Florida Covid Statistics: What Is Really Happening, August 18, 2022

After several wonderful weeks visiting my daughters and son-in-law in England, I’ve recovered from jet lag and am back to writing.

Compared to people in the rest of the US, a permanent Florida resident was 2.8 times more likely to die due to Covid during August 12–18, 2022. The dark blue line on the right represents 458 people, 2nd worst per capita in the nation.

People in Florida were also 65% more likely to need hospital care. After ten weeks of the worst adult admissions ranking in the nation, Florida improved to 2nd worst for four days during August 4–18, 2022.

Florida’s pediatric admissions rank had been no better than 3rd worst in the US for at least 18 weeks, until August 11th. On August 18th, it improved to 6th worst.

Before vaccines were available to everyone aged 16+ in the US, Floridians had a lower death rate than elsewhere in the US and a slightly elevated risk of hospitalization. What accounts for this dramatic shift?

Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State

COVID Data Tracker: New Admissions of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19 per 100,000 Population

Risk of Hospitalization and Death in Florida vs. the Rest of the US Before and After 16+ Vaccination and During August 12–18, 2022 

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To check on other states, I recommend finding the statistical category you’re seeking on this post and then clicking on Dr. Salemi’s or the CDC’s site and entering a different state or county.

I have also published an omicron variant post, archived delta variant information, and archived general Covid-19 information. However, the most recent omicron information is here.

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An Overview:

If you were infected with Covid in Florida before the end of March, you are highly unlikely to have immunity to the subvariants which now predominate.

Three doses of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines are also significantly less protective when compared to earlier omicron subvariants.

During August 12–18, 16.7% of all Covid death reports in the US came from Florida, a state with 6.6% of the US population. That is 2.8x the death rate for that week compared to the rest of the US. People in FL were also 65% more likely to need hospital care.

Florida has the 3rd highest number of excess deaths compared to other states. That is the total number of excess deaths, not the number per 100,000 people. California has 80% more people than Florida; TX has 35% more. Among the 6 largest states, Florida has the worst death rate.

In the US during June 26–July 2, 2022, 2 boosters prevented 94% of deaths; 1 booster prevented 84%; and a primary series prevented 80% of Covid fatalities.

A 2nd booster is much less effective at preventing infections. For people 50+ during July 17–23, having at least 2 boosters prevented 72% of cases; 1 booster prevented 67%; and a primary series prevented 78%.

A report released by the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in June 2022 explains Florida’s approach to the pandemic: get as many lower-risk people infected as quickly as possible to reach herd immunity.

In July 2020, one senior federal official advocated for deliberate infection “kind of like measles parties.”

He wrote, “Infants, kids, teens, young adults, middle aged with no conditions, etc. have zero to little risk…so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…and recovered…with antibodies…Hospitals are NOW geared, PPE in place, ICU beds are on the ready, doctors and nurses alert….”

Scott Atlas, the chief architect of the herd immunity plan, advised the DeSantis Administration before joining the federal government.

Dr. Joseph Ladapo also promoted this “low testing/no masks/no lockdown” strategy to the White House before becoming the state’s surgeon general.

After months of ranking near the worst, reported cases among permanent Florida residents improved to 18th worst in the US.

Using a 5% positivity rate as the standard for detecting all cases, there were approximately 182,000 cases in Florida during August 12–18, 2022, a drop of 28% in one week.

This week, Florida ranks 2nd worst in Covid deaths; 2nd worst for adult Covid hospital admissions (only 4 days of not ranking last since 6-6-22); 3rd worst for adult hospitalizations; 6th worst for adult ICU patients (440 patients); and 6th worst for pediatric admissions (the best in at least 18 weeks).

During July 22–August 18, 741 children were admitted to Florida hospitals with Covid.

Overall, 61 Floridians <15 have died from Covid, four in the last four weeks. So far, 18 permanent Florida residents under 1 year old have died (2 in the last 4 weeks).

Florida children aged 1–4 have a death rate 17% worse than the national average, with 12 deaths.

Compared to the rest of the US, ages 5–14 and 15–29 are dying at 38% and 37% higher rates than their peers nationwide.

When I remove smaller states with higher ranks but only one death, Florida’s rankings worsen to 9th for <1; 3rd for 1–4; and 6th for 5–14.

Over 3,000 Covid deaths which a state auditor detected in early June will not be added to the state tally. According to a spokesman, the Florida Department of Health does not consider having Covid listed on a death certificate sufficient to count it as due to Covid.

As of 8-11-22, 1.2% of all permanent Florida residents who are 65+ had died from Covid. That this improved since July 14th—when it was 1.3%—is impossible. The dip occurred in the 7-28-22 report even though the size of that demographic group remained the same.

Comparing the June 30th to the June 16th report, there is an increase of 500,000 people who had received at least one shot by the same date (June 16th). The FL Department of Health spokesman refused to explain the discrepancy.

The official Department of Health web site lies about the FDA’s recommended age for vaccination, saying it is 12+, not 6 months+.

Until receiving a demand from a bipartisan Congressional committee on June 18th, the FL Dept of Health prevented hospitals and doctors’ offices from preordering the vaccines which the FDA and CDC approved for children at least 6 months old. See the Vaccination section for a more detailed account.

There were more cumulative cases reported for children under five in the June 16th report (192,875) than in the June 30th report (191,640). That gives us -1,235 for June 17–23, when the state was hindering vaccination of that age group. To my knowledge, that has not been corrected.

On June 28th, Dr. Ladapo testified to Congress that he and Governor DeSantis made the decision not to preorder vaccines and to prevent county health departments from administering them. He estimated that would affect 33,000 children.

When asked about the risk of Covid infections compared to the risk of vaccination, the surgeon general called it “a perverse question.” He asserted what matters is the risk of vaccination vs. non-vaccination.

On June 30th, the day the president of the Florida Academy of Pediatrics began vaccinating young children, the state removed her from her board position at Florida Healthy Kids.

Florida’s Chief Financial Official claimed it was for “some very political statements that do not reflect the CFO’s point of view, even going so far as to as to say that the state is ‘obstruct(ing)’ access to vaccines. The CFO does not share your opinion and believes the state has gone to great lengths to protect lives in the face of the Coronavirus.”

All Florida counties have high transmission. Omicron-specific boosters are expected in September. Medicare will cover the cost for those with that insurance. Each household can order up to three sets of four Covid tests at Covid.gov.

Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State

CDC: Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19 by Jurisdiction/Cause

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

MedRxiv: Further Humoral Immunity Evasion of Emerging SARS-CoV-2 BA.4 and BA.5 Subvariants

CDC: Variant Proportions

CDC: CDC Strengthens Recommendations and Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots

MedPage: Report Shows Trump Administration Embraced Herd Immunity via Mass Infections—The Strategy Likely Contributed to Many Preventable Deaths, Report Notes

Salemi USF: Covid-19 in Florida

Florida Covid Response: Who Is Eligible for a Covid-19 Vaccine

McClatchy: Congressional Panel Demands DeSantis Briefing on COVID Vaccines for Kids by End of Month

FDA: FDA Roundup July 8, 2022

FDA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Emergency Use of Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted

Tampa Bay Times: Ladapo Tells Congress that Florida Decision Could Limit Kids’ Vaccine Access

Florida Politics: Doctor Ousted from Florida Children’s Health Board Over Vaccine Views

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

CDC: Community Transmission in Florida

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On August 17th, the CDC deemed almost all of Florida as a sustained or resolving hotspot:

CDC COVID-19 Community Profile Report

Evidence from South Africa indicates that people who were previously infected with omicron BA.1 are susceptible to reinfection from the newer subvariants omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and omicron BA.5.

People who were vaccinated were 5 times less likely to experience reinfection than unvaccinated individuals.

These newer strains replicate in people’s nasal passages, tending to result in less severe illness.

The early omicron variants triggered long Covid in 4% of people, compared to 10% of those infected with the delta variant.

Serious cases are rare but do occur, especially in unvaccinated individuals.

NEJM: Neutralization Escape by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5

MedPage: Omicron BA.4 and BA.5: Starting from Scratch Yet Again—Here’s What We Know and What We Still Need to Find Out

Lancet: Risk of Long COVID Associated with Delta versus Omicron Variants of SARS-CoV-2

Laboratory evidence on serum samples corroborates the South African evidence of increased susceptibility to reinfection with BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 for people who had breakthrough infections due to the omicron BA.1 variant.

Three doses of the AstraZeneca (A) or Pfizer (B) vaccines are also significantly less protective when compared to earlier omicron subvariants.

These charts are on logarithmic scales, so the declines are larger than they appear until you see the lower dilution number required to neutralize the viruses:

Subsequent research indicates that infection with the BA.2 subvariant also fails to confer immunity against BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5.

