Anyone 50+ is eligible for a second Covid booster shot. With an increase in cases of 160% over the last four weeks in Miami-Dade County and 21 counties with at least substantial transmission, I strongly recommend getting one now, especially if you have not had omicron. Medicare will cover the cost for those with that insurance.
This shows the level of community transmission from a week earlier:
Hillsborough County has moved up from an Emerging Hotspot to a Hotspot, which means it has become an area with a high burden of disease:
We have tended to follow the UK’s trends by about three weeks. In England during March 19–26, 1 in 13 residents had Covid. Anecdotally, the omicron BA.2 subvariant appears to be infecting UK residents who were not exposed to the earlier omicron variants.
Until June 2021, Florida reported Covid statistics every day with an online database. Weeks before the delta variant took hold in the state with devastating effects, the Department of Health switched to a weekly pdf while withholding data previously available to the public.
Now Florida is halving the frequency of reports to the public to every two weeks. The state directing people to the CDC, where there is an information lag.
Dr. Jason Salemi from the University of South Florida is compiling data from the CDC. Even he does not have direct access to the Florida data. Covid cases and the positivity rate continued to increase this week after dropping to their lowest levels three weeks ago:
I heartily disagree with this official announcement made from the Florida Department of Health retweeting their spokesman’s personal Twitter account on March 11th. We need more information, not less.
Unfortunately, the tactic works: even Floridians tend to express shock when I tell them about the most recent statistics.
During the omicron wave, Florida did not increase the frequency of reporting, leaving many residents unaware of the amount of viral transmission occurring until Christmas Eve.
In the two weeks before December 24th, the number of confirmed Covid cases increased 850%:
Public health experts view a positivity rate of 5% or below sufficient to capture all Covid cases. During that same period ending on December 23rd, the positivity rate rose from 2.6% to 13.9%. So, the actual number of cases was likely 180% higher than what the state reported:
Beginning in June 2021, Florida removed all archived Covid data from their web site. Until March 17th, they replaced the statistics from the previous week with a new report. Now that occurs every two weeks.
That makes it much more difficult—even for those who have saved the old data—to see the actual numbers of cases and deaths. No hospitalization information is included.
On the Florida Department of Health web site, you can locate influenza records from 2001 but not Covid data from March 18–25, 2022.
FL Covid Deaths:
- As of April 14, 2022, FL has had 73,689 Covid deaths among permanent residents.
- On June 4, 2021, the state removed 744 deaths among non-permanent residents and stopped reporting them.
- Weekly deaths among permanent residents reported by FL decreased by 39% to 151.
- The state is claiming only 11% of them as “New Deaths” (17)
- During June 2021–March 2022, Florida has reported only 7,096 of the 38,089 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (19%).
- 3,500 permanent Florida residents died from Covid in March 2022.
- Miami-Dade County alone had 22 deaths reported to the CDC last week, a 60% decrease.
- Hillsborough County had 9 deaths, an 18% weekly decrease.
- I cannot determine the proportion of Florida deaths among senior citizens this week.
- FL has 9.2% of US deaths when vaccinations were available to all over 15, for 6.6% of the US population.
- Since July 2021, FL has the third worst death rate in the US.
- Over half of Florida’s Covid deaths have occurred since everyone over 15 became eligible for vaccination.
- CA has 70% more people than Florida, yet almost the same number of excess deaths.
- Among the 6 largest states, the Florida death rate is below only Pennsylvania’s.
- FL does not report Covid deaths stratified by vaccination status.
FL Covid Vaccinations:
- There is no new data for this week.
- On 3-7-22, As of April 7th, Florida claimed a 74% vaccination rate. This includes “vaccine tourists” and excludes children under 5.
- 61% of permanent Florida residents have at least completed a vaccine series.
- At most, 23% have booster shots, an important precaution against illness and transmission of the omicron variant.
- Boosters prevented 88% of omicron hospitalizations among people aged 18–49; 76% for ages 50–64; and 85% for senior citizens.
- Mixing vaccine types will give you the best protection: they stimulate different parts of your immune system. If you had 2 or 3 Moderna, I recommend getting a Pfizer and vice versa.
- As of 4-6-22, Medicare will cover 100% of the cost of a second booster shot.
- The state does not report cases or deaths by vaccination status.
- On 1-14-22, the governor refused to enforce the federal mandate for healthcare workers upheld by the Supreme Court a day earlier.
