida residents is 42.2 ] While infections had trended towards the younger demographics in Sep/Oct/Nov, it appears that the age profile of those infected is now matching that of the overall population.

Orange County Schools
Orange county schools closed for winter break after December 18th. On November 27th they had 1,154 confirmed cases, while they had 2,096 on December 18th, a gain of 942 cases.  School will resume on January 4th.  The number of cases in the K-12 schools has reflected community spread primarily outside of the schools, which did not appear to be a major driver of new infections.

Predictions for January:
Case numbers have risen quickly in December. I expect them to continue to rise, especially in the next 7 days after New Year’s eve festivities. I expect the numbers for hospitalizations and deaths to increase in January.

I do not anticipate enough vaccinations to occur in January to have a significant impact on the number of new cases, which I expect to stay at or above current levels. However, I hope to see deaths begin to drop near the end of February as the most vulnerable population (those over 65) are prioritized for vaccinations.

[Charts/Numbers used can be found in this open document spreadsheet:  orange_county_florida.ods ]

2017 Kia Optima Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Missing maps SD card fix

When we bought a used Kia Optima PHEV (off lease) it was missing the Maps SD card that plugs into the infotainment unit, so the onboard maps & navigation did not work. Given that every phone now comes with multiple GPS navigation & mapping options, this wasn’t a deal-breaker, but I was worried that this would be a very expensive dealer only purchase if we ever wanted to get it working.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that Kia will sell and ship you an SD card with updated map data and infotainment software for only $25!
The magic website is easy to find:

I was even happier to find out that if I didn’t want to pay the $25 and wait for shipping, I could buy my own 32 GB Class 10 SDHC UHS-1 card (For $10), download their (Windows or Mac only) software and use it to write the data out to the card myself at home!

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1-3 year old Electric Vehicle and Plug in Hybrid EV shopping impressions in 2020

Today we went shopping (at OffLeaseOnly Orlando) for an new commuter vehicle for Val (replacing her 2015 Nissan Leaf, which will become my vehicle.)  We wanted an EV with significantly more range than the Leaf (which is around 80 miles now), or a Plug in Hybrid that could do most if not all of Val’s 20 mile commute on battery power, but use gas for longer trips.  I was most focused on the Chevy Bolt EV or Chevy Volt Plug in Hybrid, of which OffLeaseOnly had multiple units in stock, but we were lucky enough that they also had several other options to try out on the 1-3 year old used “off lease” market. [Because the uncomfortable drivers seats of the Bolt & Volt knocked them out of the running.]

All of the plug in hybrids we drove had almost no charge in their batteries when we took them off the lot for a test drive, so we got to hear/experience their gas engines relatively quickly. The Bolt & Ioniq EVs had enough charge for a test drive, but were at the lower (20-40%) end of their capacity. (Off Lease Only had 4 EV chargers on their lot that we could use to test the J1772 Level 2 charging port, or top up any EV we decided to buy while we did paperwork.)

Presented below are brief notes about the vehicles we test drove (rank ordered by how likely we were to buy them).

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Upgrading Ring Video Doorbell (gen1) to Ring Video Doorbell (Gen2)

Back in 2015 I bought a 1st gen Ring Video Doorbell. In 2018 Ring replaced it under warranty after it stopped responding. Two years later, I started having issues with the internal battery not staying charged, even though I had it hard wired with power from an AC doorbell transformer. This resulted in me having to take it off the wall to recharge via the USB plug periodically.  Ring offered to give me a 35% off code to replace it, making the Gen2 ring video doorbell a 65$ purchase, so I decided to upgrade. [Moving my Gen1 video doorbell elsewhere where it will activate less frequently and hopefully not need manual recharging as much.]

Ring’s Website currently has a nice description of the difference between the Gen1 and Gen2 Video Doorbell units.

The big gain is in image quality. The Gen2 camera is noticeably better, both with a higher resolution and with better low light performance. The field of view in the Gen2 unit is reduced (155 horizontal and 90 vertical, vs 180 horizontal and 140 vertical for the Gen 1 unit) and while I can tell the difference in visible area, I don’t feel like I’m losing any useful coverage. The difference between the 1080P (Gen2) and 720P (Gen1) is a clear and welcome improvement. In addition to the higher resolution, I feel that the lens is better and produces a sharper image. (Click on the images below to get full sized views as shown in the phone app.)

Gen2 – Day

Gen1 – Day

The improvement at night is even more striking.

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