Florida Covid Statistics: What Is Really Happening, February 17, 2022

I have also published an omicron variant post, archived delta variant information, and archived general Covid-19 information.

To download this as a pdf, click here.

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FL Covid Deaths:

  • As of February 17, 2022, FL has claimed 68,902 cumulative Covid deaths.
  • On June 4, 2021, the state removed 744 deaths among non-permanent residents and stopped reporting them.
  • Weekly deaths among permanent residents reported by FL increased by 3% to 1,330.
  • The state is claiming only 12% of them as “New Deaths” (161).
  • During June 2021–January 2022, Florida has reported only 6,075 of the 29,655 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (20%).
  • Hillsborough County had 30 deaths, a 21% weekly decrease.
  • 83% percent of deaths reported in Florida last week were among senior citizens.
  • FL has 9.2% of US deaths when vaccinations were available to all over 16 (6.6% US population).
  • CA has 70% more people than Florida, yet almost the same number of excess deaths.
  • Among the 6 largest states, the Florida death rate is below only Pennsylvania’s.
  • FL does not report Covid deaths stratified by vaccination status.

FL Covid Vaccinations:

  • Florida claims a 74% vaccination rate.
  • 60% of permanent Florida residents have at least completed a vaccine series.
  • 23% have booster shots, an important precaution against the omicron variant.
  • Boosters prevented 94% of omicron hospitalizations among seniors; 92% for ages 50–64.
  • The state does not report cases or deaths by vaccination status.
  • On 1-14-22, the governor refused to enforce the federal mandate for healthcare workers upheld by the Supreme Court a day earlier.
  • On 1-19-22, the state put Orange County’s epidemiologist on leave for chiding his employees’ 40% vaccination rate.
  • On 1-15-22 the governor said many nurses avoid vaccination due to “trying to have families.” Numerous studies confirm vaccination does not cause infertility.

Florida Covid Testing:

  • On 1-4-22, FL’s Surgeon General decried “testing psychology” to identify all cases.
  • On 1-6-22, FL’s Agriculture Secretary revealed 1,000,000 expired antigen tests.
  • On 1-8-22, FL’s web site told those not at high risk of severe cases to avoid testing.
  • On 1-9-22, the governor announced 1,000,000 tests for long-term care and nursing homes
  • On 2-7-22, the state reprimanded two companies which failed to report 230,000 test results from December and January until that week.

Florida Covid Cases:

  • On the February 10th report, Florida reported 5,775,171 cumulative cases among permanent residents.
  • On June 4th, the state removed all data from anyone who is not a permanent resident and stopped reporting it. This deleted 43,535 cases.
  • 42,473 cases were reported as new, a 59% decrease from the prior week.
  • The state over-reported 100 cases, 0.2% of the total.
  • FL began a decline five weeks ago. New cases are 340% higher than in mid-November.
  • An 8.2% new case positivity rate means there are likely 0.6 unreported cases for each + test. This was a 43% decrease compared to last week.
  • Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate <5% for 2 weeks before reopening
  •  7,741 Florida residents under 20 tested positive, a decrease of 63% from last week.
  • Adolescents had positivity rates 1% higher than any other demographic group in Florida.
  • Reported cases in the Hillsborough County School District fell 65%.
  • 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.
  • On 1-3-22, FL students absent due to Covid exposure are truant per Orange County

Florida Covid Treatment:

  • Omicron mutations render ineffective almost all monoclonal antibodies previously in use.
  • 100% of FL cases are due to that viral strain; 99.7%, 4 weeks ago; 92%, 6 weeks ago.
  • The rate of increase for the BA.2 subvariant is significantly slower than for previous omicron variants. In the past week, BA.2 increased from 1.1% to 1.9% of Florida Covid cases.
  • Sotrovimab works against the omicron BA.1 variant at a dosage 3x more than for delta. It is 27 times less effective for omicron BA.2.
  • Six weeks ago, 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.
  • A new monoclonal antibody called bebtelovimab is effective against omicron BA.2. It began shipping to Florida this week.
  • 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.
  • Paxlovid prevents 89% of the expected hospitalizations or deaths; Molnupiravir, 30%.
  • During Feb 14–21, 2022, the federal government is sending enough highly effective doses to treat 11,400 Floridians.

