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

Salemi USF: Covid Deaths by State

To download a pdf of this post, click here.

This week, Florida ranks 3rd worst in US cases, 1st in adult hospital admissions, 2nd in adult ICU Covid patients, and 3rd in pediatric hospital admissions.

The proportion of residents living in communities deemed “high risk” by the CDC has risen to 92%.

Florida children aged 1–4 have a death rate 31% worse than the national average, making the state fifth worst in the US, with 11 deaths. Sixteen permanent Florida residents under 1 year old have died.

On June 17th, there were 87 Florida children hospitalized with Covid.

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 Friday, the FL Dept of Health prevented hospitals and doctors’ offices from ordering the vaccines which the FDA and CDC approved for children at least 6 months old. See the Vaccination section for a more detailed account.

If you were infected with omicron in Florida before the end of March, you are unlikely to have immunity to the variants which now strongly predominate.

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

Salemi USF: Covid Deaths and Hospitalizations in Florida

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

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

April 7, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

CDC: Variant Proportions

Those 50+ and immunocompromised people 12+ are eligible for a second Covid booster shot. The FDA has also approved boosters for children 5–11 years old. On May 24th, the CDC added approval for a fifth shot for people 12+ with moderate to severe immunocompromisation.

With 98% of Florida counties having high transmission, I strongly recommend getting a booster now, if you are eligible for one.

Medicare will cover the cost for those with that insurance. Each household can now order up to three sets of four Covid tests at Covid.gov.

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

CDC: Community Transmission in Florida

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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.

This shows the level of community transmission from two weeks ago, when the Florida Department of Health issued its last report:

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

On June 16th, the CDC deemed much of Florida as either a sustained or newer hotspot:

CDC COVID-19 Community Profile Report

Anecdotally, the omicron BA.2 subvariant appears to be infecting people who were not exposed to the earlier omicron variants.

Evidence from South Africa indicates that people who were previously infected with omicron BA.1 are susceptible to reinfection from the new subvariants omicron 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 variant 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.

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

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:

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

On June 11, 2022, 86% of sequenced samples in the US and 87% in the region which includes Florida were BA.2.12.1, BA.4, or BA.5.

That means that only 13% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is spreading in the state can be prevented by vaccination or prior infection with omicron BA.1:

CDC: Variant Proportions

During March 27–April 2, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 39% to 60% in the region which includes Florida.

If you were infected with omicron before the end of March, you are unlikely to have immunity to the variants which now strongly predominate:

April 7, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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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

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

During the first omicron wave, Florida did not increase the frequency of reporting, leaving many residents unaware of the amount of viral transmission occurring until Christmas Eve.

In the two weeks before December 24th, the number of confirmed Covid cases increased 850%:

Public health experts view a positivity rate of 5% or below sufficient to capture all Covid cases.

During that same period ending on December 23rd, the positivity rate rose from 2.6% to 13.9%. So, the actual number of cases was likely 180% higher than what the state reported:

Jan 6, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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

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 June 9, 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:

  • As of 6-16-22, the state has reported 75,096 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. They are still not reflected in the Cumulative Deaths.
  • On June 4, 2021, the state removed 744 deaths among non-permanent residents and stopped reporting them.
  • There were 244 deaths among permanent residents reported during June 10–16. That is 94% higher than in the previous report (506 for this two-week period; 260 for the prior one).
  • The state is claiming only 9% of them as “New Deaths” (22).
  • During June 2021–May 2022, Florida reported only 7,220 of the 39,216 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (18%).
  • 382 permanent Florida residents died from Covid in May 2022.
  • Miami-Dade and Broward County each reported 26 deaths in the last week (down 31% vs. up 160%). Hillsborough had 13 (down 32%).
  • FL has 9.1% of US deaths when vaccinations were available to all over 15, for 6.6% of the US population.
  • Since July 1, 2021, FL has the third worst death rate in the US.
  • Over half of Florida’s Covid deaths have occurred since everyone over 15 became eligible for vaccination.
  • 82% of deaths in Florida during June 3–16 occurred among senior citizens.
  • Permanent Florida residents aged 80+ rank 9th best among the 50 states and Washington DC, with 25% fewer deaths than the national average for that age group.
  • Florida has the 5th worst death rate in the nation for ages 1–4, with 11 deaths. The state has 31% more deaths in that age group than expected based upon the national average.
  • 16 children under 1 year old have died, some of whom were likely over 6 months old.
  • Children aged 5–14 are in the lowest ranking demographic at 47 of 51. There have been 38% more Covid deaths in that age group than the national average.
  • 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.