MedRxiv: Omicron Sub-Lineages BA.4/BA.5 Escape BA.1 Infection-Elicited Neutralizing Immunity

Nature: BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 Escape Antibodies Elicited by Omicron Infection

DPZ: Emerging Omicron Subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 are Inhibited Less Efficiently by Antibodies

On August 20, 2022, 100% of sequenced samples in the US and in the region which includes Florida were BA.2.12.1, BA.4, BA4.6, or BA.5.

That means that the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection which is spreading in the state cannot be completely prevented by vaccination or an infection which occurred before late March 2022:

CDC: Variant Proportions

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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 is directing people to the CDC, where there is an information lag.

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Limits COVID Data to Every 2 Weeks, State Says Via Meme: Department of Health Officials Announced the Change Via Twitter, Using Vince McMahon and Cat Memes

Palm Beach Post: Florida to Update COVID-19 Data Less Frequently than All Other States

Florida Covid-19 Response

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:

Florida Covid-19 Response

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Dr. Jason Salemi from the University of South Florida was compiling some data from the CDC during weeks when the state did not issue an official report.

Even before his hard drive crashed after April 24th, he did not have direct access to the Florida data.

His rebuilt site is omitting data derived from the Florida Department of Health reports:

May 19, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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 earlier than August 5, 2022.

TBT: Why Doesnt Florida Trust Its Residents with Basic COVID Information?

Florida Covid-19 Response

Florida Influenza Surveillance Reports 2001–2022

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These bullet points are a summary of the data in the rest of this post:

Florida Covid Deaths:

  • During August 11–18, 2022, 16.7% of all Covid deaths reports in the US came from Florida, a state with 6.6% of the US population. Compared to the rest of the US, a permanent Florida resident was 2.8x more likely to die from Covid that week.
  • As of 8-18-22, the state has reported 79,019 Covid deaths among permanent FL residents to the CDC.
  • On 6-6-22, a report from the Florida Auditor General revealed the state omitted 3,000 Covid deaths from official reporting during March–October 2020.
  • The state says having Covid listed on a death certificate is not sufficient reason to count the death as Covid-related, so they will not be added to the Cumulative Deaths.
  • On June 4, 2021, the state removed 744 deaths among non-permanent residents and stopped reporting them.
  • During June 2021–July 2022, Florida reported only 7,544 of the 42,870 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (18%).
  • 1,940 permanent Florida residents died from Covid in July 2022, a 20% increase from June (1615). Only 139 were counted as “New Deaths” (7%).
  • There were 458 deaths among permanent residents reported during August 11–18. That is 2nd worst in the nation per capita.
  • The state is claiming only 14% of them as “New Deaths” (62).
  • Miami-Dade reported 98 deaths in the last week (+58%); Broward, 0 (-100%); Palm Beach, 40 (no change); Orange, <10 (-65%); and Hillsborough, 0 (-100%). I suspect neither Broward nor Hillsborough filed death reports, although they are not among the 7 officially listed as not providing data to the state.
  • FL has 9.4% of US deaths when vaccinations were available to all over 15, for 6.6% of the US population.
  • Over half of Florida’s Covid deaths have occurred since everyone 16+ became eligible for vaccination. Before then, a permanent Florida resident was 10% less likely to die.
  • Permanent Florida residents aged 80+ rank 9th best among the 50 states and Washington DC, with 23% fewer deaths than the national average for that age group
  • 18 children under 1 year old have died (2 in the last 4 weeks). Without small states with one death, FL ranks 9th worst. Infants fared 9% better than the national average.
  • Removing small states with 1 death makes Florida the 3rd worst for ages 1–4, with 12 deaths. The state has 17% more deaths in that age group than expected.
  • Without small states with 1 death, children 5–14 rank 6th in the nation with 31 deaths, 38% worse than anticipated. Two of those were in the last 4 weeks.
  • People aged 15–24 are in the demographic with the 2nd worst Mortality Rate Ratio, 37% higher than the national average with 220 deaths (4 in the last 4 weeks).
  • I cannot determine the percentage of Florida seniors with a + test who died from Covid (6.5% nationwide).
  • As of 8-11-22, 1.2% of all permanent Florida residents who are 65+ had died from Covid. That this improved since July 14th is impossible (1.3%). The dip occurred in the 7-28-22 report even though the size of that demographic group remained the same.
  • FL does not report Covid deaths stratified by vaccination status. However, deaths roughly correspond to vaccination percentages by demographic group.
  • CA has 80% more people than Florida, yet almost the same number of excess deaths.
  • Among the 6 largest states, the Florida death rate is the worst. In the last month, we have overtaken PA.

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FL Covid Vaccinations:

  • On 7-13-22, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Novavax in adults. Novavax received an EUA for teens on 8-22-22. That vaccine employs older technology which some people who have resisted vaccination to this point may find acceptable.
  • On 7-8-22, the FDA upgraded the status for the Pfizer vaccine in ages 12–17 from an Emergency Use Authorization to full approval.
  • On 6-17-22, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children as young as 6 months old. The CDC recommended them a day later.
  • The FL Dept of Heath website continues to claim the FDA recommends vaccination for those 12+, not 6 months+. The 8-11-22 official report says it is 5+.
  • Florida was the only state which failed to preorder doses for the youngest children, a move Governor DeSantis and the Department of Health spokesman said was deliberate.
  • Despite claiming health care providers could order doses directly, they were unable to do so for several days.
  • Within an hour of receiving a demand for an explanation from a bipartisan Congressional committee, the state began enabling healthcare providers to order the vaccines.
  • On 6-28-22, Dr. Ladapo testified to Congress that 33,000 young children are unlikely to access vaccination due to the ban on county health departments providing them.
  • I recommend using the Vaccines. gov site to locate a participating pharmacy. Young children can receive Covid vaccines at the same time as routine immunizations.
  • Publix has announced they will not vaccinate children under 5, although they were the first in the state to receive adult dosages.
  • On 6-30-22, the president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics was removed from the board of FL Healthy Kids for disagreeing with the DeSantis administration about the necessity of vaccination.
  • As of 8-11-22, 2% of permanent Florida residents aged 6 months–4 years had received their first shot (19,400).
  • Nationwide, 942,000 children <5 received a Covid shot by 8-17-22.
  • For those <6 months, having a mother who received 2 doses while pregnant reduced hospitalizations by 38% during omicron and 80% during delta. Vaccine efficacy doubled when given after 20 weeks.
  • Pregnant women who received boosters had 4x the antibodies of those with 2 doses. Their newborns had 2x as many antibodies as their mothers.
  • 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.
  • On 5-27-22, the Special Olympics dropped their vaccine mandate for a national tournament after the state threatened to fine them $27,500,000.
  • The risk of cardiac inflammation due to Covid is 540% higher for boys aged 5–11 than vaccination. No girls developed symptoms after vaccination.
  • Among 400 children hospitalized during the omicron wave, 1 in 3 had no preexisting conditions, 1 in 5 required care in the ICU, and 9 in 10 were unvaccinated.
  • 6% of children who tested + in ERs had post-Covid health issues 90 days later (10% of those hospitalized and 5% of those discharged). The risk rose with more symptoms and age 14+. Respiratory, systemic, neurological, and gastrointestinal issues were common.
  • Since August 2020, 15,164 minors have required hospitalization for Covid in Florida, 741 in the last four weeks.
  • During June 2022 in the US, unvaccinated children aged 5–11 were 74% more likely to need hospital admission than their vaccinated peers.
  • Unvaccinated teens (12–17) were 104% more likely to require inpatient hospital care than boosted teens.
  • As of 8-11-22, only 25% of Floridians aged 5–11 had at least one shot; 64% of adolescents did. On 6-30-22, the state claimed a 7% rise in vaccinated teens with new 10,500 doses, not a 0.5% rise.
  • On 8-11-22, Florida claimed a 72% vaccination rate. This includes anyone with at least one shot, over 600,000 snowbirds, and “vaccine tourists.” The state report inexplicably claims to exclude children under 5 and include those 6 months–1 year old.
  • CDC data shows 68% of people in Florida had at least completed a vaccine series by August 11th.
  • In the June 30th and June 16th reports, there is an increase of 500,000 people who had received at least one shot by the same date (June 16th). The FL DoH spokesman refused to explain the discrepancy.
  • Long Covid occurs significantly less often in vaccinated people. Vaccination after infection can also reduce or eliminate Long Covid symptoms.
  • 28% had booster shots by 8-18-22, an important precaution against severe illness and transmission of the omicron variants. Only 6% of Floridians have had a second booster.
  • During June 2022, boosters prevented 64% of omicron hospitalizations among people aged 18–49; 72% for ages 50–64; and 84% for senior citizens.
  • Compared to people with boosters during June 26–July 2, 2022, unvaccinated people aged 18–29 were almost equally likely to die (0.01 vs. 0); it was 7x for 30–49; 5x for ages 50–64; 8x for ages 65–79; and 4x for people over 80.
  • During the initial omicron wave in Israel, a second booster prevented 64% of hospitalizations and 72% of Covid deaths among nursing home residents compared to those who received only a first booster.
  • In the US during June 26–July 2, 2022, 2 boosters prevented 94% of deaths; 1 booster prevented 84%; and a primary series prevented 80%.
  • A 2nd booster is much less effective at preventing infections. For people 50+ during July 17–23, having at least 2 boosters prevented 72% of infections; 1 booster prevented 67%; and a primary series prevented 78% compared to the rate in unvaccinated people.
  • Mixing booster 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 8-18-22, 1,300,000 Floridians had received a 2nd booster shot, only 30% of those who had previously gotten a first booster.
  • Medicare will cover 100% of the cost of a second booster shot.
  • The state does not report cases or deaths by vaccination status. However, vaccination rates tend to parallel the death rates for each age group.
  • 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.

