By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Numbers show COVID-19 hotspots in South Florida may be cooling off, slightly.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez tweeted Tuesday, in part, “Hospital numbers are down again, showing more encouraging news.”

The number of COVID-19 patients is now down to a little more than 1,600 in the county. But more than 400 are in the ICU, with more than half of them are depending on a ventilator.

As the US races to get a vaccine, Russia announced it has one.

“I would absolutely not be comfortable taking this vaccine. I know nothing about this vaccine. They have not shared any data,” CNN Medical Correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta said.

The medical community is skeptical.

“It’s almost a political statement. There is no test that shows this protects anybody from COVID-19,” CBS News contributor Dr. David Agus said.

University of Miami is working with a thousand volunteers for Phase 3 of a vaccine trial with maker Moderna. There are early signs of success.

A recently released study from a previous phase showed the vaccine created high levels of antibodies in animals that were tested. The study showed there were more antibodies than what has been found in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

“Most countries are doing phase 3 studies that is looking ‘does this vaccine actually protect and reduce the symptoms of COVID-19 by at least 50%,’” Dr. Agus said.

Doctors are hopeful a vaccine will be approved sometime this year – especially after trying to handle a surge in positive cases and sick people. More than 4,200 patients are in Broward County Hospitals and roughly 450 are in the ICU. It’s unclear how many specifically are battling coronavirus.

Another reason there’s a race for a vaccine is because of infection rates. Doctors around the world say they’re not sold on Russia’s claim of a vaccine as a way to slow the spread.

“I’m not sure all the data are there yet,” Agus said.

So far, leaders are leaning on facial coverings, social distancing and restrictions to get rates to drop.

Miami-Dade saw a slight increase in Monday’s positivity rate from Sunday. The two-week average is 14.31%.

Broward also saw Monday’s daily rate go slightly above 10% for the first time in a week. The two-week average for Broward is 10.4%.

When it comes to people losing their battle, Miami-Dade and Broward dealt with a combined 70 newly reported deaths.

Ty Russell

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