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FL Covid Vaccinations:

  • 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 claims the FDA recommends vaccination for those 12+, not 6 months+.
  • 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. How long the delay will last remains uncertain.
  • 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.
  • As of June 2nd, Florida claimed a 74% vaccination rate. This includes anyone with at least one shot, over 600,000 snowbirds, and “vaccine tourists.” It excludes children under 5.
  • 60% of people in Florida had at least completed a vaccine series by June 16th. This is a decline from 61% two weeks ago.
  • Long Covid occurs significantly less often in vaccinated people. Vaccination after infection can also reduce or eliminate Long Covid symptoms.
  • At most, 24% had booster shots by June 16th, an important precaution against illness and transmission of the omicron variants.
  • The state removed 49,000 boosters given compared to the June 2, 2022 report.
  • During April 2022, boosters prevented 65% of omicron hospitalizations among people aged 18–49; 74% for ages 50–64; and 74% for senior citizens.
  • Compared to people with boosters during April 2022, unvaccinated people aged 30–49 were 6 times more likely to die; it was 4 times for ages 50–64; 8 times for ages 65–79 and 4 times for people over 80.
  •  Mixing vaccine types will give you the best protection: they stimulate different parts of your immune system. If you had 2 or 3 Moderna, I recommend getting a Pfizer and vice versa.
  • Medicare will cover 100% of the cost of a second booster shot.
  • The state does not report cases or deaths by vaccination status.
  • On 1-14-22, the governor refused to enforce the federal mandate for healthcare workers upheld by the Supreme Court a day earlier.
  • On 1-19-22, the state put Orange County’s epidemiologist on leave for chiding his employees’ 40% vaccination rate.
  • On 1-15-22 the governor said many nurses avoid vaccination due to “trying to have families.” Numerous studies confirm vaccination does not cause infertility.
  • On 3-7-22, a discussion panel moderated by Governor DeSantis recommended against Covid vaccination for healthy children due to the risk of adolescent males developing myocarditis. Florida is the only state to make such a declaration.
  • 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. 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.
  • During April 2022, unvaccinated children aged 5–11, were 82% more likely to need hospital admission than their vaccinated peers. Unvaccinated teens aged 12–17 were 31% more likely.
  • As of 5-19-22, only 24% of those aged 5–11 had at least one shot; 59% of adolescents did.