Florida Covid Hospitalizations:

  • You won’t find any hospitalization info on Florida’s Weekly Reports since 6-24-21.
  • Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
  • Florida fell from 23rd to 24th in rank among states for adults, with a 28% drop in hospitalizations.
  • The rank of pediatric hospitalizations fell from 12th to 18th, with a 35% decline.
  • For August 1, 2020–February 10, 2022, 8.9% of all US Covid hospitalizations were in FL (6.6% of US population). That includes over 400,000 people.
  • 306% more adults in hospital with Covid on Feb 19th,compared to Dec 3rd.
  • For Feb 11–17, 2022, there were 677 admissions/day (4,740), 29% less in a week.
  • On February 17th, there were 3.19 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 4.48 the week before.
  • Percentage of people in the hospital who required care in the ICU increased to 19%.
  • Hospitalizations declined for every age group, ranging from 21% for ages 50–59 to 40% for those ages 30–39.
  • Pediatric hospitalizations fell 25%, with 96 in FL hospitals on Feb 19, with a 40% decrease to 44 admissions/day.
  • Children had experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December.
  • Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rank among states dropped from 12th to 18th, with a 35% decline.
  • 120% more pediatric hospitalizations than on Dec 3rd.
  • One in 15 admissions were for children.
  • Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
  • On 2-18-22, 81% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 8% used by Covid patients.
  • Covid patients accounted for 4,637 of them, 26% fewer patients than a week earlier.
  • 12% of ICU beds were used by 741 Covid patients, 25% fewer than the previous week.
  • Overall, 80% of ICU beds are occupied in the state.
  • 1/3 are admitted for Covid diagnosis; 1/3 for Covid worsening an underlying condition; and one-third for reasons unrelated to their viral infection.

Miami-Dade County:

  • In FL’s hardest-hit area, the omicron wave of infections declined by 81% after doubling the previous week (for reasons I cannot determine from the available information).
  • For the week, 4,700 permanent residents tested positive.
  • This is an 81% decrease from last week, when there were 24,000; two weeks ago, there were 16,000; three weeks ago, there were 23,000; four weeks ago, there were 47,000; five weeks ago, there were 94,000; six weeks ago, there were 110,000; seven weeks ago, they had 100,000; eight weeks ago, there were 11,500 new cases.
  • The positivity rate dropped to 7.6%, so the likely number of cases is 50% higher.
  • Hospital admissions declined for a fourth week, this time by 41%.
  • However, the number of reports of people who died increased by 4% to 167.

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Until January 1, 2022, Florida was the only state in the US which was releasing statistics on a weekly basis. Tennessee has now switched to that schedule. Information available in Florida’s reports is far more limited than what the state formerly provided.

Since October 14, 2021, I have made many attempts to access the FL Dept of Health Weekly Report. However, my browser will not download it due to a potential security risk:

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

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.

Meanwhile 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

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I’m now accessing the pdf for the weekly summary via Dr. Jason Salemi’s site:

Here is some of the data from February 11–17, 2022:

  • New cases = 42,473; Cumulative cases = 5,775,171
  • Positivity rate = 8.2%
  • New deaths = 161; Cumulative deaths = 68,902
  • Vaccination rate = 74%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,235,681
  • Total booster doses: 5,007,337

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The vaccination rate reported by the state remained at 74%. This figure represents only those eligible for vaccination and includes partially vaccinated people. Florida’s population is currently 21,975,117, so 60% have at least completed a vaccination series. People who receive a booster shot are removed from the Series Completed Category and added to the Additional Dose Category.

Twenty-three percent of Floridians have received a booster shot, a dose considered extremely important for providing protection against the omicron variant. Since I created this chart, researchers have discovered that booster efficacy begins to wane at ten weeks:

Efficacy at Peak of Protection: Booster Efficacy Wanes 15% to 20% After Ten Weeks

For adults aged 50–64 during January 2–8, 2022, the CDC has added people who received booster shots as a separate category. Unvaccinated people in this age group were hospitalized at a rate of 136.9/100,000. Those who finished a vaccine series had 79% fewer hospitalizations than expected. A booster dose prevented 92% of hospitalizations:

Results for that same week for senior citizens showed that unvaccinated individuals required hospital care at a rate of 426.1/100,000. Completing a vaccine series reduced the likelihood of needing hospitalization by 72%. Adding a booster prevented 94% of hospitalizations which would have occurred without vaccination:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

UK Government: Monitoring Reports of the Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccination: Data on the Real-World Efficacy of the COVID-19 Vaccines

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

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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. He may be charged with a criminal offense for sending an email chiding the county’s public health employees for their 40% vaccination rate. That suspension appears to still be in force.