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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 45,386 confirmed cases among permanent Florida residents (-17%).
  • There have been 6,954,802 confirmed Covid cases in Florida among permanent residents.
  • On 6-6-22, a report from the Florida Auditor General revealed that 60% of people who tested positive for Covid during March–October 2020, were never notified of their results. That affected at least 183,000 infected individuals.
  • 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.
  • After 10 weeks of ranking near the worst in the US, on 8-18-22, Florida’s state rank for confirmed cases improved to 18th worst.
  • The most recent CDC data shows 100% of Florida counties have high transmission rates.
  • Miami-Dade had 7,695 cases (-6%); Broward had 3,746 (-7%); Palm Beach had 2,614 (-7%); Orange County—where Disney is located—had 2,726 (+13%). Seven counties reported 0 cases. Hillsborough had 3,183 during August 15–21 (+0.5%).
  • Florida reported -1,235 cases for children <5 during June 17–23, 2022, when the state was preventing their vaccination.
  • This week, I cannot determine the number of cases in children.
  • During the 2021–2022 school year, the Hillsborough County School District reported 29,000 cases among students and personnel. There is no dashboard for the 2022–2023 school year which began on August 10th.
  • 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.

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Florida Covid Testing and Prevention:

  • A report released by the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in June 2022 explains Florida’s approach to the pandemic: get as many people infected as quickly as possible to reach herd immunity.
  • One Trump Administration official wrote, “Infants, kids, teens, young adults, middle aged with no conditions, etc. have zero to little risk…so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…and recovered…with antibodies.”
  • Scott Atlas, the chief architect, advised the DeSantis Administration before joining the federal government. Dr. Joseph Ladapo also promoted this “low testing/no masks/no lockdown” strategy to the White House before becoming the state’s surgeon general.
  • Dr. Birx wrote an email refusing to meet with the group which included Dr. Ladapo, calling them, “a fringe group without grounding in epidemics, public health, or on the ground common sense experience.”
  • With omicron reinfections becoming common, we now know that achieving herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2 is a myth, yet their tactics have not changed.
  • 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.
  • Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate <5% for 2 weeks before reopening.
  • Florida crossed the 5% threshold during April 9–21, 2022.
  • For the week ending August 11th, Florida claimed an 18.4% positivity rate. The data the state reported to the CDC indicates that May 25th was the last time it was that low.
  • CDC positivity data using information from the state for August 12–18 decreased from 20.93% to 19.16%, with an average of 20.02% (-7% difference in a week).
  • That means there were about 182,000 cases during August 12–18, 2022 (-28%).
  • All of Florida’s 67 counties are above the 5% threshold; 96% of them are above 15%.
  • Orange County, where Disney is located, reported that 24.29% of tests were positive.
  • Of the 50 counties with decreased positivity, 36 fell by at least 2 full percentage points. 6 increased by at least two.
  • On 12-30-21, when it was virtually impossible to find an at-home test, FL’s Agriculture Secretary revealed 1,000,000 expired antigen tests.
  • On 1-4-22, Dr. Ladapo decried the “testing psychology” in Florida to identify all cases.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • On 3-31-22, a UF faculty committee revealed discrepancies in the surgeon general’s hiring as a tenured professor.

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Florida Covid Treatment:

  • Omicron mutations render ineffective almost all monoclonal antibodies previously in use.
  • 100% of US cases are due to those viral strains.
  • For the week ending January 8th, 97% of sequenced cases in the region which includes Florida were omicron.
  • Sotrovimab worked 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.
  • Sotrovimab is 27 times less effective for omicron BA.2.
  • During April 3–9, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 80% to 91% in the region which includes Florida (71.7% BA.2 and 19.3% of the newer BA.2.12.1).
  • On 4-5-22, the FDA revoked the Emergency Use Authorization for Sotrovimab nationwide due to the predominance of BA.2 in every state.
  • On 8-20-22, the percentage of the BA.2.12.1 subvariant in the region which includes Florida fell to 0.5%; BA.4.6 (9%) was separated from BA.4 (4%); and BA.5 climbed to 86%.
  • A monoclonal antibody called bebtelovimab is effective against BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5. We do not have information on its efficacy against BA.4.6. It began shipping to Florida during February 14–20.
  • Here is the most recent weekly federal allocation of 10,832 Covid-specific treatments to Florida: 2,200 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types); 6,520 of the oral Paxlovid; 2,112 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir.
  • In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 8,720 Covid patients being delivered to the state.
  • As of 8-14-22, Florida patients had used 58% of the state’s cumulative Paxlovid deliveries; 17% of the Molnupiravir; 56% of the Bebtelovimab; and 39% of the Evusheld.
  • On 7-6-22, the FDA authorized pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid since treatment must begin within 5 days of symptoms developing.
  • On 1-8-21, the FDA issued an Evusheld EUA for those with severe immunosuppression.
  • 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.
  • Evusheld requires a much higher dosage against omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5, which account for 91% of cases in Florida’s region.  However, it is ineffective for some subvariants which derive from BA.4 and BA.5, such as BA.4.6 (9% of FL samples).
  • On 6-29-22, the FDA increased the dosage and recommended getting the shots every 6 months.
  • On 6-26-22, Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,336 doses of pre-exposure Evusheld for severely immunocompromised people.

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Florida Covid Hospitalizations:

  • You won’t find any hospitalization info on Florida’s Weekly Reports since 6-4-21.
  • Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
  • For August 1, 2020–August 18, 2022, Florida has had 475,658 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 9.2% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
  • During August 12–18, 2022, there was an average of 596 admissions per day, a total of 4,170 (-12%). For the week, Florida had 10.6% of all new admissions in the US.
  • On August 18th, there were 2.77 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 3.27 the week before.
  • Hospitalization admission rates rose with increasing age. The amount of change this week ranged from -2% (ages 0–17) to -23% (30–39).
  • 175 children were admitted to FL hospitals this week.
  • Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
  • Since everyone 16+ became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021, Florida admissions are 44% higher than in the rest of the US. For August 11–18, it was 65% higher.
  • On 8-18-22, Florida was the 2nd worst in the nation for adult Covid admissions (one of 4 days since 6-6-22 when it did not rank last), 3rd worst for adult hospitalizations; 6th worst for adult ICU patients, 6th worst for pediatric admissions; and close to average for pediatric hospitalizations.
  • On 8-18-22, 3,480 adult Covid patients were hospitalized (-11%).
  • The state has had 588 adult admissions per day this week (-11%).
  • 440 patients needed ICU care, 13% of adults hospitalized with Covid (-8%).
  • 69 children were hospitalized (-12%), with 48 pediatric admissions on that day (-2%). Florida’s pediatric admissions rank had remained 3rd worst in the US until August 11th, the best it had been in at least 18 weeks. On August 18th, it improved to 6th worst.
  • One in 13 admissions are for children, down from 1 in 4 on April 15th.
  • On 8-18-22, Orange County—where Disney is located—had 215 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (-8%). Miami-Dade had 515 (-6%); Broward had 370 (-6%); Palm Beach had 322 (-8%); and Hillsborough had 365 (-15%).
  • Largest increases were in the Southwest part of the state.
  • On 8-19-22, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full (no change); 6.6% used by Covid patients. Covid patients accounted for 3,817 hospital beds (+2%).
  • 7.0% of ICU beds were used by 423 Covid patients. Overall, 72% of ICU beds are occupied in the state. 11% of hospitalized Covid patients were in the ICU.