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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 74,323 new confirmed cases among permanent Florida residents. This is virtually the same as last week.
  • There have been 6,345,663 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.
  • On 6-15-22, Florida’s state rank for confirmed cases improved to the 3rd worst in the US.
  • The first omicron wave began in Miami-Dade County, with the rest of the state lagging a few weeks behind. There were 17,177 cases there this week, a rise of 9%.
  • The most recent CDC data shows 98% of Florida counties have high transmission rates.
  • Hillsborough County’s cases fell 2% to 4,795.
  • 2,807 children under five tested positive in Florida, an increase of 2% over the previous week and 20% more than in the last report two weeks ago.
  • Among those 5–19, 8,934 tested positive, 31% more than the prior week and 23% more than two weeks ago.
  • During the 2021–2022 school year, the Hillsborough County School District reported 29,000 cases among students and personnel.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • CDC data using information from the state showed the positivity rate ranged from 20.27% to 21.17%, with an average of 20.57% (a 1% decline).
  • That means there were about 306,000 cases in Florida during June 3–9, 2022, a 4% drop.
  • All of Florida’s 67 counties are above the 5% threshold; 2/3 are above 20%.
  • Orange County, where Disney is located, reported that 26.23% of tests were positive.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 6-11-22, the percentage of BA.2 subvariants in the region which includes Florida fell to 79%, with BA.5 climbing to 15%. BA.1 has disappeared.
  • A monoclonal antibody called bebtelovimab is effective against BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4. It began shipping to Florida during February 14–20.
  • We do not yet have information about bebtelovimab’s efficacy against BA.5
  • Here is the most recent weekly federal allocation of 11,457 Covid-specific treatments to Florida: 2,885 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types); 6,460 of the oral Paxlovid; 2,112 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir.
  • In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 9,345 Covid patients being delivered to the state.
  • On 1-8-21, the FDA issued an Evusheld EUA for those with severe immunosuppression.
  • Evusheld is less effective against omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5.
  • On 2-25-22, the dosage doubled due to BA.2. Prior recipients need an additional shot.
  • People with certain cancers or organ transplants receive the highest priority.
  • DeSantis announced it on 12-17-21, when Covid was raging through Miami-Dade County.
  • First shipments only to a small private fee-based clinic in Broward County on 12-24-21.
  • People flew from out of state to receive it at the iCare Clinic.
  • The large transplant hospital in Miami was to receive it four weeks later.
  • During Jan 24–30, 2022 the federal government sent 32,000 outpatient treatments.
  • On 5-31-22, Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,312 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 6-24-21.
  • Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
  • For August 1, 2020–June 16, 2022, Florida has had 432,608 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 9.0% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
  • During June 10–16, 2022, there was an average of 574 admissions per day, a total of 4,015. That was an increase of 10%.
  • On June 16th, there were 2.44 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 2.10 the week before.
  • Hospitalizations for most adult age groups rose. They ranged from -1% (ages 18–29) to 18% (50–59). 
  • Pediatric admissions increased 20% compared to a week earlier.
  • Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
  • On June 17th, Florida was the worst in the nation for adult Covid admissions, 2nd worst for Covid ICU patients, and 3rd worst for adult Covid hospitalizations.
  • On June 17, 2022, 3,125 adult Covid patients were hospitalized, an increase of 13% in one week.
  • There were 564 adult admissions per day, 10% higher. Florida’s rate of adult admissions has been the worst in the US for the third week in a row.
  • The proportion of adults needing ICU care rose to 11%.
  • Pediatric Covid hospitalizations are 40% higher on June 17th than a week earlier, with 87 children in the hospital. Florida ranks 6th worst in that category.
  • There were 39 pediatric admissions on that day, 17% fewer than a week earlier. Yet, Florida’s pediatric admissions rank was 3rd worst in the US.
  • On 5-8-22, Orange County—where Disney is located—had 238 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (24% more). Miami-Dade had 632 (6% rise); Broward had 454 (up 6%); and Hillsborough had 340 (21% more).
  • Largest increases were in Central Florida’s Polk and Hardee Counties, both up 50%.
  • On 6-17-22, 79% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 5.9% used by Covid patients.
  • Covid patients accounted for 3,505 hospital beds, 12% more patients than a week earlier.
  • 5.7% of ICU beds were used by 362 Covid patients, up 35%.
  • Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state.
  • 10% of hospitalized Covid patients were in the ICU.
  • 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.

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Until January 1, 2022, Florida was the only state in the US which was releasing statistics on a weekly basis. Several states switched to that schedule when Florida moved to reporting every two weeks.

Information available in Florida’s reports is far more limited than what the state provided before June 2021.

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:

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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This data from June 10–16, 2022, is the only Covid report available from the Florida Department of Health (DoH).

Whenever the state adds a new report, it removes the previous one:

  • New cases = 74,323; Cumulative cases = 6,345,663
  • Positivity rate = 17.2%
  • New deaths = 22; Cumulative deaths = 75,096
  • Vaccination rate = 74%
  • Vaccination rate ages 5–11 = 24%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,005,006
  • Total booster doses: 5,219,043

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

This data from June 2–9, 2022, is from my previous report. You cannot find it anywhere on the Florida DoH website:

  • New cases = 76,510; Cumulative cases = 6,273,415
  • Positivity rate = 20.82%
  • New deaths = 30; Cumulative deaths = 74,852
  • Vaccination rate = 67.5%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots: unavailable
  • Total booster doses: unavailable

June 9, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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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 June 16, 2022. Forty-four counties—representing 92% of the population—are at the highest level and 14 are at the medium level.

