The BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants together now constitute 13% of samples in the US and in Florida.
People who had breakthrough infections due to the omicron BA.1 variant last winter and those with three doses of the AstraZeneca (A) or Pfizer (B) vaccines without a prior Covid infection have significantly less protection against BA.4 and BA.5 compared to earlier omicron subvariants.
The efficacy of Moderna and of prior infection with BA.2 were not studied.
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.
With 94% of Florida counties with high transmission, I strongly recommend getting one now. 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.
Due to time spent with my family last week, I did not publish a report for May 26, 2022. Where it seems helpful, I will discuss those statistics here.
This shows the level of community transmission from two weeks ago, when the Florida Department of Health issued its last report:
On June 2nd, the CDC deemed much of Florida as either a sustained or newer hotspot:
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. How often they trigger long-Covid remains unknown.
Serious cases are rare but do occur, especially in unvaccinated individuals.
Laboratory evidence on serum samples corroborates the South African evidence of increased susceptibility to reinfection with 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:
On June 4, 2022, 13% of sequenced samples in the US and in the region which includes Florida were BA.4 or BA.5:
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.
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:
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:
During the omicron wave, Florida did not increase the frequency of reporting, leaving many residents unaware of the amount of viral transmission occurring until Christmas Eve.
In the two weeks before December 24th, the number of confirmed Covid cases increased 850%:
Public health experts view a positivity rate of 5% or below sufficient to capture all Covid cases. During that same period ending on December 23rd, the positivity rate rose from 2.6% to 13.9%. So, the actual number of cases was likely 180% higher than what the state reported:
Beginning in June 2021, Florida removed all archived Covid data from their web site.
Until March 17th, they replaced the statistics from the previous week with a new report. Now that occurs every two weeks.
That makes it much more difficult—even for those who have saved the old data—to see the actual numbers of cases and deaths. No hospitalization information is included.
On the Florida Department of Health web site, you can locate influenza records from 2001 but not Covid data from earlier than May 19, 2022.
These bullet points are a summary of the data in the rest of this post:
Florida Covid Deaths:
- As of 6-2-22, FL has reported 74,590 Covid deaths among permanent residents.
- On June 4, 2021, the state removed 744 deaths among non-permanent residents and stopped reporting them.
- Deaths among permanent residents during this two-week reporting period decreased by 4% to 260.
- The state is claiming only 3% of them as “New Deaths” (8).
- During June 2021–May 2022, Florida has 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.
- Duval County reported 10 deaths in the last week. Miami-Dade had 17.
- 80% of deaths in Florida occurred among senior citizens during May 20–June 2, 2022.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 61% of people in Florida had at least completed a vaccine series by June 2nd.
- 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 2nd, an important precaution against illness and transmission of the omicron variants.
- During March 12–19, 2022, boosters prevented 55% of omicron hospitalizations among people aged 18–49; 72% for ages 50–64; and 87% for senior citizens.
- Compared to people with boosters during February 19–26, 2022, unvaccinated people aged 18–49 were five times more likely to die; it was 26 times for ages 50–64; and 12 times for senior citizens.
- Mixing vaccine types will give you the best protection: they stimulate different parts of your immune system. If you had 2 or 3 Moderna, I recommend getting a Pfizer and vice versa.
- 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 March 12–19, 2022, unvaccinated children aged 5–11, were 133% more likely to need hospital admission than their vaccinated peers. Those aged 12–17, were 20% less likely.
- The FL Dept of Heath website claims the FDA recommends vaccination for those 12+, not 5+.
- As of 5-19-22, only 24% of those aged 5–11 had at least one shot; 59% of adolescents did.
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 71,797 new confirmed cases among permanent Florida residents. This is a 7% increase since last week.
- Since the previous state report two weeks ago, 138,622 positive tests were reported.
- There have been 6,196,905 confirmed Covid cases in Florida among permanent residents.
- On 6-1-22, Florida’s state rank for confirmed cases was the third worst in the US.
- On June 4, 2021, the state removed all data from anyone who is not a permanent resident and stopped reporting it. This deleted 43,535 cases.
- The first omicron wave began in Miami-Dade County, with the rest of the state lagging a few weeks behind. There were 17,242 cases there this week, a drop of 5%.