- On 1-19-22, the state put Orange County’s epidemiologist on leave for chiding his employees’ 40% vaccination rate.
- On 1-15-22 the governor said many nurses avoid vaccination due to “trying to have families.” Numerous studies confirm vaccination does not cause infertility.
- On 3-7-22, a discussion panel moderated by Governor DeSantis recommended against Covid vaccination for healthy children due to the risk of adolescent males developing myocarditis. Florida is the only state to make such a declaration.
- The risk of cardiac inflammation due to Covid is 540% higher for boys aged 5–11. No girls developed symptoms after vaccination.
- The FL Dept of Heath website claims the FDA recommends vaccination for those 12+, not 5+.
- As of 4-8-22, only 23% of those aged 5–11had at least one shot; 60% of adolescents did.
- On 3-25-22, reporters revealed over 600,000 snowbirds are counted in state vaccination statistics while omitting cases and deaths among them from Florida’s reports.
Florida Covid Testing and Prevention:
- Due to at-home testing, the number of cases is likely to be under-reported.
- In the latest report on 4-9-22, Florida reported the fewest tests since June 2020.
- The CDC advises notifying your doctor of positive at-home tests.
- On 1-4-22, FL’s Surgeon General decried “testing psychology” to identify all cases.
- On 1-6-22, FL’s Agriculture Secretary revealed 1,000,000 expired antigen tests.
- On 1-8-22, FL’s web site told those not at high risk of severe cases to avoid testing.
- On 1-9-22, the governor announced 1,000,000 tests for long-term care and nursing homes
- On 2-7-22, the state reprimanded two companies which failed to report 230,000 test results from December and January until that week.
- With a positivity rate below 5%, testing is now adequate to capture mild and asymptomatic cases. It is currently 3.3%.
- On 3-2-22 Governor DeSantis chided a group of teens in a county with a high alert level and told them to remove their face masks. He then used that episode to raise campaign funds. Under those conditions, the CDC recommends that everyone wear masks indoors.
Florida Covid Cases:
- With the rise in at-home testing, since the omicron wave began, it is important to know that official confirmed cases are likely to be significantly undercounted.
- The state reported 15,678 new confirmed cases among permanent Florida residents. This is a 38% increase since last week.
- There have been 5,878,495 confirmed Covid cases in Florida among permanent residents.
- On June 4, 2021, the state removed all data from anyone who is not a permanent resident and stopped reporting it. This deleted 43,535 cases.
- The first omicron wave began in Miami-Dade County, with the rest of the state lagging a few weeks behind. That makes the 160% rise in cases over the last four weeks particularly alarming.
- Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate <5% for 2 weeks before reopening. We have now fallen that goal on a state-wide level.
- Statewide, the positivity rate rose by 58% to 6.0%.
- The positivity rate in Miami-Dade County is at 9.1%. That means there are likely 80% more cases than reported there.
- I cannot determine how many children tested positive during April 8–14.
- Reported cases in the Hillsborough County School District rose 62%, from 45 to 73.
- Florida law prohibits requiring masks in non-medical settings.
- Parents decide about quarantining after a close contact at school.
- On 1-31-22, FL shifted its focus to “high congregate settings,” not schools and day cares.
- During the week leading up to that announcement 38,629 school-aged children in Florida had tested positive.
- On 1-31-22, FL students absent due to Covid exposure are truant per Orange County
Florida Covid Treatment:
- Omicron mutations render ineffective almost all monoclonal antibodies previously in use.
- 100% of FL cases are due to that viral strain.
- For the week ending January 8th, 97% of sequenced cases in the region which includes Florida were omicron.
- Sotrovimab works against the omicron BA.1 variant at a dosage 3x more than for delta. It is 27 times less effective for omicron BA.2.
- During the first week of January, Florida used 140 of its 4,400 Sotrovimab doses and 2,700 of Regeneron.
- On 1-18-22, FL opened more infusion centers to distribute 15,000 doses of Regeneron.
- The FDA revised its EUA for Regeneron on 1-24-22, prohibiting its use against omicron.
- DeSantis objected to no shipments; all FL antibody infusion centers closed on 1-25-22.
- During April 3–9, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 60% to 80% in the region which includes Florida.
- On 4-5-22, the FDA revoked the Emergency Use Authorization for Sotrovimab nationwide due to the predominance of BA.2 in every state.
- A monoclonal antibody called bebtelovimab is effective against omicron BA.2 and other omicron variants. It began shipping to Florida during February 14–20.