One week earlier, 31 counties were at the highest level and 23 at the medium level. Only 9 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 safer areas do not apply to severely immunocompromised people.

CDC: COVID-19 Community Levels

Tampa Bay Times: 9 in 10 Floridians at “High” Risk of COVID as Hospitalizations Rise

June 9, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

In contrast, here is the map for the same date based upon the level of Community Transmission:

CDC: Community Transmission in US

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 as young as 6 months old to what Florida says it is on June 20th:

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

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

The FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorization to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on June 17th.  This also expands eligibility for the Moderna vaccine to children aged 5–17 years old.

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

Since the clinical trials 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

Your Local Epidemiologist: FDA Meeting for <5 Covid Vaccine Q&A

Currently, Florida has the 5th worst death rate in the nation for among ages 1–4 (11 deaths). The state has 31% more deaths in that age group than expected based upon the national average.

Sixteen Floridians under 1 year old have died, some of whom may have fallen within the new eligibility criteria. By the end of May 2022, 442 American children under the age of 5 had died due to Covid:

Salemi USF: Covid Deaths by State

NBC: Florida Doctors Can Now Order Covid Vaccines for Kids Under 5

During August 1, 2020–June 18, 2022, there have been 13,448 pediatric hospital admissions with confirmed Covid in Florida:

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

On June 17, 2022, Florida was the 3rd worst in the US for pediatric admissions:

Salemi USF: Covid Hospitalizations

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. 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.

How long the delay in getting doses into the state will last remains unknown.

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

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

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On March 25, 2022, USA Today reported that over 600,000 snowbirds have been included in Florida’s official vaccination tally.

That happened in over 100 zip codes. Many “vaccine tourists” were in Miami-Dade County.

For cases and deaths in the state, Florida counts only permanent residents.

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

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% completed at least a vaccination series, down from 61% two weeks ago.

People who receive a booster shot are removed from the Series Completed Category and added to the Additional or Booster Dose Category.

At most, 24% of permanent Florida residents and snowbirds have received a booster shot.

According to the June 2, 2022, report, 5,268,033 booster doses had been given in the state. Perhaps 49,000 of those were additional boosters and the state removed them:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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

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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

Receiving a booster shot was considered extremely important for providing protection against the original omicron variant and for decreasing viral transmission.

Since I created this chart, researchers have discovered that booster efficacy begins to wane at ten weeks:

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

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

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.

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

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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

For all adults in the US, the CDC has removed people who received only a primary series, backdated to December 2021.

Among those 18–49 years old during April 2022, unvaccinated people were hospitalized at a rate of 17.37/100,000.

At least one booster prevented 65% of hospitalizations (6.11/100,000):

Unvaccinated people aged 50–64 were hospitalized at a rate of 39.09/100,000.

At least one booster dose prevented 74% of hospitalizations (10.18/100,000). This is a significant decline from January, when a booster prevented 92% of hospitalizations in that demographic group:

Results for April for senior citizens showed that unvaccinated individuals required hospital care at a rate of 171.17/100,000.

Boosters prevented 74% of hospitalizations which would have occurred without vaccination (44.32/100,000). In January, boosters prevented 94%:

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 week of April 24–30, 2022, is as follows:

Relative Risk of Death by Vaccination Status
AgePrimary SeriesUnvaccinated
18–2911
30–4916x
50–6414x
65–7918x
80+14x

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

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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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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

Since the pandemic began, 13,000 Florida minors had required hospitalization for Covid in Florida alone as of March 17, 2022.

Forty-two had died, and many of the survivors have subsequently developed serious health conditions, like diabetes.

While children are at lower risk than adults, throughout the US, Covid is one of the top ten causes of death in those aged 5–11:

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

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

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

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

At the height of the first omicron wave, unvaccinated children aged 5–11 in the US were hospitalized at three times the rate of their vaccinated peers.