- The most recent CDC data shows 94% of Florida counties have high transmission.
- Hillsborough County remains a Hotspot.
- 2,333 children under five tested positive in Florida, an increase of 14% over the previous week (2,037) and 17% more than in the last report two weeks ago.
- Among those 5–19, 7,692 tested positive, 4% fewer than the prior week and 6% more than two weeks ago. In total, 10,025 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive last week, an increase of 0.3% from a week before and 8% more than in the previous report. Most Florida schools closed around May 28th.
- 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.
Florida Covid Testing and Prevention:
- Due to at-home testing, the number of cases is likely to be under-reported.
- On 4-9-22, Florida reported the fewest tests since June 2020. Testing remains low.
- 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’s report shows a 16.2% positivity rate.
- CDC data using information from the state showed the positivity rate climbed from 18.89% on May 27th to 20.70% on June 2nd, with an average of 19.54%.
- That means there were about 281,000 cases, a 16% rise from the previous week.
- All of Florida’s 67 counties are above the 5% threshold; 59 are above 10%.
- Orange County, where Disney is located, reported that 25.89% 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.
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 4-30-22, the percentage of BA.2 subvariants in the region which includes Florida rose to 98%, with BA.2.12.1 climbing rapidly to 36%.
- A monoclonal antibody called bebtelovimab is effective against omicron BA.1, 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 11,312 Covid-specific treatments to Florida: 2,730 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 9,190 Covid patients being delivered to the state.
- On 1-8-21, the FDA issued an Evusheld EUA for those with severe immunosuppression.
- On 2-25-22, the dosage doubled due to BA.2. Prior recipients need an additional shot.
- Evusheld is less effective against omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5.
- 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.
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 2, 2022, Florida has had 424,902 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
- During May 27–June 2, 2022, there was an average of 460 admissions per day, a total of 3,218. That was an increase of 22%.
- Miami-Dade has had 513 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (5% drop), Broward has had 369 (5% decrease), Palm Beach had 302 (30% rise), and Hillsborough has had 275 (17% more):
- Largest increases were in the Panhandle, ranging from 85–100%.
- On June 2nd, there were 2.10 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 1.75 the week before.
- Hospitalizations for all adult age groups rose. They ranged from 20% (ages 70+) to 46% (40–49).
- Pediatric admissions increased 19% compared to a week earlier.
- Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
- On June 1, 2022, 2,421 adult Covid patients were hospitalized, an increase of 24% in one week. The state ranking worsened from 10th to 6th.
- There were 430 adult admissions per day, 25% higher. Only two states experienced a higher rate of adult admissions.
- The proportion of adults needing ICU care was 9%. Their numbers rose 6% to 229, the 9th worst in the US.
- Pediatric Covid hospitalizations are 4% higher on June 1st than a week earlier, with 58 children in the hospital. Florida ranks 39th in that category.
- There were 46 pediatric admissions/day, 10% more than a week earlier. Florida’s pediatric admissions rank was third worst in the US and Washington DC.
- On 6-4-22, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 4.8% used by Covid patients.
- Covid patients accounted for 2,867 of them, 47% more patients than two weeks earlier.
- 4.1% of ICU beds were used by 243 Covid patients, 45% more than two weeks ago.
- Overall, 73% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, the same as two weeks earlier.
- 8% 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.
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.
Unfortunately, I can no longer access it through Dr. Salemi’s web site. I am now relying on screenshots from my phone:
Faculty at the University of Florida charge that they have felt external pressure from the highest levels of state government to delete data related to their Covid research.
They also encountered “barriers to accessing and analyzing” data and “barriers to publication of scientific research which inhibited the ability of faculty to contribute scientific findings during a world-wide pandemic.”
On January 21, 2022, a federal judge sided with the plaintiffs in a 74-page ruling. He asserted the University of Florida was “willing to suffer threats to its accreditation, congressional inquiries, unrelenting bad press, an all-but-certain hit to its rankings, and the substantial monetary cost of hiring an experienced D.C. firm to defend its policy. The only thing UF will not do, it seems, is amend its policy to make clear that it will never consider viewpoint in denying a request to testify.” As in The Emperor’s New Clothes, the emperor’s lords, “fearing the loss of their jobs and the Emperor’s good grace, enabled the charade by praising the Emperor’s fine suit.”