- Here is the most recent federal allocation of 11,037 Covid-specific treatments to Florida: 1,765 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types); 6,560 of the oral Paxlovid; 2,712 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir.
- In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 8,325 Covid patients being delivered to the state.
- On 1-8-21, the FDA issued an Evusheld EUA for those with severe immunosuppression.
- On 2-25-22, the dosage doubled due to BA.2. Prior recipients need an additional shot.
- People with certain cancers or organ transplants receive the highest priority.
- DeSantis announced it on 12-17-21, when Covid was raging through Miami-Dade County.
- First shipments only to a small private fee-based clinic in Broward County on 12-24-21.
- People flew from out of state to receive it at the iCare Clinic.
- The large transplant hospital in Miami was to receive it four weeks later.
- During Jan 24–30, 2022 the federal government sent 32,000 outpatient treatments.
- Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,984 doses of pre-exposure Evusheld for severely immunocompromised people.
Florida Covid Hospitalizations:
- You won’t find any hospitalization info on Florida’s Weekly Reports since 6-24-21.
- Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
- Adult hospitalizations dropped from 17th to 18th in rank among states, with a 5% decline.
- For August 1, 2020–April 7, 2022, Florida has had 411,950 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
- For April 8–14, 2022, there were 107 admissions/day (737), 13% more in a week.
- On April 14th, there were 0.50 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.44 the week before.
- Hospitalizations shifted dramatically for some adult age groups, ranging from a 3% decline for ages 50–59 to a 47% rise for ages 30–39.
- Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
- Fewer adults in hospital with Covid on April 15th (657), compared to Dec 3rd (968), almost the same as last week (661).
- Adult admissions increased by 11% to 101/day.
- Percentage of people in the hospital who required care in the ICU rose to 16%.
- The pediatric hospitalization rank dropped from 24th to 29th, with a 5% decrease.
- 17 children were in Florida hospitals, an increase of 21%; pediatric admissions rose by 11% to 31/day.
- Children had experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December.
- There were fewer pediatric hospitalizations than on Dec 3rd (20).
- One in 4 admissions were for children, the same as a week ago.
- On 4-15-22, 77% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 2% used by Covid patients.
- Overall, 73% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, down from 74% a week earlier.
- 1/3 are admitted for Covid diagnosis; 1/3 for Covid worsening an underlying condition; and one-third for reasons unrelated to their viral infection.
Until January 1, 2022, Florida was the only state in the US which was releasing statistics on a weekly basis. Several states have switched to that schedule in the last week. Information available in Florida’s reports is far more limited than what the state formerly provided.
On October 18th, I followed the Dept of Health’s recommendation to contact their COVID Data Analytics section, then went outside. When I returned, I had to do a major recovery process following an unauthorized attempt to access my hard drive.
I still have not received a response from the FL COVID Data Analytics group. Even the main site for the Florida Dept of Health appears on an unsecure connection: www.floridahealth.gov.
On March 11th, my computer was able to download the official Florida Covid report for the first time since October 2021.
After being able to directly access two successive reports from the state, my computer began again refusing to do so with the April 8, 2022 file, citing a security risk:
Faculty at the University of Florida charge that they have felt external pressure from the highest levels of state government to delete data related to their Covid research.
They also encountered “barriers to accessing and analyzing” data and “barriers to publication of scientific research which inhibited the ability of faculty to contribute scientific findings during a world-wide pandemic.”
On January 21, 2022, a federal judge sided with the plaintiffs in a 74-page ruling. He asserted the University of Florida was “willing to suffer threats to its accreditation, congressional inquiries, unrelenting bad press, an all-but-certain hit to its rankings, and the substantial monetary cost of hiring an experienced D.C. firm to defend its policy. The only thing UF will not do, it seems, is amend its policy to make clear that it will never consider viewpoint in denying a request to testify.” As in The Emperor’s New Clothes, the emperor’s lords, “fearing the loss of their jobs and the Emperor’s good grace, enabled the charade by praising the Emperor’s fine suit.”
On March 31, 2022, a University of Florida faculty committee released a report charging that the university violated its own practices when hiring Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general to a tenured position.
Required faculty input regarding his application was due on September 17, 2021. However, Dr. Ladapo was informed he had the appointment on September 16th.