During April, Covid hospitalizations occurred for unvaccinated children 82% more often than for their vaccinated peers (1.73/100,000 vs. 0.95/100,000):

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

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

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

The most recent CDC data has removed data for adolescents who received only a primary series of vaccinations.

During April 2022, unvaccinated teens were 31% more likely to need hospitalization than boosted peers (2.25/100,000 vs 1.55/100,000):

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

As of June 16, 2022, 24% of Florida residents under 11 had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine; 56% of adolescents had.

I have no idea why the state claimed 2% fewer teens were vaccinated this week compared to two weeks ago:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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

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Covid Deaths in Florida:

During June 2021–May 2022, Florida reported only 7,220 of the 39,216 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (18%).

During May 2022, cumulative data indicated there were 382 Covid deaths among permanent Florida residents. Only 37 were counted as “New Deaths” (10%):

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

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 19th report.

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

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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

Using the June 16th cumulative data from the state and the CDC data from June 9th, which showed 75,096 and 74,852 Florida deaths, I determined there were 244 Covid deaths reported in Florida during June 10–16, 2022.

Only 22 of them were counted as new deaths (9%). This is a decline of 7% compared to the previous week (262):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

June 9, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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

During June 10–16, Miami-Dade County and Broward County each reported 26 deaths. Hillsborough had 13:

CDC: Florida Reported Deaths by County

Compared to the previous week, Miami-Dade’s deaths fell by 31%; Brevard rose by 160%; and Hillsborough declined by 32%.

Most of the states with large increases had relatively few deaths:

CDC: Percent Change in Florida Deaths from Previous 7 Days

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According to CDC data, there had been 75,089 Covid deaths in Florida by June 16, 2022.

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

SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 40,903 permanent residents of the state since that date. Over half the Covid deaths in Florida have occurred since April 1, 2021.

Despite having only 6.6% of the US population, this represents 9.1% of all American Covid-19 deaths since everyone at least 16 years old qualified for vaccination:

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

Florida’s Covid death rate ranks third in the US since the delta wave began on July 1, 2021, with 153 deaths/100,000.

You can click on the web site map to see the information for each state:

Datawrapper: Covid Death Rates Since Vaccines

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Nationwide, 7.2% of senior citizens who have tested positive have died.

Since the pandemic began, 1.2% of all permanent Florida residents at least 65 years old have died due to Covid-19 (1,236/100,000). That is 6.6% of people in that age group who tested positive:

Here are the cumulative deaths from the June 16, 2022, Florida DoH report:

And from the June 2, 2022, Florida Report:

By comparing the last two reports taken over three weeks, we can see the number and percentage of deaths in each demographic group which occurred during May 27–June 16, 2022.:

  • Under 16 = 1               (0.2%)
  •      16–29 = 4               (0.8%)
  •      30–39 = 8               (1.6%)
  •      40–49 = 10             (2.0%)
  •      50–59 = 33             (6.5%)
  •      60–64 = 33             (6.5%)
  •          65+ = 417           (82.4%)

        506           100%

There were 94% more deaths in this two-week period than in the previous one (260).

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

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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

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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 25% fewer deaths than the national average for that age group.

Children aged 5–14 have the worst ranking within the state at 4th worst. There have been 38% more Covid deaths among permanent Florida residents in that age group than the national average.

The state is the 5th worst in the nation for deaths among ages 1–4:

Salemi USF: Covid Deaths by State

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.

It accounts for the higher than typical age of Florida’s population. You can click on each bar on their site to see the data for that week. It takes up to eight weeks for complete reporting:

Here is another way to visualize that chart. You can see all states by clicking Percent Excess Deaths on the CDC’s site:

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:

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 June 17th update that only 22 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 244 when comparing the state’s cumulative deaths for June 9, 2022, with June 16, 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 (230); TX (299); FL (349); NY (254); PA (356); IL (302):

CDC: United States COVID-19 Cases, Deaths, and Laboratory Testing by State and 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 June 16, 2022, Florida reported 74,329 confirmed Covid cases.

Adding those to the state’s previous cumulative count gave us a total of 6,345,663 cumulative Covid cases among permanent residents.

Since the last official report from the Florida Department of Health on June 2nd, there have been 148,758 new reported cases.