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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.

After several weeks of my computer downloading the official Florida Covid report for the first time since October 2021, it is once again refusing to open the file, citing a security risk.  Dr. Salemi has resumed posting a link to the report, which is how I access it:

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

Florida Covid-19 Response

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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.”

The Hill: University of Florida Initiates Investigation into Alleged Destruction of COVID-19 Research Data

Tampa Bay Times: Federal Judge Orders Injunction to UF’s Conflict of Interest Policy

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”

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Here is some of the data from August 12–18, 2022 which the state submitted to the CDC.

Cumulative numbers are derived from adding the new CDC information to the August 11th Florida Department of Health report.

The corrected vaccination rate is from the CDC.

Positivity data reflects the average for the week as reported to the CDC:

  • New cases = 45,386; Cumulative cases = 6,954,802
  • Positivity rate = 20.02%
  • New deaths = 62; Cumulative deaths = 79,017
  • Corrected Vaccination rate = 68.1%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots: 8,428,960 (38%)
  • Vaccinated with at least one booster dose: 6,193,078 (28%)

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

CDC: Florida Daily Covid Testing

Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State

This August 5–11, 2022, data is from 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 = 54,353; Cumulative cases = 6,909,416
  • Positivity rate = 18.4%
  • New deaths = 97; Cumulative deaths = 78,559
  • Vaccination rate = 72%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots: 7,816,734
  • Total booster doses: 5,954,009

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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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 in Florida as of August 18, 2022. Forty-five counties are at the highest level; 20 are at the medium level; 2 are green:

In areas of high alert, the CDC advises everyone to wear a high-quality tight-fitting mask indoors. Please note that relaxed masking guidelines in green areas do not apply to severely immunocompromised people.

CDC: COVID-19 Community Levels

Tampa Bay Times: Florida’s COVID-19 Cases Remain High as Deaths Surpass 77,000

Here is the map for the same date based upon the level of Community Transmission:

CDC: Community Transmission in US

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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.

WFLA: ‘This Is Ridiculous’: DeSantis Scolds Students for Wearing Face Masks During USF Visit

The Hill: DeSantis Fundraises off Video of Him Chiding Students for Wearing Masks

Hillsborough County had a high alert level for Covid before and after that date:

Feb 25, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

March 3, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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Florida Covid Vaccinations:

Compare the FDA’s June 17, 2022, Emergency Use Authorization for eligibility in children (6 months+) to what Florida says on the Department of Health website (12+) and in the August 11, 2022, Department of Health report’s vaccination notes (5+):

FDA: FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age

Florida Covid Response: Who Is Eligible for a Covid-19 Vaccine

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

As expected, on June 18th, the CDC issued a statement recommending vaccination for all children at least 6 months old.

The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on June 17th.  They also expanded eligibility for the Moderna vaccine to children aged 5–17 years old.

On July 8th, the FDA upgraded the status for the Pfizer vaccine in ages 12–17 to full approval. Novavax received an EUA for adolescents on August 22nd:

CDC: CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccines for Young Children

FDA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Down to 6 Months of Age

FDA: FDA Roundup, July 8, 2022

CDC: CDC Recommends Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine for Adolescents

Since the clinical trials in young children occurred while omicron was prevalent, it is not surprising that both vaccines showed lower efficacy in preventing infection.

Two doses of Moderna were more effective (51% in 6 months–under 2 years; 37% in 2–4 years) than two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, which failed to produce a sufficient immune response. That is why a full series of Pfizer consists of three shots (80% effective).

Both types were well-tolerated, with side effects comparable to other childhood vaccines.

Ars Technica: Why Moderna’s FDA-Authorized COVID Shot for Under 5s Has the Edge Over Pfizer’s

MedPage: Pfizer or Moderna: Which COVID Vaccine Is the Best Bet for Your Toddler?

In anticipation of FDA approval, the federal government created a June 13, 2022, deadline for states to preorder the smaller doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines required for children aged 6 months–4 years old. Florida was the only state to miss that deadline.

While federal pharmacies like Costco, Publix, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and Winn-Dixie can order doses directly from the US government, most of them do not administer any vaccinations to children under 3 years old.

CVS Minute Clinics are an exception, accepting children at least 18 months old.

Despite being the first pharmacies to receive the adult vaccines in Florida, Publix has announced they will not provide them for children under 5.

I recommend using the Vaccines.gov website to locate a participating pharmacy.

During a press conference, Governor DeSantis asserted, “I would say we are affirmatively against the COVID vaccine for young kids. These are the people who have zero risk of getting anything.”

The spokesman for the Florida Department of Health stated, “The Florida Department of Health [DoH]… has made it clear to the federal government that states do not need to be involved in the convoluted vaccine distribution process, especially when the federal government has a track record of developing inconsistent and unsustainable COVID-19 policies. It is also no surprise we chose not to participate in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine when the Department does not recommend it for all children.”

As with all other childhood vaccines, Florida hospitals were able to preorder the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5–11 in November 2021 from the state program Florida SHOTS.

However, the state’s website did not provide that option for the younger cohort for several days after receiving widespread attention in the national press.

The president of the FL chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that in her contacts with the FL DoH on this issue, the agency never claimed the situation would change after the FDA authorized the vaccines.

Within an hour of the bipartisan House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus demanding an explanation, pediatric healthcare providers were able to place orders directly beginning on June 17, 2022.

Participants in the Florida SHOTS program must order at least 100 doses. Unlike for all other age groups, the state will not store the lower dosage vaccines.

As a result, small independent pediatric clinics may find it harder to deliver these shots, making it even more difficult for parents with children under 18 months old. A ten-dose vial must be thrown after away 12 hours.

According to a federal official, “The state of Florida intentionally missed multiple deadlines to order vaccines to protect its youngest kids. Now despite repeated efforts to reach out and engage officials in the state of Florida, elected officials deliberately chose to delay taking action to deny Florida parents the choice of whether to vaccinate their children or not.”

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Infants, Toddlers Face COVID Vaccine Delay, White House Says

Fox: Florida Pharmacies Will Have COVID Vaccines for Eligible Kids Under 5

CNBC: Covid Vaccine “Deserts” and Tech Woes: Publix’s Florida Rollout Highlights Risks as Retailers Play a Larger Role

The Hill: Florida-Based Publix Says They Will Not Offer Vaccine “At This Time” to Kids Under 5

Web MD: Florida Governor Rejects COVID Vaccines for Young Kids

WFLA: Pediatrics Group Calls on Florida to Order COVID Vaccine for Kids

NY Times: After Public Pressure, Florida Allows Pediatricians to Order Vaccines for Very Young Children

McClatchy: Congressional Panel Demands DeSantis Briefing on COVID Vaccines for Kids by End of Month

Tampa Bay Times: “Waiting for So Long”: COVID Vaccines Reach Youngest Floridians

Miami Herald: COVID Vaccine for Infants Arrive in Florida. Here’s Why Doctors Are Throwing Them Away

On June 28th, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo testified to the House subcommittee.

He confirmed that he and Governor DeSantis made the decision not to preorder the lower dose vaccines and to prohibit county health departments from vaccinating young children.

Dr. Ladapo admitted this would likely prevent 33,000 children without a regular doctor from receiving vaccination.

When a subcommittee member asked Dr. Ladapo about the risk of Covid infections compared to the risk of vaccination, the surgeon general called it “a perverse question.”

He asserted the comparison which matters is the risk of vaccination vs. non-vaccination, as if SARS-CoV-2 poses “little to no risk of severe illness complications.”

That same day, a high-ranking federal health official pledged to deliver smaller quantities of vaccines directly to health care providers who request them.

Based upon the experience with other age groups, pediatricians can safely give Covid vaccines with routine immunizations.

On June 30th, the same day she began vaccinating young children, the state removed the president of the Florida Academy of Pediatrics from her board position at Florida Healthy Kids.

Florida’s Chief Financial Official made the move due to “some very political statements that do not reflect the CFO’s point of view, even going so far as to as to say that the state is ‘obstruct(ing)’ access to vaccines.’ The CFO does not share your opinion and believes the state has gone to great lengths to protect lives in the face of the Coronavirus.”

Tampa Bay Times: Ladapo Tells Congress that Florida Decision Could Limit Kids’ Vaccine Access

MedPage: Pediatrician Axed for Advocating COVID Vax in Youngest Kids

MedPage: Youngest Kids Can Get COVID Shots with Other Vaccines

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As of August 11th, 19,386 young children had received their first shot in Florida, 2% of that age group. Only 25% of children aged 5–11 and 64% of adolescents had. Newer information is unavailable this week:

Nationwide, 942,000 children <5 had received a Covid vaccination by August 17, 2022:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States

For infants too young to receive vaccination, having a mother who received two doses of a vaccine while pregnant reduced hospitalizations by 38% during the omicron wave and 80% during delta.