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

Twitter: DeSantis Pushes Infertility Conspiracy

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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Note that archived data on influenza statistics is readily available on the FL Dept of Health web site: Florida Influenza Surveillance Reports 2001–2022

This data from February 4–10, 2022, came from Dr. Salemi’s archives. Since October 14th, my browser will not download the FL Dept of Health Weekly Report, citing it as a security risk. Nevertheless, you would not find any archived Covid information on the FL Dept of Health site:

This was the situation during February 4–10, 2022:

  • New cases = 103,022; Cumulative cases = 5,732,798
  • Positivity rate = 14.3%
  • New deaths = 195; Cumulative deaths = 67,572
  • Vaccination rate = 74%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,241,766
  • Total booster doses: 4,976,065

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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Covid Deaths in Florida:

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

During June 2021–January 2022, Florida has reported only 6,075 of the 29,655 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (20%):

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

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

Subtracting the February 17th New Deaths from the Cumulative Deaths should give us the number of February 17th Cumulative Deaths. However, doing that reveals 1,169 deaths which were not included in the February 17th New Deaths. There was a total of 1,330 deaths reported in Florida during that week. Yet only 12% of deaths (161) are reflected clearly on the February 17th report. This is a 3% increase from last week (1,293):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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. 

Unless someone knows to compare the two data sets from both weeks, that is not apparent. By removing data from February 10th and adding data from February 17th on the state’s web site simultaneously, only people who have saved the older data can see what they are doing. It looks like the death rate is 88% better than it is.

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

During February 11th–17th, Hillsborough County had 30 deaths reported to the CDC, a decrease of 21% from the prior week:

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

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Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021. SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 34,131 permanent residents of the state since that date to February 17, 2022. Despite having only 6.6% of the US population, this represents 9.2% of all American Covid-19 deaths since everyone at least 16 years old qualified for vaccination:

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

Nationwide, 8.4% of senior citizens who have tested positive have died. Since the pandemic began, 1.1% of all permanent Florida residents at least 65 years old have died due to Covid-19 (1,132/100,000). That is 7.0% of people in that age group who tested positive. It was 9.0% on December 30th, indicating that a lot of Florida’s senior citizens have tested positive in the last six weeks:

By comparing the last two weeks, we can see the number and percentage of deaths in each demographic group which occurred during February 10–17, 2022:

  • Under 16 = 0               (0%)
  •      16–29 = 3               (0.2%)
  •      30–39 = 13             (1.0%)
  •      40–49 = 30             (2.2%)
  •      50–59 = 86             (6.5%)
  •      60–64 = 87             (6.5%)
  •          65+ = 1,111        (83.6%)

       1,330        100%

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

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

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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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. Here is that information for Florida. 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. This is the total number of excess deaths throughout the pandemic, not the number per 100,000 people. California has 70% more people than Florida yet the number of excess deaths is nearly the same:

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

Seven weeks ago, Florida improved from the deepest shade of blue for the first time since I began downloading this graphic. If you go to the CDC’s site and click on Florida, you will see on the February 19th update that only 81 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 1,330 in the state report during February 11–17, 2022. The other large states have much higher numbers for the week. Florida now ranks second for the highest proportion of Covid deaths among the six largest states: CA (209); TX (283); FL (313); NY (241); PA (333); IL (286):

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

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Covid Cases in Florida:

On the February 17th report, Florida reported 5,775,171 cumulative cases among permanent residents. Of those, 42,473 were reported as new, a 59% decrease from the prior week (103,022). Subtracting the new number from the cumulative one should give us the cumulative number from the prior week: 5,732,698.

However, the February 10th report shows a cumulative number of 5,732,798. This week, the state is over-reporting 100 cases, 0.2% of the total:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

On June 4th, the state removed all data from anyone who has not established permanent residency and stopped reporting information from visitors, seasonal residents, and migrant workers. This deleted 43,535 cases. I can no longer access this file, as my browser deems it a security risk:

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

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Following six weeks of large increases since the omicron variant was first detected, Florida began a downward trajectory five weeks ago. However, our new cases are still 340% higher than in mid-November (9,642 reported on 11-19-21). A new case positivity rate of 8.2% means there are likely 0.6 unreported cases for each positive test:

Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate less than 5% for two weeks before reopening.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Nov 18, 2021 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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

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Miami-Dade County was one of the first places in the state to detect the omicron variant. On December 16th, 80% of samples sequenced there were the omicron variant. Only two weeks before, 99% had been the delta variant. Until this week, the omicron wave seemed to have reached its peak in that county. Look at what has happened there in the seven days before February 17th:

  • 4,700 cases in an area where 88% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. This is an 81% decrease from last week, when there were 24,000; two weeks ago, there were 16,000; three weeks ago, there were 23,000; four weeks ago, there were 47,000; five weeks ago, there were 94,000; six weeks ago, there were 110,000; seven weeks ago, they had 100,000; eight weeks ago, there were 11,500 new cases.
  • 0.8% of the population tested positive during last week (173/100,000)
  • A 7.6% positivity rate, meaning the actual number of cases is likely 50% higher. This is a decrease of 4% from the previous week.
  • A drop in hospital admissions for the fourth straight week since the omicron wave began (41%).
  • However, the number of people who died rose to 167, a 4% increase from a week ago (160).