After receiving the letter with an October 1,2021 start date, Dr. Ladapo changed it to September 20th, just prior to the news conference where the governor announced him as our new surgeon general:
In response to a reporter’s questions, Jeremy Redfern, the Florida Department of Health spokesman, sent an email stating, “The time of those at the University of Florida writing 100-page reports regarding hiring practices would be better spent working on important issues like research and curing cancer.”
Tampa Bay Times: Joseph Ladapo Hiring Violated UF Procedures, Faculty Report Says: Some Faculty Felt Ladapo, Florida’s Surgeon General, Was the Subject of “Preferential Treatment on the Basis of His Political Opinions”
Here is some of the data from April 8–14, 2022 which the state submitted to the CDC. Estimated numbers are derived from adding the new CDC information to the April 7th report:
- New cases = 14,925; Estimated cumulative cases = 5,877,142
- Positivity rate = 6.0%
- New deaths = 151; Cumulative deaths = 73,689
- Vaccination rate = 60% (as of 4-7-22)
- Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,668,671 (as of 4-7-22)
- Total booster doses: 5,608,772 (as of 4-7-22)
This data from April 1–7, 2022, is the only Covid report available from the Florida Department of Health (DoH). Whenever the state adds a new report, it removes the previous one:
- New cases = 11,337; Estimated cumulative cases = 5,862,817
- Positivity rate = 3.8%
- New deaths = 27; Cumulative deaths = 73,538
- Vaccination rate = 74%
- Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,198,400
- Total booster doses: 5,147,876
Archived data on influenza statistics is readily available on the FL Dept of Health web site: Florida Influenza Surveillance Reports 2001–2022
On February 25, 2022, the CDC updated their masking guidelines based heavily upon Covid hospital admissions and utilization and, to a lesser extent, upon the number of new cases in a county. It does not reflect the level of transmission.
They range from low (green) through medium (yellow) to high risk (orange). Rural areas without hospital services may look better than they are. You can click on the hyperlink below this for more specific information and the interactive map.
This is the situation as of April 14, 2022. Every county in Florida is currently low:
In areas of high alert, the CDC advises everyone to wear a high-quality tight-fitting mask indoors. Please note that this masking guideline does not apply to severely immunocompromised people who do not develop immunity from vaccination.
One researcher has created a helpful calculator for those in that category. It assumes that everyone eligible receives the pre-exposure treatment called Evusheld. He also concluded the CDC’s map is accurate for those with healthy immune systems.
In contrast, here is the map for the same date based upon the level of Community Transmission:
On March 2, 2022, Governor DeSantis visited Hillsborough County. As he approached a group of masked high school students, he said, “You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”
He then used that outburst to raise campaign funds.
Hillsborough County had a high alert level for Covid before and after that date. It corresponds to the CDC map above which currently shows the entire state at a low level of risk for overwhelming the healthcare system:
Florida Covid Vaccinations:
On March 25, 2022, USA Today reported that over 600,000 snowbirds have been included in Florida’s official vaccination tally. That happened in over 100 zip codes.
Many “vaccine tourists” were in Miami-Dade County. For cases and deaths in the state, Florida counts only permanent residents.
New data is unavailable for this week:
Receiving a booster shot is considered extremely important for providing protection against the omicron variant and for decreasing viral transmission. Since I created this chart, researchers have discovered that booster efficacy begins to wane at ten weeks:
Efficacy at Peak of Protection: Booster Efficacy Wanes 15% to 20% After Ten Weeks
At the end of March, the CDC approved a second booster shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for all adults aged 50+. There are no safety issues associated with the additional shot. As of April 6, 2022, people on Medicare can receive a second booster shot at no cost.
According to the CDC director, “If you’ve had omicron disease in the last two or three months, that really did boost your immune system quite well,” Walensky said, adding that these individuals could wait another two to four months before their second booster.
New research involving breakthrough omicron infections indicates the number of viral particles is significantly lower in people who have had booster shots. People with two doses carried the same amount of virus as unvaccinated people.
For all adults in the US, the CDC has added people who received booster shots as a separate category.
Among those 18–49 years old during February 20–26, 2022, unvaccinated people were hospitalized at a rate of 8.7/100,000. A primary vaccine course prevented 76% of expected hospitalizations. Adding a booster shot increased the protection to 88%:
Unvaccinated people aged 50–64 were hospitalized at a rate of 16.9/100,000. Those who finished a vaccine series had 66% fewer hospitalizations than expected. A booster dose prevented 76% of hospitalizations.