That gives us a 7% increase for the last two-week period, but virtually the same number as last week:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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

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 begun publishing state rankings of confirmed cases, with the addition of Washington DC and New York City.

On June 15, 2022, Florida’s ranking improved to 3rd  worst, behind only Hawaii and Wyoming:

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 June 10–16, Miami-Dade rose to 17,177. Hillsborough declined to 4,792.

Orange County—where Disney is located—had 4,691:

CDC: Florida Reported Cases by County

The greatest increases in cases are concentrated in the central and northern parts of the state. Miami-Dade had a 9% increase; Hillsborough reported a 2% decrease:

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 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 tells us nothing about the amount of change:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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To evaluate the trend in Covid infections among children during the week of June 10–16, 2022, we can use the data from two weeks earlier.

During this week, 2,807 children under five tested positive in Florida, an increase of 2% over the previous week (2,761) and 20% more than in the last report two weeks ago (2,333).

Among those 5–19, 8,934 tested positive, 31% more than the prior week (6,810) and 23% more than two weeks ago (7,267).

In total, 11,741 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive last week, an increase of 23%% from a week before (9,571) and 17% more than in the previous report (10,025).

Note that most Florida schools closed around May 28th:

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

Booster shots are approved for anyone at least 5 years old who had a second shot of an mRNA vaccine over five months ago or got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago.

On May 15, 2022, the CDC recommended a second booster for all immunocompromised people at least 12 years old. Those aged 5–17 are limited to the Pfizer vaccine as a booster.

A decision to include Moderna as an option for that age group will be discussed on June 23rd.

The CDC approved the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children aged 6 months–4 years old on June 18, 2022.

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

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

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

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 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 this school year in the Hillsborough County School District:

Hillsborough County Public Schools Covid Dashboard

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Florida Covid Testing:

The shift to home-based testing with the first omicron wave is highly likely to result in an under-reporting of Covid cases. The CDC advises those with a positive at-home test to report the results to their doctor.

CDC: Self Testing at Home or Anywhere

A scandal erupted on December 30th concerning 1,000,000 expired antigen tests sitting in a warehouse.

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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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?

According to data which the state reported to the CDC, seven-day positivity rate averages during June 10–16 ranged from 20.27% to 21.17%, with an average of 20.57% (a 1% decline).

That means there were about 306,000 cases in Florida during June 3–9, 2022, a 4% decrease:

CDC: Florida Daily Covid Testing

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Dr. Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist from the University of South Florida, 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 June 18, 2022, every Florida county exceeded the 5% threshold. Disney’s location (Orange County) had a 26.23% positivity rate:

CDC: Florida Positivity Percentages by County

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

Forty-nine counties experienced an increase in their positivity rates compared to a week earlier. Twenty-nine reported increases of at least two full percentage 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

CDC: Variant Proportions

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 continues to emphasize this is mystifying:

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 subvariant called BA.2 was first detected in the US on January 15th.

With the rise in the even more transmissible BA.2.12.1—which evolved from BA.2—the CDC separated that newer strain from the subvariant into a new category. It accounts for 64% of sequenced samples, vs. 14% for BA.2.

In late May 2022, the CDC began calculating the percentages of BA.4 (8%) and BA.5 (13%).

BA.1 has been completely replaced:

In this map, pink shows the amount of omicron BA.2 and red represents BA.2.12.1. Light green designates BA.4 and dark green depicts BA.5.

In the region which includes Florida during June 5–11, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 fell to 13%; BA.2.12.1 declined slightly to 66%; BA.4 rose to 6%; and BA.5 increased significantly to 13%:

Sotrovimab is 27 times less effective against BA.2 than for BA.1. Therefore, on April 5, 2022, the FDA amended the Emergency Use Authorization to revoke the use of Sotrovimab nationwide.

CDC: Variant Proportions

April 14, 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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A different monoclonal antibody called Bebtelovimab neutralizes omicron BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4.

