TAMPA, Fla. — Florida now accounts for 20 percent of all new coronavirus cases in the U.S.

And around 14 percent of covid-related deaths.

Vaccination rates have slowed to a crawl as less than half of Florida residents are fully vaccinated.

What You Need To Know

  • $1,000 pandemic bonuses to go out to some first responders and teachers

  • Some not happy with the way the bonuses are being paid out

  • More Coronavirus headlines

Meanwhile, Bay News 9’s partner newspaper the Tampa Bay Times, reports that Florida educators and first responders will see their one-time $1,000 bonus checks in the mail soon.

Checks are expected to go out in mid-August. But not everyone is happy about these bonuses.

There's some contention with how the checks are being cut, and who's eligible to receive the money.

According to the Times, with this round of bonuses, the state paid a private contractor $3.6 million to help issue the $1,000 checks instead of sending the money directly to local governments to disburse, which is how the other bonus checks were handled, and all of the checks issued will have an "office of the governor" design printed on them.​

The Times also reports some lawmakers and teachers union officials say Gov. Ron DeSantis is just using the bonus to score some political points.

The other issue is that not every educator or first responder will get a bonus.

Only certain first responders who've had a clean record since March 2020 with no disciplinary action will get the money, and only teachers and principals in schools.

Because of that, some school districts, including Pasco and Pinellas, are using their own money to extend the bonus to other school staff, like counselors and assistant principals.