This is a significant drop in efficacy from a month before, when a booster prevented 92% of hospitalizations in that demographic group:
Results for that same week for senior citizens showed that unvaccinated individuals required hospital care at a rate of 74.9/100,000. Completing a vaccine series reduced the likelihood of needing hospitalization by 65%.
Adding a booster prevented 85% of hospitalizations which would have occurred without vaccination. A month earlier, boosters prevented 94%:
On January 14, 2022, Governor DeSantis’s office announced it would not enforce the federal government’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The US Supreme Court upheld the requirement for all healthcare facilities which receive federal funds on the 13th.
On January 19th, the Florida Department of Health placed the epidemiologist who led Orange County’s pandemic response on administrative leave. The state considered charging him with a criminal offense for sending an email chiding the county’s public health employees for their 40% vaccination rate. That suspension ended on March 22, 2022.
A day later, Governor DeSantis promoted a conspiracy theory by asserting that many nurses are avoiding vaccination because “they’re trying to have families.” Numerous studies confirm that vaccination does not cause infertility; in fact, getting Covid can reduce male fertility.
On March 7, 2022, a discussion panel moderated by Governor DeSantis recommended against Covid vaccination for healthy children due to the risk of adolescent males developing myocarditis. The state surgeon general noted that Florida is the only state to make such a declaration.
At least four researchers cited by the state disagreed with how Florida officials used their work.
A pediatrics professor from Vanderbilt University Medical Center who co-authored one of the papers said, “I think there is cherry-picking of sentences to support what (the state) wanted. You don’t just pick one sentence from one paper that agrees with what you think you want to say. That’s not what a health department is supposed to do.”
Each of the studies Florida officials cited recommended Covid vaccination for children as safe and effective. Florida health officials omitted that information in their updated guidelines. The researchers asserted that vaccination remains the best way to protect children from severe Covid.
In contrast to the myocarditis arising from vaccination, the inflammation resulting from SARS-CoV-2 can cause life-threatening heart conditions in children, adolescents, and adults.
A study of 77,000 children found that 5–11-year-old boys were 540% more likely to develop heart inflammation after a Covid infection than after vaccination. No girls of that age who were vaccinated developed myocarditis or pericarditis:
Since the pandemic began, 13,000 Florida minors had required hospitalization for Covid in Florida alone as of March 17, 2022. Forty-two had died, and many of the survivors have subsequently developed serious health conditions, like diabetes.
While children are at lower risk than adults, throughout the US, Covid is one of the top ten causes of death in those aged 5–11:
At the height of the first omicron wave, unvaccinated children aged 5–11 in the US were hospitalized at three times the rate of their vaccinated peers.
After narrowing in early February, by the end of that month, 89% of Covid hospitalizations occurred in unvaccinated children aged 5–11:
The data for adolescents reveals why booster doses are recommended for that age group. On January first, unvaccinated teens aged 12–17 were four times as likely to need hospital care than those who had been vaccinated.
By the end of January, there was only a 5% difference. For the week ending on February 26th, 59% of Covid hospitalizations were among unvaccinated teens:
Compare the FDA’s announcement for eligibility in children to what Florida says it is:
Covid Deaths in Florida:
During June 2021–March 2022, Florida has reported only 7,096 of the 38,089 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (19%).
Exactly 3,500 Covid deaths were reported in March 2022 within the state:
Despite making national news for the state government’s attempt to cover up the number of deaths, nothing has changed in the Florida Department of Health’s methodology.
On June 4th, the state removed all data from anyone who has not established permanent residency and stopped reporting information from visitors, seasonal residents, and migrant workers. This deleted 744 deaths. I can no longer access this file, as my browser deems it a security risk:
When the state receives a report of a death from an earlier week, that information is added to “Cumulative Deaths” without being noted in “Previous Week Deaths.” It usually takes more than one week for death reports to get sent to the state.
Current CDC data reported by Florida shows 17 New Deaths on April 14th. That includes only people who died during April 8–14, 2022 and their death reports were received by the state in that same week:
During April 8–14, 2022, Miami-Dade County alone reported 22 deaths, down 60% from 55 a week earlier:
Hillsborough County reported fewer than 10 deaths. An 18% decrease from the prior week’s 11 deaths reported to the CDC, gives us 9:
Using the April 14, 2022, cumulative data from the CDC, which showed 73,689 Florida deaths, I determined there were 151 Covid deaths reported in Florida that week. On April 8th, Florida reported 73,538 Cumulative Deaths.
