Anyone 50+ is eligible for a second booster shot. On April 6, 2022, Medicare began covering 100% of the cost.
With a 75% increase in cases over the last two weeks in Miami-Dade County and 7 counties with substantial transmission, I strongly recommend getting one now, especially if you have not had omicron. Last week, the death rate in Miami-Dade rose 57%.
Hillsborough County is listed as an Emerging Hotspot, which means it is expected to become an area of considerable transmission within the next week:
Mixing vaccine types will give you the best protection (eg. if you had 3 Moderna, get a Pfizer).
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.
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 will occur 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 3–9, 2022.
FL Covid Deaths:
- As of April 7, 2022, FL has had 73,538 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 6% to 248.
- The state is claiming only 11% of them as “New Deaths” (27)
- 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 55 deaths reported to the CDC last week, a 57% increase.
- Hillsborough County had 11 deaths, a 39% weekly decrease.
- 75% of Florida deaths in the last two weeks were among senior citizens.
- FL has 9.3% of US deaths when vaccinations were available to all over 15, for 6.6% of the US population.
- Since July 1, 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:
- 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.
- As of April 6, 2022, people on Medicare can receive a second booster shot at no cost.
- 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.
- The FL Dept of Heath website claims the FDA recommends vaccination for those 12+, not 5+.
- As of 3-24-22, only 23% of those aged 5–11were vaccinated; 60% of adolescents were.
Florida Covid Testing and Prevention:
- Due to at-home testing, the number of cases is likely to be under-reported.
- 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.
- Covid cases and the positivity rate continued to increase after dropping to their lowest levels since June 20202 three weeks ago.
- 11,337 new confirmed cases among permanent Florida residents. This is a 12% increase since last week.
- In the 3-31-22 report, I compared CDC data to the previous week’s state data to estimate 10,137 cases. That turned out to be an overestimate of only 23 cases (0.2%).
- 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.
- Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate <5% for 2 weeks before reopening. We have now met that goal on a state-wide level.
- The positivity rate in Miami-Dade County is now above the 5% threshold (5.6%).
- Reported cases in the Hillsborough County School District fell to 21 over two days from 31 the previous week.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Covid Hospitalizations:
- Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
- Adult hospitalizations rose to 17th from 24th in rank among states, with a 5% decline.
- For August 1, 2020–April 7, 2022, Florida has had 411,193 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
- For April 1–7, 2022, there were 94 admissions/day (660), 11% less in a week.
- On April 7th, there were 0.44 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.49 the week before.
- Hospitalizations remained the same or declined for every adult age group, ranging from 0% for ages for ages 40–99 to 32% for ages 60–69.
- Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
- Fewer adults in hospital with Covid on April 7th (697),compared to Dec 3rd (968), 8% fewer in the last week.
- Percentage of people in the hospital who required care in the ICU dropped to 13%.
- 18 children were in Florida hospitals, a decrease of 10%; pediatric admissions fell by 53% to 19/day.
- Children had experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December.
- There were fewer pediatric hospitalizations than on Dec 3rd (20).
- One of every 6 admissions were pediatric, down from one in 4 a week ago.
- On 4-7-22, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 2% used by Covid patients.
- Covid patients accounted for 1,002 of them, 7% fewer patients than a week earlier.
- 2% of ICU beds were used by 98 Covid patients, 17% fewer than the previous week.
- Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, the same as last week.
- 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 is once again refusing to do so, 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”
I’m back to accessing the pdf for the weekly summary via Dr. Jason Salemi’s site and comparing it to the CDC data which I compiled a week ago.
Whenever the state adds a new report, it removes the previous one:
Here is some of the data from April 1–7, 2022 from the Florida Department of Health:
- 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
This data from March 25–31, 2022 comes from either the new state report on previous weeks or from the CDC as noted in my report from March 31, 2022:
- New cases = 10,137; Estimated cumulative cases = 5,841,538
- Positivity rate = 3.4%
- New deaths = 263; Cumulative deaths = 73,290
- Vaccination rate = 60%
- Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,668,671
- Total booster doses: 5,608,772
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 7, 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.
The vaccination rate reported by the state remained at 74%. This figure represents only those eligible for vaccination and includes partially vaccinated people. Florida’s population is currently 21,975,117, so 61% have at least completed a vaccination series.
People who receive a booster shot are removed from the Series Completed Category and added to the Additional or Booster Dose Category.
At most, 23% of permanent Florida residents have received a booster shot. We cannot tell how many of the additional doses went to people who had already been boosted:
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.
Using the March 31, 2022, cumulative data from the CDC, which showed 73,290 Florida deaths, I determined there were 263 Covid deaths reported in Florida that week.
This week, Florida is reporting 73,538 Cumulative Deaths. There were 248 deaths reported in the state, a decrease of 6% from the previous week (263). Only 27 of them were counted as New Deaths (11%):
Miami-Dade County reported 55 deaths, up from 35 a week earlier (a 57% increase):
Deaths in Hillsborough County decreased 39%, from 18 to 11:
Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021. SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 39,377 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 9.1% 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, 7.7% of senior citizens who have tested positive have died. Since the pandemic began, 1.2% of all permanent Florida residents at least 65 years old have died due to Covid-19 (1,209/100,000).
