The unfolding of a pandemic in Lakeland dominated the interest of LkldNow readers in 2020: Our five most-viewed articles were all published during the first month that the coronavirus appeared in Lakeland.

In addition, 11 of our 20 most-viewed articles focused directly on COVID-19 and Lakeland’s response to it. A twelfth article was a related oldie: a September 2018 look at two ways to order grocery delivery from Publix; more than 13,000 people found it through web searches.

A few of our top articles — Lakeland Regional Health’s first COVID-19 case at No. 2 and Polk’s first confirmed case at No. 7 — now seem naively unsuspecting of the 3,354 in Polk who would be hospitalized or the 37,004 who would become infected here before the end of the year.

Here is the list of most-viewed articles and the dates they were published:

  1. State Map Now Shows COVID-19 Data by ZIP Code (April 5)
  2. Lakeland Regional Health Reports a COVID-19 Case (March 19)
  3. Lakeland’s 33813 Zip Code Sees a Steep Rise in Confirmed COVID-19 Cases (April 10)
  4. Mutz: No Stay-at-Home Order or Closure of Non-Essential Businesses for Now (March 28)
  5. Lakeland Regional Preps for Up to 1,000 COVID-19 Patients (April 6)
  6. Polk Teachers Threatened With Firing if They Miss Work for Rally (Jan. 11)
  7. Latest Florida COVID-19 County of 216 Includes 1 in Polk (March 17)
  8. Where is COVID-19 Testing Available in Polk and Who Can Get It (June 26)
  9. LPD: Couple Were Killed in Their West Lakeland Home (August 9)
  10. Get Ready for Lakeland’s Mask Regulations to End (Sept. 30)
  11. Publix Shoppers Will Have Two Delivery Options (June 20, 2018)
  12. Police Identify Lake Morton Homicide Victims as Former City Commissioner Edie Yates, Husband David Henderson (Nov. 11)
  13. Commission to Consider Mandatory Masks for Lakeland (June 20)
  14. Anticipating a Coronavirus Escalation, City Declares a State of Emergency (March 16)
  15. Reported Cases in Polk Have More Than Tripled in a Week (April 6)
  16. Lakeland Ruby Tuesday’s on Shutdown List (May 28)
  17. William Allen Challenging Billy Townsend for School Board (March 30)
  18. Fatal Multi-Vehicle Accident Snarls I-4 Near Socrum Loop Exit (July 31)
  19. Judd Orders Polk Curfew Until 5 a.m. Monday (May 31, following a clash between police and racial justice protestors)
  20. Woman, 25 Killed in Home Shooting; 3 Children Unharmed (July 21)

Two other pages that each received many thousands of views were newly added this year:

It’s been a wild ride. Traffic to nearly quadrupled over 2019’s total, driven by tremendous spikes in the spring as the pandemic settled in. Thank you for reading LkldNow.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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