Vaccine efficacy doubled when administered after 20 weeks rather than earlier.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that unvaccinated pregnant women become vaccinated as soon as possible to protect them and their fetuses from significant harm or death.

Pregnant women who received boosters had 4x the antibodies of those with 2 doses. Their newborns had 2x as many antibodies as their mothers.

MedPage: Newborns’ Protection with Moms’ COVID Vax Dips During Omicron

NEJM: Maternal Vaccination and Risk of Hospitalization for Covid-19 among Infants

ACOG: COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy: A Conversation Guide

JAMA: COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Booster During Pregnancy Increases Maternal and Fetal Antibodies

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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.

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Says Healthy Kids Shouldn’t Get COVID Vaccine, Contradicting CDC

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.

Tampa Bay Times: COVID Researchers: Florida “Cherry-Picked” Our Work in Kid Vaccine Recommendation

On May 27, 2022, the Florida Department of Health threatened to fine the Special Olympics $27,500,000 if the organization continued to mandate vaccination for participants in a week-long national tournament.

The organization issued a statement saying they would nullify the decree “based upon the Florida Department of Health’s interpretation of Florida law.”

Politico: Special Olympics Reverses Vaccine Requirement After Florida Threatens $27.5M Fine

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. Hormones account for the differences in risk between age groups and sexes:

Circulation: Myocarditis with COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

MMWR: Cardiac Complications After SARS-CoV-2 Infection and mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination—PCORnet, United States, January 2021–January 2022

A study of children 90 days after they tested + in emergency rooms revealed that 6% developed post-Covid health issues. The rate doubled for those with hospital admission (10% vs 5%).

Those with at least 4 symptoms and age 14+ were at greatest risk of Long Covid. Respiratory, systemic, neurological, and gastrointestinal issues were the most common symptoms:

JAMA: Post–COVID-19 Conditions Among Children 90 Days After SARS-CoV-2 Infection

During June 2022 in the US, unvaccinated children aged 5–11 were 74% more likely to need hospital admission than their vaccinated peers.

Unvaccinated teens (12–17) were 104% more likely to require inpatient hospital care than boosted teens:

CDC: Rates of Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations by Vaccination Status

Since August 2020, 15,164 minors have required hospitalization for Covid in Florida, 741 in the last four weeks:

COVID Data Tracker: New Admissions of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19 per 100,000 Population by Age Group

Sixty-one Floridians <15 have 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 5–14:

Tampa Bay Times: The CDC Says Kids Should Get the COVID Vaccine—Despite Florida

Salemi USF: Covid Deaths by State

Peterson-KFF: COVID-19 Leading Cause of Death Ranking

On May 17, 2022, the FDA approved a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5–11.

Throughout the US, children are three times as likely to have had severe disease from omicron than from previous variants:

MedPage: FDA Authorizes COVID Booster for Younger Kids—Agency Citers Concern over Omicron, Long Covid in Its Reasoning

JAMA: Acute Upper Airway Disease in Children with the Omicron (B.1.1.529) Variant of SARS-CoV-2—A Report form the US National COVID Cohort Collaborative

MMWR: Hospitalizations of Children Aged 5–11 Years with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19—COVID-NET, 14 States, March 2020–February 2022

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As of August 18, 2022, 68% of people in Florida had at least completed a vaccine series:

Based upon CDC data, 28% of permanent Florida residents and snowbirds have received a booster shot:

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

As of August 18, 2022, 1,304,758 Floridians had a second booster shot. That amounts to 30% of those 50+ who had previously received a first booster:

CDC: Percent of People with a First Booster Dose Who Received a Second Booster Dose Reported to the CDC by State/Territory for the Population 50 Years of Age and Older

We can use this CDC data from on August 17, 2022, to compare Florida’s vaccination rates to national figures:

CDC: Primary Series Completion, Booster Dose Eligibility, and Booster Dose Receipt by Age, Unites States

Note that the segments of the population with the highest percentage of boosted individuals also have lower than expected death rates compared to the national averages:

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

Salemi USF: Covid Deaths by State

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On March 25, 2022, USA Today reported that over 600,000 snowbirds had 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.

USA Today: Florida Overcounts Vaccinations by 600,000 People. Snowbirds Responsible, Analysis Shows

This is from the June 30th report. For the week beginning on June 10th, about 15,841,000 people had at least one shot:

And this is from the June 16th report. For the week beginning on June 10th, about 15,340,000 people had at least one shot. That is a difference of about 500,000 people:

June 30, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

June 16, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

The spokesman for the Florida Department of Health offered no explanation other than “Please read the last page of the report.” 

According to that section, the population is based upon the number of Floridians at least 5 years old, a statement which contradicts the portion above which discusses how they derived the number of infants to include.

It is also identical to the Vaccination Notes from the previous report:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Palm Beach Post: Florida’s COVID-19 Vaccination Count Jumps 263,000 in Two Weeks. DeSantis Officials Won’t Say Why

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A review of fifteen studies concerning vaccination and the conglomeration of symptoms known as “long Covid” found a significantly reduced rate in those who were vaccinated before getting infected.

Post-viral vaccination reduced or eliminated symptoms in up to 30% of long Covid sufferers. However, symptoms did worsen on occasion after vaccination.

UK Health Security: The Effectiveness of Vaccination Against Long Covid

Mixing vaccine types for a booster shot will give you the best protection because they stimulate different parts of your immune system.

If you had 2 or 3 Moderna, I recommend getting a Pfizer and vice versa. The CDC recommends using the same vaccine for the first two doses.

Ars Technica: Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Aren’t the Same; Study Finds Antibody Differences: The Findings Add Further Weight to the Idea of Mix-and-Match Boosting

CDC: Interchangeability of COVID-19 Vaccine Products

On May 24th, the CDC added approval for a fifth shot for people 12+ with moderate to severe immunocompromisation.

The agency previously approved a second booster shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for all adults aged 50+.

Children aged 5–11 are eligible for one booster regardless of health status. There are no safety issues associated with the additional shot.

People on Medicare can receive a second booster shot at no cost.

During the initial omicron wave in Israel, a second booster prevented 64% of hospitalizations and 72% of Covid deaths among nursing home residents compared to those who received only a first booster.

CDC: CDC Strengthens Recommendations and Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised

Center for Medicare: Eligible Individuals Can Receive Second COVID-19 Booster Shot at No Cost

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

MedPage: Second COVID Booster Protected Seniors in Long-Term Care

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.

Nature: Infectious Viral Load in Unvaccinated and Vaccinated Individuals Infected with Ancestral, Delta or Omicron SARS-CoV-2

The CDC has removed hospitalization information for adults who received only a primary series, backdated to December 2021.

This data compares people with as many boosters as they are eligible to receive to those who remain unvaccinated. You can click on the link to see the charts.

During June 2022, boosters prevented 64% of omicron hospitalizations among people aged 18–49; 72% for ages 50–64; and 84% for senior citizens:

CDC: Rates of Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations by Vaccination Status

The risk of death among unvaccinated people and those with a primary series during the weeks of May 22–28, 2022, is as follows:

  

Relative Risk of Death for No Vaccine Compared to a Primary Series

18–29 0 deaths among vaccinated; 0.1/100,000 unvaccinated

30–49 7x

50–64 5x

65–79 8x

80+ 4x

CDC: Rates of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by Vaccination Status

This graphic depicts the vaccination status of the US adult population compared to the death rates during September 2021–February 2022:

Peterson-KFF: COVID-19 Mortality Preventable by Vaccines

A second booster in people 50+ makes an enormous difference in the risk of dying from Covid.

During June 26–July 2, 2022, having at least 2 boosters prevented 94% of deaths; 1 booster prevented 84% of deaths; and a primary series prevented 80% of deaths compared to unvaccinated individuals (5.49/100,000):

CDC: Rates of COVID-19 Deaths by Vaccination Status and 2+ booster Doses in Ages 50+ Years

As we are currently seeing in the US, a second booster is much less effective at preventing infections than hospitalizations or deaths.

For people 50+ during July 17–23, 2022, having at least 2 boosters prevented 72% of infections; 1 booster prevented 67% of infections; and a primary series prevented 78% of infections compared to the rate in unvaccinated people:

CDC: Rates of COVID-19 Cases by Vaccination Status and 2+ Booster Doses in Ages 50+ Years

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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.