That is 7.2% of people in that age group who tested positive. It was 9.0% on December 30th, indicating that a lot of Florida’s senior citizens have tested positive in the last few months:
Here are the cumulative deaths from the April 7, 2022, Florida Report:
This is from the March 24, 2022, Florida Report:
By comparing the last two reports taken over three weeks, we can see the number and percentage of deaths in each demographic group which occurred during March 25–April 7, 2022. Over the last month, Florida returned to the expected pattern of increasing percentages of deaths with increasing age:
- Under 16 = 0 (0.0%)
- 16–29 = 1 (0.2%)
- 30–39 = 8 (1.6%)
- 40–49 = 17 (3.4%)
- 50–59 = 42 (8.2%)
- 60–64 = 59 (11.5.%)
- 65+ = 384 (75.1%)
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 9th update that only 28 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 248 when comparing CDC cumulative deaths for March 31, 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 (224); TX (297); FL (342); NY (246); PA (346); 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.
A week ago, I compared CDC data to the previous week’s state data to estimate 10,137 new cases. That turned out to be an overestimate of only 23 cases (0.2%).
On April 7th, Florida reported 5,862,817 cumulative Covid cases. Of those 11,337 were new, an increase of 12% from the previous week:
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.
That made the March 25th–31st 47% weekly increase in cases particularly alarming. This week, the rate of increase declined to 19%:
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 March 25–31, 2022.
For Miami-Dade County, he shows a 75% rise compared to two weeks earlier—from 1,725 to 3,019—not the 20% increase from a week ago:
Meanwhile, data from the state report gives us no information about the amount of change:
During March 25–31, there were 649 confirmed cases reported in Hillsborough County, a 22% increase:
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 is 3.8%, a 27% rise:
We can use Dr. Salemi county-level positivity rates from March 18–24 as our baseline to compare with the data from April 1–7. He does not have access to that information for March 25–31, 2022.
Overall, they range from 0–7.2%. Four counties have positivity rates above 5%:
However, per the CDC, Miami-Dade’s positivity rate increased by 42%, from 4.3% to 5.6%:
Hillsborough County’s positivity rate rose by 44%, from 2.1% to 3.0%:
To evaluate the trend in Covid infections among children during the week of April 1–7, 2022, we can use the data from two weeks ago.
During the week of April 1–7, 2022, 336 children under five tested positive in Florida, an increase of 28% over the previous week (262). Among those 5–19, 1,194 tested positive, 8% more than the prior week (1,103).
In total, 1,530 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive, an increase of 12% from the week before (1,365):
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 4, 2022, there had been 28,142 121 cases during this school year. There were 21 cases reported on April 1st and 4th, 2022, ten fewer than during the previous week (31):
My daughters’ high school has had 144 cases and our middle school has had 146, with none of those in the last seven weeks. Our elementary school has had 184, with none occurring in the last six 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 2nd, 72% 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 March 27–April 2, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 39% to 60% 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 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 is 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.
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 rose to 17th from 24th in rank among states (from 4.2/100,000 to 4.0/100,000, a 5% decline):
Florida’s pediatric hospitalization fell from 20th to 29th with a 22% decrease (from 0.54/100,000 to 0.42/100,000):
For August 1, 2020–April 7, 2022, Florida has had 411,193 new hospital admissions for Covid patients.
This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
For April 1–7, 2022, there was an average of 94 admissions per day, a total of 660.
Overall, there was a decrease of 11% from the previous week (735; 106/day) and 96% 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 7, 2022, hospitalizations had remained the same or declined for every adult age group compared to March 31st, ranging from 0% for ages for ages 40–99 to 32% for ages 60–69.
For that same period, pediatric admissions fell by 11%, in contrast to a 5% increase 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 7th, there were 0.44 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.49 the week before:
After seven weeks of increases, the number of adults in the hospital started to decline eleven weeks ago.
On April 7th, that number had fallen another 6% to 697. That is even lower than it had been when the omicron wave began (968 on December 3rd).
New adult admissions have dropped by 8% to 93/day during the past week. The proportion of adults needing care in the ICU declined dramatically from 16% to 13%.
Pediatric hospitalizations are 10% lower than a week ago, with 18 children in Florida hospitals on April 7, 2022.
There were 19 pediatric admissions/day, 53% fewer than a week ago and less than on December 3rd (20).
One in 6 admissions are for children, down from one in 4 on March 31st:
HHS tracks Hospital Utilization. On the morning of April 7, 2022, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full, the same as last week.
Covid patients accounted for 1,002 of them (2% of utilized beds, also the same as last week). A week earlier, there were 1,075 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 7% fewer inpatients with Covid:
Two percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 98 Covid patients, 17% fewer than the previous week (118). Last week, 2% of ICU beds were used by Covid patients.
Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, just like a week earlier:
Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on April 8th:
- There were 16 Covid-19 admissions, down from 17 a week before
- Four Covid patients were in their ICU, the same as a week earlier
Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here