ABC News: Omicron Makes Up 80% of Cases in Miami-Dade

CDC: Integrated County View, Miami-Dade FL

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

There is a discrepancy between the CDC and state data, with Florida reporting a 105% lower positivity rate and 36 fewer new cases (0.7%):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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During the week of February 11–17, 2022, 1,641 children under five tested positive in Florida, a decrease of 58% over the previous week (3,953). Among those 5–19, 6,100 tested positive, 64% fewer than the prior week (17,221). In total, 7,741 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive, a decrease of 63% from the week before (21,174). Adolescents had positivity rates 1% higher than any other demographic group in Florida:

Booster shots are approved for anyone at least 12 years old who had a second shot of an mRNA vaccine over five months ago or got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago. Those aged 12–17 are limited to the Pfizer vaccine.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

This school year began on August 10th, and the Hillsborough County School District instituted a mandatory mask mandate on August 18th. They ended it on October 15th. Florida law prohibits requiring masks in non-medical settings and now leaves the decision about quarantining after a close contact at school to the child’s parents.

HCSD: Covid FrequentlyAsked Questions

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.”

Hillsborough County School District: COVID-19 Student Protocol

On January 26th, the Orange County School District announced that the state will no longer permit excused absences for Covid effective January 31st. Children who quarantine after a Covid exposure will be considered truant:

Orange County School District: Unexcused Absences for Covid

In the Hillsborough County School District, as of February 17, 2022, there have been 27,814 cases during this school year. The 278 cases reported during February 11–17, 2022 constitute a 65% decrease from the previous week (800 during February 4–10, 2022).

My daughters’ high school has had 144 cases, with none of those in the last two weeks. The local middle school has had 146 cases; none of those occurred in the last two weeks. Our elementary school has had 183, with 4 occurring last week. None had been reported for several weeks before the fall semester ended.

Hillsborough County Public Schools Covid Dashboard

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Here are a few of the FL Dept of Health county positivity rates. Hillsborough County’s fell 25%, from 15.9% to 11.9%. The state average dropped by 43% in one week, from 14.3% to 8.2%. That means there are likely 0.6 unreported cases for each positive test in the state. We cannot tell from the state report that the number of cases in Hillsborough County decreased by 44% in the past week (from 7,681 to 4,324):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Dr. Jason Salemi, a professor from the University of South Florida, has been compiling data from the state since May 28th, when the reporting drastically changed. His county-level data are quite helpful. Note that the date reflects the beginning of the week. It indicates that Hillsborough County’s case rate fell 44%, from 509/100,000 people to 287/100,000 during February 11–17, 2022. On his site, you can click on the maps for detailed information on each county:

He also lists the data for each week since May 28, 2021, when Florida deleted its daily dashboard. I have excluded some weeks to fit the most recent data into the screenshot. The 44% decrease in Hillsborough County cases this week is evident here:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

CDC: COVID-19 Integrated County View, Hillsborough County FL

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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. Mutations which have resulted in the omicron variant render ineffective almost all the monoclonal antibodies currently in use, including the antibody combination used in Regeneron against the delta variant (imdevimab and casirivimab). In the US, 100% of cases are now due to the omicron strain. Four weeks ago, 98% were omicron:

Florida Covid-19 Response

CDC: Variant Proportions

January 6, 2022 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

There was only one monoclonal antibody produced in the US which can attach to circulating omicron BA.1 particles. Sotrovimab works against the omicron variant at a dosage three times that required to neutralize the delta variant and is given in two injections at the same visit.

With the sudden shift in predominating strains, it is likely to be very difficult even for people at the highest risk to access the limited supply of monoclonal antibody treatment for an omicron infection.

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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

Six weeks ago, 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.

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

Florida Covid-19 Response

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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Currently, there is some controversy over whether Sotrovimab works against the omicron BA.2 subvariant. One study deems it 27 times less effective against BA.2 than for BA.1. However, the manufacturer disagrees.

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

In this map, purple represents the original omicron variant while pink shows the amount of omicron BA.2. In the past week, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 1.1% to 1.9% in Florida:

CDC: Variant Proportions

A clinical trial shows that a different monoclonal antibody called bebtelovimab neutralizes omicron BA.1 and omicron BA.2. Accordingly, on February 10, 2022, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced the purchase of enough to treat 600,000 people.