Becker’s Hospital Review: DeSantis Casts aside CMS Vaccine Rule for Hospitals

BBC: Top Florida Health Official on Leave over Support for Vaccination

Physicians Society Central FL: Orange’s State Health officer Raul Pino Reinstated After Leave over Vaccine E-mail

Twitter: DeSantis Pushes Infertility Conspiracy

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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Covid Deaths in Florida:

On June 6, 2022, a report from the Florida Auditor General revealed that the state omitted approximately 3,000 Covid deaths from official reporting during March–October 2020.

The Tampa Bay Times article includes a link to the audit. Those deaths are still not reflected in the June 30th report or in the chart below.

The Department of Health responded that having Covid listed on a death certificate is not sufficient to count that as a Covid death, so the state will not amend the cumulative death statistic.

Tampa Bay Times: Florida’s Health Department Undercounted COVID Cases and Deaths, State Audit Says

Palm Beach Post: Florida Leads Nation in New COVID Deaths, CDC Data Shows

During June 2021–July 2022, Florida reported only 7,544 of the 42,870 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (18%).

In July 2022, cumulative data indicated there were 1,940 Covid deaths among permanent Florida residents, a 20% increase from June (1615).

Only 139 were counted as “New Deaths” (7%):

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

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.

The Hill: Florida Reported ‘Artificial Decline’ in COVID-19 Deaths as Cases Were Surging

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:

FL Covid-19 Cases and Monitoring as of June 3, 2021

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. 

Florida Politics: Florida Reports 1000+ Covid-19 Deaths in Past Week

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Using the August 11th cumulative data from the state and the CDC data from August 18th, which showed 78,559 and 79,017 Florida deaths, I determined there were 458 Covid deaths reported in Florida during August 12–18, 2022.

Only 62 of them were counted as new deaths (14%):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State

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Clicking on individual counties reveals a higher number than the state’s “new deaths” total.

During August 12–18, Miami-Dade County reported 98 deaths (+58%); Broward had 0 (-100%); Palm Beach County had 40 (no change); Orange—where Disney is located—had <10 (-62%); and Hillsborough had 0 (-100%):

CDC: Florida Reported Deaths by County

Compared to the previous week, the CDC indicates that 7 of the 67 counties failed to report data.

Another 16 showed drops of 100%. Given that some of them typically have high numbers, I view this map with suspicion.

The Hillsborough County Covid Dashboard does not report deaths:

CDC: Percent Change in Florida Deaths from Previous 7 Days

Hillsborough County: Covid-19 Data Dashboard

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According to CDC data, there had been 79,017 Covid deaths in Florida by August 18, 2022.

Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021.

SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 44,793 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 9.4% of all American Covid-19 deaths since everyone at least 16 years old qualified for vaccination.

During August 11–18, 2022, 16.7% of all Covid deaths reports in the US came from Florida.

Compared to people in the rest of the US, a permanent Florida resident was 2.8x as likely to die from Covid:

Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State

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In the aftermath of his hard drive crashing, Dr. Salemi is making some impressive upgrades to his site.

Here is Florida’s ranking of Covid deaths stratified by age. A Mortality Rate Ratio = 1 is the national average, so infants under one year old and senior citizens are the only age groups which have fared better than expected.

Permanent Florida residents aged 85+ rank 9th best among the 50 states and Washington DC, with 23% fewer deaths than the national average for that age group.

Eighteen Floridians under 1 year old have died, some of whom may have fallen within the new vaccination eligibility criteria. Two of those were in the last four weeks. Infants fared 9% better than the national average.

Florida has the 7th worst death rate in the nation for ages 1–4 with 12 deaths, 17% more than expected.

Children 5–14 also rank 7th with 31 deaths, 38% worse than anticipated. Two of those were in the last month.

People aged 15–24 are in the demographic group with the 2nd worst Mortality Rate Ratio in the state, 37% higher than the national average with 220 deaths. Four have died in the last four weeks.

When I remove smaller states with higher ranks but only one death, Florida’s rankings rise to 9th worst for <1; 3rd worst for 1–4; and 6th worst for 5–14:

August 18, 2022

Salemi USF: Covid Deaths by State

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Nationwide, 6.5% of senior citizens who have tested positive have died.

According to the August 11, 2022, report, Florida seniors had a 6.0% death rate. In all, 1.2551% of permanent Florida residents over 64 years old had died from Covid:

It was 1.2655% in my last post, using the 7-14-22 data. That is a percentage which can only grow, since the population size is identical for senior citizens in each report:

The decline occurred in the July 28, 2022, report (1.2367%):

CDC: Demographic Trends of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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.

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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.

This 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:

CDC: Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19

Florida has a higher than expected proportion of excess deaths compared to other states, including 17,000 unrelated to Covid.

This is the total number of excess deaths throughout the pandemic, not the number per 100,000 people.

California has 80% more people than Florida yet the number of excess deaths is nearly the same:

Tampa Bay Times: Florida’s Preventable Deaths Rose During the Pandemic. It Wasn’t Just COVID

CDC: Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19 by Jurisdiction/Cause

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In this map of Covid deaths rates, if you go to the CDC’s site and click on Florida, you will see on the August 20th update that only 62 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 458 when comparing the state’s cumulative deaths for August 18, 2022, with August 11, 2022.

The other large states have much higher numbers for the week.

Florida ranks first for the highest proportion of Covid deaths among the six largest states. Due to the current wave, we have overtaken Pennsylvania: CA (236); TX (304); FL (367); NY (259); PA (363); IL (309):

CDC: United States COVID-19 Cases, Deaths, and Laboratory Testing by State and Territory

To get an accurate picture of that map for the last seven days, we must determine the death rate for 458 deaths, not 62.

Doing that shows that Florida had 2.2 deaths/100,000, ranking 2nd in per capita deaths reported in the last 7 days:

CDC: US Covid-19 7-Day Death Rate per 100,000, by State/Territory

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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 August 18, 2022, the CDC reported 45,386 confirmed Covid cases.

Adding those to the state’s previous cumulative count gives us a total of 6,954,802 cumulative Covid cases among permanent residents.

Florida reported 54,353 new cases for the week ending on August 11th, so that is a 17% decrease:

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

On June 6, 2022, a report from the Florida Auditor General revealed that 60% of people who tested positive for Covid during March–October 2020, were never notified of their results.

That affected at least 183,000 individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and likely had a major impact on preventing Covid transmission in the state. The Tampa Bay Times article includes a link to the audit.

Tampa Bay Times: Florida’s Health Department Undercounted COVID Cases and Deaths, State Audit Says

On June 4, 2021, 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:

FL Covid-19 Cases and Monitoring as of June 3, 2021

Dr. Salemi has been publishing state rankings of confirmed cases, with the addition of Washington DC and New York City.

After ten weeks of terrible rankings, Florida has improved to 18th worst:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Cases in Florida

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Clicking on this map at the CDC’s web site will show you the exact number of confirmed cases for any county.

During August 11–18, Miami-Dade had 7,695 (-6%); Broward had 3,746 (-7%); and Palm Beach had 2,614 (-7%).

Orange County—where Disney is located—had 2,726 (+13%).

Seven counties reported 0 cases, including Hillsborough. However, for August 15–21, Hillsborough reported 3,183, with a 0.5% change from the previous seven-day period:

The Hillsborough County Covid Dashboard has not been updated since August 11th:

There were over 1,100 cases reported in Hillsborough County in the August 11th state report:

CDC: Florida Reported Cases by County

Hillsborough County: Covid-19 Data Dashboard

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The greatest increases in cases are concentrated in the Panhandle and the Central East Coastal parts of the state.

Many large counties declined after big increases a week earlier:

CDC: Florida Percent Change of Cases

Dr. Jason Salemi was posting very helpful county-level case data until April 22nd. Unfortunately, the county-level data he used to post is no longer available:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Cases in Florida

April 28, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

April 22, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Data released by the state on August 11th tells us nothing about the amount of change:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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Without state data, I cannot determine the number of Florida children who tested + this week.

The 2021–2022 school year began on August 10th, and the Hillsborough County School District instituted a mandatory mask mandate on August 18, 2021. 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.

HCSD: Covid Frequently Asked Questions

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.

NIH: Mandatory Masking in Schools Reduced COVID-19 Cases During Delta Surge

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.

Hillsborough County School District: COVID-19 Student Protocol

Jan 27, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening

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 quarantined after a Covid exposure would be considered truant:

Orange County School District: Unexcused Absences for Covid

Schools closed for the summer after May 26th. As of May 23, 2022, there had been 29,051 cases during that school year in the Hillsborough County School District:

This dashboard is no longer posted online for the school year which began on August 10, 2022:

Hillsborough County Public Schools Covid Dashboard

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Florida Covid Testing and Prevention:

A report released by the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in June 2022 explains Florida’s approach to the pandemic:

In March 2020, a radiologist named Scott Atlas began pushing the federal government to stop the “a massive overreaction” that was “inciting irrational fear.”