The 151 deaths reported in the state represent a decrease of 39% from the previous week (248). As noted above, only 17 of them were counted as New Deaths in the state’s report to the CDC (11%):
According to CDC data, there had been 73,689 Covid deaths in Florida by April 14, 2022.
Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021. SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 39,509 permanent residents of the state since that date. Over half the Covid deaths in Florida have occurred since April 1, 2021.
Despite having only 6.6% of the US population, this represents 9.2% of all American Covid-19 deaths since everyone at least 16 years old qualified for vaccination:
Florida’s Covid death rate ranks third in the US since the delta wave began on July 1, 2021. You can click on the web site map to see the information for each state:
Nationwide, 7.6% of senior citizens who have tested positive have died. The percentage of Florida’s senior citizens who have died is unavailable, as is the death rate for Florida seniors who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2:
Florida does not report deaths by vaccination status, so I cannot determine the percentage of deaths occurring in unvaccinated people, those who received a full series, or boosted individuals.
The CDC recently updated their algorithm for calculating excess deaths in the US to include six years of data, rather than four, due to the pandemic skewing the expected numbers. It accounts for the higher than typical age of Florida’s population.
You can click on each bar on their site to see the data for that week. It takes up to eight weeks for complete reporting:
Here is another way to visualize that chart. You can see all states by clicking Percent Excess Deaths on the CDC’s site:
Florida has a higher than expected proportion of excess deaths compared to other states. This is the total number of excess deaths throughout the pandemic, not the number per 100,000 people.
California has 70% more people than Florida yet the number of excess deaths is nearly the same:
On December 23, 2021, Florida improved from the deepest shade of blue for the first time since I began downloading this graphic.
If you go to the CDC’s site and click on Florida, you will see on the April 16th update that only 17 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 151 when comparing CDC cumulative deaths for April 14, 2022, with the state report during April 1–7, 2022. The other large states have much higher numbers for the week.
Florida now ranks second for the highest proportion of Covid deaths among the six largest states: CA (225); TX (297); FL (343); NY (247); PA (347); IL (298):
Covid Cases in Florida:
With the rise in at-home testing, since the omicron wave began, it is important to know that official confirmed cases are likely to be significantly undercounted.
For the week ending on April 14, 2022, the CDC reported 15,678 confirmed Covid cases. This is a 38% increase since last week (11,337):
On the April 7th official report, Florida reported 5,862,817 cumulative Covid cases among permanent residents. Comparing these two data sets, gives us an estimate of 5,878,495 cumulative cases:
On June 4th, the state removed all data from anyone who has not established permanent residency and stopped reporting information from visitors, seasonal residents, and migrant workers. This deleted 43,535 cases.
I can no longer access this file, as my browser deems it a security risk:
The omicron wave began in Miami-Dade County, with the rest of the state lagging a few weeks behind.
On March 18th, the county county reported 1,725 cases for the week. Another 48% increase gives us a 158% rise in weekly cases in four weeks (4452):
Dr. Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist from the University of South Florida, posts very helpful county-level case data. However, he does not appear to have access to that information for April 8–14, 2022.
For Miami-Dade County, he shows a 158% rise compared to four weeks earlier—from 1,725 to 3,019—not the 48% increase from a week ago:
Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate less than 5% for two weeks before reopening.
As of March 11th, we reached that on a state-wide level. The new average last week was 3.8%, a 27% rise. However, that data is unavailable for this week from the state:
CDC data indicates Florida’s positivity rate as of April 11, 2022, was 6.0%, a rise of 58%:
Miami-Dade County’s positivity rate increased by 68%, from 5.4% to 9.1%. This means there are likely 80% more cases than were reported:
Hillsborough County’s positivity rate rose by 26%, from 3.1% to 3.9%:
We do not have information regarding the number of children who tested positive during April 8–14, 2022. A week earlier, the number of cases among school-aged children rose by 12%.
Children aged 5+ are eligible for a series of two Pfizer doses. Booster shots are approved for anyone at least 12 years old who had a second shot of an mRNA vaccine over five months ago or got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago. Those aged 12–17 are limited to the Pfizer vaccine.
This school year began on August 10th, and the Hillsborough County School District instituted a mandatory mask mandate on August 18th. They ended it on October 15th. Florida law prohibits requiring masks in non-medical settings and now leaves the decision about quarantining after a close contact at school to the child’s parents.
A study of schools with more than 1.1 million students and 157,000 staff members determined a 72% drop of in-school Covid transmission occurred with mandatory mask policies instead of optional or partial masking.