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

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On December 8, 2021, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization 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.

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

Evusheld appears to remain effective against the omicron BA.2 subvariant.

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

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During the week of February 7th, the federal government sent enough doses for 32,920 outpatient treatments which work against omicron to Florida for the state to distribute. Unfortunately, only 11,900 of those doses are highly effective. While Paxlovid prevents 89% of the expected hospitalizations or deaths, Molnupiravir reduced the risk by only 30%:

During February 14–21, the federal government began shipping bebtelovimab. No oral Covid treatments were shipped that week:

Pharm Tech: Covid-19: Pfizer’s Antiviral Paxlovid Effective Against Severe Disease and Omicron Variant

Nature: Merck’s COVID Pill Loses Its Lustre: What that Means for the Pandemic

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

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Florida Covid Testing:

On January 3, 2022, the Florida Surgeon General decried the “testing psychology” which seeks to identify all Covid cases to slow the rate of community transmission. Amidst the scandal which erupted on January 7th concerning the 1,000,000 expired antigen tests, Florida’s web site shifted its focus to testing. Specifically, that people who are not high-risk should avoid it.

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

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

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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 24, 2021. However, Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Florida reported a record 13,028 hospitalizations for Covid-19 on August 24, 2021, to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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

Since the omicron variant became predominant, hospital officials are seeing more incidental Covid cases among people who are in the hospital. Roughly one-third are admitted for a primary diagnosis of Covid; one-third for a Covid infection making an underlying condition worse; and one-third for reasons unrelated to their viral infection.

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?

Last fall, Florida had the highest adult hospitalization rate in the US. Until nine weeks ago, Florida had remained the second best (ending at 8.9/100,000) for seven weeks. Last week, Florida dropped from 23rd to 24th in rank among states. There was a 28% improvement in adults requiring hospital care (31.2/100,000 to 22.5/100,000):

Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rank dropped from 12th to 18th, with a 35% decline (from 3.48/100,000 to 2.26/100,000):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Currently Hospitalized in Florida

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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For August 1, 2020–February 17, 2022, Florida has had 400,861 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions in the US for 6.6% of the US population:

For February 11–17, 2022, there was an average of 677 admissions per day, a total of 4,740. Overall, there was a decrease of 29% from the previous week (6,717; 960/day) and 74% 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:

During February 11–17, 2022, hospitalizations declined for every age group, ranging from 21% for ages 50–59 to 40% for those ages 30–39. Unlike most weeks, the amount of decrease did not correspond to decreasing age. Only five weeks earlier, hospitalizations had increased for every adult age group, ranging from 4% for ages 18–29 to 60% for people over 70.

Children had experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December. Compared to the delta variant wave we encountered in 2021, omicron admissions have been higher for people younger than 30 and older than 69.

On February 17th, there were 3.19 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 4.48 the week before:

AgeAdmissions% Change
0–171.07-23
18–291.19-29
30–391.31-40
40–491.59-34
50–592.86-21
60–694.39-32
70+9.23-29
all ages3.19-29


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

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

After seven weeks of steady increases, the number of adults in the hospital started to decline four weeks ago. On February 19th, that number had fallen another 23% to 3,929. That is still 306% more than on December 3rd (968).

New adult admissions have dropped by 27% to 601/day. The proportion of adults needing care in the ICU has continued to rise. Nineteen percent of hospitalized adults are in the ICU (a 1% increase in the proportion of ICU patients since February 12th).

Pediatric hospitalizations are 25% lower than last week, with 96 children in Florida hospitals on February 19, 2022. There were 44 pediatric admissions/day, 40% less than a week ago and 120% higher than on December 3rd (20). One in 15 admissions are for children, down from one in 12 on February 12th.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida Hospital Admissions by Age

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

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HHS tracks Hospital Utilization. On the morning of February 18, 2022, 81% of hospital beds in Florida were full, the same as last week. Covid patients accounted for 4,637 of them (8% of utilized beds, down from 11%). A week earlier, there were 6,301 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 26% fewer inpatients:

Twelve percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 741 Covid patients, 25% fewer than the previous week (985). A week earlier, 15% of ICU beds were used by Covid patients. Overall, 80% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, compared to 81% a week earlier:

HHS: Inpatient Bed Utilization by State

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on February 18th:

  • There were 72 Covid-19 admissions, down from 93 a week before
  • Twenty-four Covid patients were in their ICU, down from 25 a week earlier

Tampa General: Hospital Bed Availability for COVID-19 Patients

Feb 10, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?