In this chart, not being highlighted means an antibody works well. The June 15, 2022, update indicates we still have no information about its efficacy against BA.5, which now accounts for 13% of cases in the region which includes Florida:

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

Stanford Univ: Coronavirus Antiviral and Resistance Database

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 11,457 Covid-specific treatments to Florida:

  • 2,885 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types)
  • 6,460 of the oral Paxlovid
  • 2,112 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir (Lagevrio)
  • None of the Covid pre-exposure Evusheld is being delivered nationwide     

In total, there were enough highly effective treatments for 9,345 Covid patients delivered to the state during the week of June 13th:

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

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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 the omicron BA.2 subvariant.

However, due to that subvariant, the FDA amended the EUA on February 24, 2022, to double the dosage of each component of Evusheld. People who had already received it should contact their physicians about an additional shot.

The FDA is now uncertain how long the immunity conferred by Evusheld will last.

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

FDA: FDA Authorizes Revisions to Evusheld Dosing

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

ISDA: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies

Evusheld (CIL/TIX in the chart below) has significantly lower efficacy against omicron BA.2.12.1.

Cilgavimab, one of its two components, neutralizes BA.4 and BA.5 at the same doubled dosage as for BA.2. However, the tixagevimab component is ineffective:

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

Stanford Univ: Coronavirus Antiviral and Resistance Database

Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,312 doses of Evusheld on May 31st:

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 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 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–June 16, 2022, Florida has had 432,608 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 9.0% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.

During June 10–16, 2022, there was an average of 574 admissions per day, a total of 4,015. That was an increase of 10% from the previous week (3,691; 524/day).

Nevertheless, that was 76% 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 June 16, 2022, hospitalizations for most adult age groups rose. The amount of change ranged from -1% (ages 18–29) to 18% (50–59). Pediatric admissions increased 20% from a week earlier.

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 June 9th, there were 2.66 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 2.44 the week before:

AGEADMISSIONS% CHANGE
0–170.7220
18–290.87 -1
30–391.4511
40–491.358
50–592.2118
60–693.3810
70+8.589
all2.6610

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

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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 June 17th, Florida was the worst in the nation for adult Covid admissions, 2nd worst for Covid ICU patients, and 3rd worst for Covid pediatric admissions and adult hospitalizations:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Florida

Adult and pediatric hospitalizations and admissions in Florida have risen steadily over the last eight weeks.

On June 17, 2022, 3,125 adult Covid patients were hospitalized, an increase of 13% in one week. The state ranking worsened from 5th to 3rd.

There were 564 adult admissions per day, 10% higher. Florida’s rate of adult admissions has been the worst in the US for the third week in a row.

The proportion of adults needing ICU care rose to 11. They increased by 16% to 358, 2nd worst in the nation. 

Pediatric Covid hospitalizations are 40% higher on June 17th than a week earlier, with 87 children in the hospital. Florida ranks 6th worst in that category.

There were 39 pediatric admissions on that day, 17% fewer than a week earlier. Yet, Florida’s pediatric admissions rank was 3rd worst in the US.

One in 15 admissions are for children, down from 1 in 4 on April 15th:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Florida

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 June 15th, Orange County—where Disney is located—had 238 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (24% more). Miami-Dade had 632 (6% rise); (Broward had 454 (up 6%); and Hillsborough had 340 (21% more):

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

This is the percentage of change in hospital admissions by county as of June 15th.

The locations with the largest increases are in the Central Florida. Polk and Hardee Counties both rose by 50%:

CDC: Percent Change in Hospital Admissions by County

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HHS tracks Hospital Utilization. On the morning of June 17, 2022, 79% of hospital beds in Florida were full, up from 78% last week.

Covid patients accounted for 3,505 of them (5.9% of utilized beds, up from 5.4%). A week earlier, there were 3,129 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 12% more inpatients with Covid:

5.7% percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 362 Covid patients, 36% more than a week earlier (267; 4.5%).

This represents 10% of hospitalized Covid patients. Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, the same as a week ago:

HHS: Inpatient Bed Utilization by State

June 9, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on June 17th:

  • There were 43 Covid-19 admissions, down from 60 a week before
  • Nine Covid patients were in their ICU, the same as one week earlier

Tampa General: Hospital Bed Availability for COVID-19 Patients

June 9, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?