The Hillsborough County School District published a notice effective January 31, 2022:
“The Florida Department of Health has shifted COVID-19 case investigation focus to: ‘high-congregate settings’ (nursing homes/skilled nursing/assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, group homes) at high risk for secondary transmission or poor health outcomes among their residents as a result of COVID-19 infection. Public schools and daycare settings are not considered congregate settings.”
During the week leading up to that announcement 38,629 school-aged children in Florida had tested positive.
On January 26th, the Orange County School District announced that the state will no longer permit excused absences for Covid effective January 31st. Children who quarantine after a Covid exposure will be considered truant:
In the Hillsborough County School District, as of April 13, 2022, there had been 28,215 cases during this school year.
There were 73 cases reported on April 8–13, 2022, 62% more than during the previous week (45):
My daughters’ high school has had 144 cases, with none of those in the last eight weeks. The middle school has had 147; one of those occurred last week. Our elementary school has had 184, with none occurring in the last seven weeks. None had been reported for several weeks before the fall semester ended.
Covid Therapeutics in FL:
Until January 8th, the state continued to emphasize monoclonal antibody treatment as the focus of the Covid-19 Response web site:
Mutations which have resulted in the omicron variant render ineffective almost all the monoclonal antibodies currently in use, including the antibody combination used in Regeneron against the delta variant (imdevimab and casirivimab).
In the US, 100% of cases were due to the omicron strains by January 29, 2022:
For the week ending January 8th, 97% of sequenced cases in the region which includes Florida were omicron:
At that time, there was only one monoclonal antibody produced in the US which could attach to circulating omicron BA.1 particles.
Sotrovimab works against the original omicron variant and omicron BA.1 at a dosage three times that required to neutralize the delta variant.
During the first week of January 2022, hospitals in Florida used 140 of the state’s stockpile of 4,400 Sotrovimab doses, in contrast to over 2,700 doses of the ineffective Regeneron monoclonal antibody.
On January 18th, the state announced the opening of additional monoclonal antibody infusion centers to distribute what remained of the 15,000 additional doses of Regeneron secured on January 7th.
Tampa Bay Times: Omicron Undermines Florida’s Strategy to Combat Coronavirus: Gov. Ron DeSantis Continues to Tout Monoclonal Antibody Therapies, but New Evidence Shows Their Effectiveness Against COVID-19 Is Waning
A week later, the FDA revised its Emergency Use Authorizations for the two components of Regeneron, prohibiting their use against the omicron variant. The federal government stopped shipping those monoclonal antibodies.
Why the state continues to emphasize this is mystifying:
Governor DeSantis accused the Biden Administration of having no clinical evidence, despite the manufacturers of both antibodies noting they are now ineffective:
A newer subvariant called BA.2 was first detected in the US on January 15th. As of April 9th, 86% of sequenced samples in the US are BA.2:
In this map, purple represents the first two omicron variants while pink shows the amount of omicron BA.2.
During April 3–9, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 60% to 80% in the region which includes Florida:
Sotrovimab is 27 times less effective against BA.2 than for BA.1. Therefore, on April 5, 2022, the FDA amended the Emergency Use Authorization to revoke the use of Sotrovimab nationwide. That did not include Florida until this week.
A clinical trial shows that a different monoclonal antibody called Bebtelovimab neutralizes omicron BA.1 and omicron BA.2.
Accordingly, on February 10, 2022, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced the purchase of enough to treat 600,000 people. It began shipping nation-wide within a week:
Here is the most recent federal allocation of 11,037 Covid-specific treatments to Florida:
- 1,765 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types)
- 6,560 of the oral Paxlovid
- 2,712 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir (Lagevrio)
- None of the Covid pre-exposure Evusheld is being delivered nationwide
In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 8,325 Covid patients being delivered to the state this week:
On December 8, 2021, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody developed to protect people over the age of 12 with severe immunosuppression against infection.
Due to the scarce supply, people with certain cancers or who have received organ transplants receive the highest priority.
Governor DeSantis announced the new preventative was available on December 17th, when Covid was raging through Miami-Dade County. However, the first shipments went to a small private fee-based clinic in Broward County, not to a major medical center.
People flew from out of state to receive it. A spokesperson for the state claimed the iCare Clinic received priority because it was open on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Jackson Memorial, the hospital in Miami with the most transplant patients in FL, was to receive it four weeks later. Before that time, 11,000 doses had already been shipped to the state.