He claimed that SARS-CoV-2 would kill about 10,000 Americans, a number so small that it “would be unnoticed” compared to influenza.

Dr. Atlas advocated isolating high-risk people and exposing lower-risk Americans to the virus as quickly as possible.

Masks and widespread social distancing would prevent that from happening, so he eschewed them.

On July 4, 2020, another like-minded Trump Administration official wrote this:

Dr. Deborah Birx pointed out that many Americans over 70 live in multi-generational households, to no avail.

Dr. Atlas advised Ron DeSantis on Florida’s Covid response.

Several months later, Jared Kushner secretly hired him to join the Trump Administration.

Mr. Kushner told him to hide his badge and had him anonymously join Coronavirus Task Force online meetings for the first two weeks he was employed there, because Dr. Birx “would be extremely sensitive and upset and threatened if I came in.”

A memorandum written by Dr. Atlas called “Strategy for Moving Forward Covid-19” stated this:

He also claimed, “…emerging research adding insights into immunity and suggesting that herd immunity may arise with a far lower population infection rate than originally thought…We expect to see more cases with more social interactions, because this is a contagious disease.”

In August 2020, Dr. Atlas invited several doctors to the White House who agreed with his approach.

One of them was Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who now serves as the Florida Surgeon General.

Dr. Birx sent this email to the vice president’s chief of staff, calling them “a fringe group without grounding in epidemics, public health, or on the ground common sense experience”:

The group met anyway.

During her testimony to the House Select Subcommittee, Dr. Birx called the meeting “dangerous”, and said, “any credibility given to these individuals in this moment while we were headed into the fall would be dangerous for our overall response and ability to contain the virus.”

Fearing that large-scale testing was harmful because it would interfere with achieving herd immunity and lead to “lockdowns [which would] hurt Americans more than the virus,” Dr. Atlas wrote this on August 3, 2020:

After fierce debate, the testing guidance was drastically weakened against the wishes of the CDC director.

An unknown person removed the recommendation for people without symptoms to self-isolate for 14 days after close contact with an infected person. Testing declined significantly.

In September, Dr. Atlas sent an email claiming that PCR tests were “misleadingly positive.”

His “remedy” was to make the lab work stop after fewer cycles, making the virus harder to detect:

Three weeks after restrictions were loosened, the CDC reinstated 14 days of isolation even with a negative test.

When Jared Kushner read a draft tweet created for President Trump to ask everyone to wear a mask to slow viral spread, Dr. Atlas objected that it wasn’t consistent with the president’s disparagement of masks. It was weakened to read “only if you cannot socially distance.”

Dr. Atlas then wrote several op-eds claiming that masking could be harmful due to contamination and giving a false sense of security:

His anti-mask program enabled the spread of the virus, perfectly in keeping with his desire to get as many people infected quickly as possible.

The subcommittee cited Dr. Atlas’ schemes to promote herd immunity as a major factor in the subsequent rejection of vaccines by many Americans.

While meeting with the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus, multiple former senior officials on the White House Coronavirus Task Force emphasized that Dr. Atlas severely impaired the effectiveness of the pandemic response.

Dr. Birx estimated that 130,000 more lives were lost due to those decisions, which closely mirror what we have seen implemented by the DeSantis Administration in Florida.

You can find a link to the full report here:

MedPage: Report Shows Trump Administration Embraced Herd Immunity via Mass Infections—The Strategy Likely Contributed to Many Preventable Deaths, Report Notes

With omicron reinfections becoming common, we now know that achieving herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2 is a myth, yet their tactics have not changed.

Becker Hospital Review: How Omicron changed the Reinfection Landscape

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A scandal erupted on December 30th concerning 1,000,000 expired antigen tests sitting in a warehouse. At that time, it was virtually impossible to find an at-home test.

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.

On January 6th, the governor announced the state was shipping 1,000,000 test kits to long-term care and nursing facilities.

Florida’s web site shifted its focus to testing. Specifically, that people who are not high-risk should avoid it:

The Hill: Florida Surgeon General Blasts “Testing Psychology” around COVID-19

Florida Covid-19 Response

The Hill: DeSantis Administration Says It Let a Million COVID-19 Tests Expire in Florida Warehouse

The Hill: Florida Sending 1 Million Free COVID-19 Tests to Elderly Communities

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.­­

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Contractors Didn’t Report 230,000 COVID Tests on Time During Omicron Wave

Every household in the US is now eligible to receive 3 shipments of 4 free Covid tests from the federal government at Covid.gov.

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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.

CDC: Self Testing at Home or Anywhere

Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate less than 5% for two weeks before reopening. That means enough testing is taking place to capture even asymptomatic cases.

JHU: COVID-19 Testing: Understanding the “Percent Positive”

Florida crossed the 5% threshold during April 9–21, 2022:

June 2, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

The Florida Department of Health reported an average of 18.4% on August 11, 2022:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

According to data which the state reported to the CDC, May 25th was the last time the state’s average was 18.4%.

Seven-day positivity rate averages during August 12–18 steadily decreased from 20.93% to 19.16%, with an average of 20.02% (-7%).

That means there were about 182,000 cases in Florida during August 12–18, 2022 (-28%):

CDC: Florida Daily Covid Testing

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Dr. Jason Salemi was posting very helpful county-level data until April 22nd. Unfortunately, his site no longer includes county-level data since the crash of his hard drive.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

April 22, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

On August 19, 2022, every Florida county exceeded the 5% threshold, with only 3 of them below 15%.

Disney’s location (Orange County) had a 24.29% positivity rate:

CDC: Florida Positivity Percentages by County

Fifty of the state’s 67 counties experienced a decrease in their positivity rates compared to a week earlier.

Six reported increases of at least two full percentage points. Thirty-six fell by at least two points.

You can check on the amount of change in your county’s positivity rate by going to the link under this map:

CDC: Florida Change in Weekly Percentage of Positivity by County

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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:

Florida Covid-19 Response

Mutations which have resulted in the omicron variants render ineffective almost all the monoclonal antibodies previously in use, including the antibody combination used in Regeneron against the delta variant (imdevimab and casirivimab).

In the US, 100% of new cases were due to the omicron strains by January 29, 2022:

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

NEJM: Efficacy of Antibodies and Antiviral Drugs Against Covid-19 Omicron Variant

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

For the week ending January 8th, 97% of sequenced cases in the region which includes Florida were omicron:

CDC: Variant Proportions

Jan 13, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

At that time, there was only one monoclonal antibody produced in the US which could attach to circulating omicron BA.1 particles.

Sotrovimab worked against the original omicron variant and omicron BA.1 at a dosage three times that required to neutralize the delta variant.

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

NEJM: Efficacy of Antibodies and Antiviral Drugs Against Covid-19 Omicron 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

Florida Health: Florida to Open Additional Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Treatment Sites

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 continued to emphasize this until at least July 25th is mystifying:

Those notices have finally been removed:

Florida Covid-19 Response

Governor DeSantis accused the Biden Administration of having no clinical evidence, despite the manufacturers of both antibodies noting they are now ineffective:

FDA: Coronoavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Limits Use of Certain Monoclonal Antibodies to Treat COVID-19 Due to the Omicron Variant

Daniel Dale: DeSantis vs Regeneron and Lilly

Abcellera: Statement on the Neutralization Activity of Its Monoclonal Antibody Therapies Against the Omicron Variant of Concern

Ron DeSantis: Governor DeSantis Condemns Biden Administration’s Haphazard Decision to Revoke Authorization of Lifesaving Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

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The subvariants called BA.4 and BA.5 were first detected in the US in late May 2022.

They have rapidly replaced earlier versions of SARS-CoV-2. Even BA.2.12.1 is down to 0.5% of samples tested.

Since my last report on July 21st, the CDC has separated BA.4.6 from its ancestor, BA.4.

During August 13–21, BA.5 accounts for 89% of US samples; BA.4.6 for 6%; and BA.4 for 4%:

In this map, light green designates BA.4, blue represents BA.4.6, and dark green depicts BA.5.

In the region which includes Florida during August 13–20, 2022, the percentage of BA.2.12.1 fell to 0.5%; BA.4 fell to 4%; BA.4.6 rose to 9%, and BA.5 continued its climb to 86%:

Sotrovimab is 27 times less effective against BA.2 than for BA.1 and ineffective for newer variants.

Therefore, on April 5, 2022, the FDA amended the Emergency Use Authorization to revoke the use of Sotrovimab nationwide.