Evusheld appears to remain effective against the omicron BA.2 subvariant. However, due to that subvariant, the FDA amended the EUA on February 24, 2022, to double the dosage of each component of Evusheld.
People who had already received it should contact their physicians about an additional shot. The FDA is now uncertain how long the immunity conferred by Evusheld will last.
Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,984 doses of Evusheld during April 4th–10th:
Florida Covid Testing:
The shift to home-based testing with the first omicron wave is highly likely to result in an under-reporting of Covid cases. The CDC advises those with a positive at-home test to report the results to their doctor.
On January 3, 2022, the Florida Surgeon General decried the “testing psychology” which seeks to identify all Covid cases to slow the rate of community transmission.
Amidst the scandal which erupted on January 7th concerning the 1,000,000 expired antigen tests, Florida’s web site shifted its focus to testing. Specifically, that people who are not high-risk should avoid it.
On January 6th, the governor announced the state was shipping 1,000,000 test kits to long-term care and nursing facilities:
On February 7th, the Florida Department of Health officially reprimanded two testing companies which failed to report the results of 230,000 Covid tests taken during December and January.
Every household in the US is eligible to receive 2 shipments of 4 free Covid tests from the federal government at Covid.gov.
In the most recent data (April 9, 2022), Florida reported the fewest tests to the CDC since June 2020:
Covid Hospitalizations in Florida:
You won’t find any hospitalization information on Florida’s Weekly Surveillance Reports. Florida stopped reporting Covid hospitalizations on June 24, 2021.
However, Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Florida reported a record 13,028 hospitalizations for Covid-19 on August 24, 2021, to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Since the omicron variant became predominant, hospital officials are seeing more incidental Covid cases among people who are in the hospital.
Roughly one-third are admitted for a primary diagnosis of Covid; one-third for a Covid infection making an underlying condition worse; and one-third for reasons unrelated to their viral infection.
Last fall, Florida had the highest adult hospitalization rate in the US.
In the past week, Florida dropped one place to 18th from 17th in rank among states (from 4.0/100,000 to 3.8/100,000, a 5% decline):
Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rank rose from 29th to 24th, also with a 5% decrease (from 0.42/100,000 to 0.40/100,000):
For August 1, 2020–April 7, 2022, Florida has had 411,950 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
During April 8–14, 2022, there was an average of 107 admissions per day, a total of 737. The trend moved upward as the week progressed.
Overall, there was an increase of 13% from the previous week (660; 95/day).
Nevertheless, that was 95% fewer compared to the peak during August 11–17, 2021, when there were 10.42 admissions/100,000 Floridians:
You can find more detailed hospitalization statistics on the same CDC COVID Data Tracker, choosing Florida as the Jurisdiction and stratifying by any age:
On April 14, 2022, hospitalizations for some adult age groups shifted dramatically compared to April 8th, ranging from a 3% decline for ages 50–59 to a 47% rise for ages 30–39.
For that same period, pediatric admissions rose by 6%, in contrast to an 11% decrease the week before. Children had also experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December.
Compared to the delta variant wave we encountered in 2021, omicron admissions have been higher for people younger than 30 and older than 69.
On April 14th, there were 0.50 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.44 the week before:
After seven weeks of increases, the number of adults in the hospital started to decline twelve weeks ago. On April 15th, that number had fallen another 0.6% to 657. That is even lower than it had been when the omicron wave began (968 on December 3rd).
However, new adult admissions have increased by 11% to 101/day during the past week. The proportion of adults needing care in the ICU rose dramatically from 13% to 16%.
Pediatric hospitalizations are 21% higher than a week ago, with 17 children in Florida hospitals on April 15, 2022.
There were 31 pediatric admissions/day, 11% more than a week ago and 55% more than on December 3rd (20). One in 4 admissions are for children, the same as on April 8th:
HHS tracks Hospital Utilization.
On the morning of April 15, 2022, 77% of hospital beds in Florida were full, down from 78% last week. Covid patients accounted for 981 of them (2% of utilized beds, also the same as last week).
A week earlier, there were 1,002 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 2% fewer inpatients with Covid:
Two percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 105 Covid patients, 7% more than the previous week (98). Last week, 2% of ICU beds were used by Covid patients.
Overall, 73% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, down from 74% a week earlier:
Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on April 15th:
- There were 24 Covid-19 admissions, up from 16 a week before
- Six Covid patients were in their ICU, up from 4 a week earlier
Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here