CDC: Variant Proportions

June 2, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Does Any Monoclonal Antibody Work Against BA.2?—Pre-print Lab Data Cast Doubt on the One Remaining Effective Antibody Treatment

BioRxiv: Antibody Evasion Properties of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Sublineages

MedPage: COVID Antivirals Appear to Hold Up Against BA.2—In Lab Study, Monoclonal Antibodies Required Much Higher Concentrations Versus Omicron Subvariant

FDA: Update [4/5/2022] FDA Revokes Use of Sotrovimab to Treat COVID-19 Nationwide Due to the BA.2 Omicron Sub-variant

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The August 18, 2022, update of this chart indicates that a different monoclonal antibody called Bebtelovimab neutralizes omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5.

In this chart, not being highlighted means an antibody works well:

This chart from a preprint study indicates that Bebtelovimab is effective against BA.4.6:

Medical News Today: The Latest Omicron Subvariant: What We Know So Far about BA.2.12.1

Stanford Univ: Coronavirus Antiviral and Resistance Database

DPZ: Emerging Omicron Subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 are Inhibited Less Efficiently by Antibodies

MedRxiv: Further Humoral Immunity Evasion of Emerging SARS-CoV-2 BA.4 and BA.5 Subvariants

On February 10, 2022, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced the purchase of enough Bebtelovimab to treat 600,000 people. It began shipping nation-wide within a week.

Public Health Emergency: State/Territory-Coordinated Weekly Distribution of COVID-19 Therapeutics

On April 25, 2022, the federal government changed its allocation method to one aligned with vaccine delivery and switched to a new web page:

HHS: COVID-19 Therapeutics Thresholds, Orders, and Replenishment by Jurisdiction

Here is the most recent federal allocation of 10,832 Covid-specific treatments to Florida:

  • 2,200 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types)
  • 6,520 of the oral Paxlovid
  • 2,112 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir (Lagevrio)
  • None of the pre-exposure Evusheld

In total, there were enough highly effective treatments for 8,720 Covid patients delivered to the state during the week of August 15th:

As of August 14th, Florida patients had used 58% of the state’s cumulative Paxlovid deliveries; 17% of the Legevrio (Molnupiravir); 56% of the Bebtelovimab; and 39% of the Evusheld:

FDA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes New Monoclonal Antibody for Treatment of COVID-19 that Retains Activity Against Omicron Variant

HHS: Secretary Becerra Announces HHS Purchase of 600,000 Treatment Courses of New Monoclonal Antibody that Works Against Omicron

HHS: COVID-19 Therapeutics by Jurisdiction

On July 6, 2022, the FDA granted pharmacists the authorization to prescribe Paxlovid, citing the need to begin treatment within 5 days of symptoms developing. However, the agency does recommend seeing a physician first whenever possible.

MedPage: FDA Gives Pharmacists Thumbs Up for Paxlovid Prescribing

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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.

FDA: FDA Authorizes New Long-Acting Monoclonal Antibodies for Pre-Exposure Prevention of COVID-19 in Certain Individuals

Governor’s Office: Governor DeSantis Highlights New Preventative Monoclonal Antibody for Immunocompromised Patients

Stat: A Tiny Florida Company Got more of a Scarce Covid Therapy than Some Big Hospitals, Raising Equity Questions

Miami Herald: Florida Sent Scarce COVID-19 Therapy to a Private Broward Clinic before Jackson Memorial

Local 10: Jackson, UM Hospital to Receive Shipments of Monoclonal Antibody Doses for Immunodeficient Patients

Public Health Emergency: State/Territory-Coordinated Weekly Distribution of COVID-19 Therapeutics

Evusheld appears to remain effective against BA.4 and BA.5 but at a much higher dosage.

On June 29th, the FDA revised the dosage of each component of Evusheld and recommended repeating the shots every 6 months.

Unfortunately, it does not work against BA.4.6 and several other subvariants which derive from BA.4 and BA.5:

MedRxiv: Further Antibody Escape by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 from Vaccine and BA.1 Serum

Stanford Univ: Coronavirus Antiviral and Resistance Database

FDA: FDA Authorizes Revisions to Evusheld Dosing

MedRxiv: Further Humoral Immunity Evasion of Emerging SARS-CoV-2 BA.4 and BA.5 Subvariants

Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,336­­ doses of Evusheld on August 1st:

HHS: COVID-19 Therapeutics by Jurisdiction

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Covid Hospitalizations in Florida:

You won’t find any hospitalization information on Florida’s Weekly Surveillance Reports. Florida stopped reporting Covid hospitalizations on June 4, 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.

COVID Data Tracker: New Admissions of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19 per 100,000 Population by Age Group

Since the omicron variants 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.

WaPo: In the Nation’s Hospitals, this Covid Wave Is Different

MedPage: When COVID Pushes Other Conditions Past the “Tipping Point”—Is the Patient Hospitalized “for” COVID, “with” COVID, or Somewhere in Between?

For August 1, 2020–August 18, 2022, Florida has had 475,658 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 9.2% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.

During August 12–18, 2022, there was an average of 596 admissions per day, a total of 4,170. That was a decrease of 12% from the previous week (680/day) but 10.6% of all US Covid admissions.

Nevertheless, that was 73% 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 August 18, 2022, the rate of hospitalization admissions rose with increasing age. The amount of change this week ranged from -2% (ages 0–17) to -23% (30–39).

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 August 18th, there were 2.77 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 3.27 the week before:

AGEADMISSIONS% CHANGE
0–170.60-2
18–290.89-7
30–391.16-23
40–491.46-8
50–592.14-18
60–693.40-21
70+9.27-9
all2.77-11
   
   

During August 1, 2020–August 18, 2022, there have been 15,164 pediatric hospital admissions with confirmed Covid in Florida, with 175 of those in the last week:

COVID Data Tracker: New Admissions of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19 per 100,000 Population by Age Group

Since everyone 16+ became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021, people in Florida were 44% more likely to require Covid hospitalization than people in the rest of the US. For August 11–18, 2022, that elevated risk rose to 65%:

Risk of Hospitalization and Death in Florida vs. the Rest of the US Before and After 16+ Vaccination and During August 12–18, 2022 

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Dr. Salemi is now publishing the hospitalization rankings for every state and Washington DC for each age group over time.

On August 18th, Florida was the 2nd worst in the nation for adult Covid admissions. Since 6-6-22, this is one of only 4 days that the state has not ranked last.

Florida is 3rd worst for adult hospitalizations; 6th worst for adult ICU patients, 6th worst for pediatric admissions; and close to average for pediatric hospitalizations:

August 1–18, 2022

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Florida

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

When Florida officials refused to preorder vaccines for young children, the state was the 2nd worst in the US for pediatric admissions:

June 13–30, 2022

June 30, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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After ten weeks of the worst adult admissions ranking in the nation, Florida improved to 2nd worst during August 4–18, 2022.

Until then, the number of patients had risen steadily. There were 588 adult admissions per day (-11%).

On August 18, 2022, 3,480 adult Covid patients were hospitalized (-11%). Adult hospitalizations have been 3rd worst for two weeks, an improvement from two weeks of being 2nd worst.

Thirteen percent of hospitalized adults needed ICU care, falling by 8% to 440.

Pediatric Covid hospitalizations are 12% lower on August 18th than a week earlier, with 69 children in the hospital.

There were 48 pediatric admissions on that day (-2%), yet Florida’s pediatric admissions rank improved from 4th to 6th worst in the US. Until the August 11th report, it had been no better than 3rd since before April 20, 2022. That is at least 18 weeks.

One in 13 admissions are for children, down from 1 in 4 on April 20th:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Florida

June 2, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

April 22, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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Here is the most recent county-level data from the CDC. You can click on their web site’s map to see specific information for each county.

On August 17th, Orange County—where Disney is located—had 215 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (-8%). Miami-Dade had 515 (-6%); Broward had 370 (-6%); Palm Beach had 322 (-8%); and Hillsborough had 365 (-15%):

CDC: Florida Confirmed COVID-19 New Hospital Admissions by County

This is the percentage of change in hospital admissions by county as of August 17th.

The locations with the largest increases are in the Southwest past of the state:

CDC: Percent Change in Hospital Admissions by County

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HHS tracks Hospital Utilization.

On August 19th, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full. Covid patients accounted for 3,817 of them (6.6% of utilized beds):

7.0% percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 423 Covid patients. This represents 11% of hospitalized Covid patients.

Overall, 72% of ICU beds are occupied in the state:

HHS: Hospital Utilization by State

Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on August 19th:

  • There were 65 Covid-19 admissions
  • 14 Covid patients were in their ICU

Tampa General: Hospital Bed Availability for COVID-19 Patients

Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here:

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?