On March 31, 2022, a University of Florida faculty committee released a report charging that the university violated its own practices when hiring Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general to a tenured position.
Required faculty input regarding his application was due on September 17, 2021. However, Dr. Ladapo was informed he had the appointment on September 16th.
After receiving the letter with an October 1,2021 start date, Dr. Ladapo changed it to September 20th, just prior to the news conference where the governor announced him as our new surgeon general:
In response to a reporter’s questions, Jeremy Redfern, the Florida Department of Health spokesman, sent an email stating, “The time of those at the University of Florida writing 100-page reports regarding hiring practices would be better spent working on important issues like research and curing cancer.”
Tampa Bay Times: Joseph Ladapo Hiring Violated UF Procedures, Faculty Report Says: Some Faculty Felt Ladapo, Florida’s Surgeon General, Was the Subject of “Preferential Treatment on the Basis of His Political Opinions”
This data from May 27–June 2, 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 = 71,797; Cases in previous week = 66,825; Cumulative cases = 6,196,905
- Positivity rate = 16.2%
- New deaths = 8; Cumulative deaths = 74,590
- Vaccination rate = 74%
- Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,068,369
- Total booster doses: 5,268,033
This data from May 13–19, 2022, is from my previous report. You cannot find it anywhere on the Florida DoH website:
- New cases = 60,204; Cumulative cases = 6,058,248
- Positivity rate = 13.4%
- New deaths = 24; Cumulative deaths = 74,330
- Vaccination rate = 74%
- Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,095,670
- Total booster doses: 5,242,432
On February 25, 2022, the CDC updated their masking guidelines based heavily upon Covid hospital admissions and utilization and, to a lesser extent, upon the number of new cases in a county. It does not reflect the level of transmission.
They range from low (green) through medium (yellow) to high risk (orange). Rural areas without hospital services may look better than they are.
You can click on the hyperlink below this for more specific information and the interactive map.
This is the situation as of June 2, 2022. Twenty-three counties are at the highest level and 20 are at the medium level. In contrast, 13 counties were at the medium level two weeks earlier:
In areas of high alert, the CDC advises everyone to wear a high-quality tight-fitting mask indoors.
Please note that this masking guideline does not apply to severely immunocompromised people who do not develop immunity from vaccination.
One researcher has created a helpful calculator for those in that category. It assumes that everyone eligible receives the pre-exposure treatment called Evusheld. He also concluded the CDC’s map is accurate for those with healthy immune systems.
In contrast, here is the map for the same date based upon the level of Community Transmission:
On March 2, 2022, Governor DeSantis visited Hillsborough County.
As he approached a group of masked high school students, he said, “You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”
He then used that outburst to raise campaign funds.
Hillsborough County had a high alert level for Covid before and after that date. It corresponds to the CDC map above which currently shows almost the entire state at a low level of risk for overwhelming the healthcare system:
Florida Covid Vaccinations:
On March 25, 2022, USA Today reported that over 600,000 snowbirds have been included in Florida’s official vaccination tally.
That happened in over 100 zip codes. Many “vaccine tourists” were in Miami-Dade County.
For cases and deaths in the state, Florida counts only permanent residents.
The vaccination rate reported by the state remained at 74%. This figure represents only those eligible for vaccination and includes partially vaccinated people. Florida’s population is currently 21,975,117, so 61% have at least completed a vaccination series.
People who receive a booster shot are removed from the Series Completed Category and added to the Additional or Booster Dose Category.
At most, 24% of permanent Florida residents and snowbirds have received a booster shot. We cannot tell how many of the additional doses went to people like me who had already been boosted:
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 with vaccination.
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
Mixing vaccine types 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.
On May 17th, the CDC added approval for a second booster for anyone 12+ with immunocompromisation. The agency previously approved a second booster shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for all adults aged 50+. There are no safety issues associated with the additional shot.
People on Medicare can receive a second booster shot at no cost.
Research involving breakthrough omicron infections indicates the number of viral particles is significantly lower in people who have had booster shots. People with two doses carried the same amount of virus as unvaccinated people.
For all adults in the US, the CDC has added people who received booster shots as a separate category.
Among those 18–49 years old during March 13–19, 2022, unvaccinated people were hospitalized at a rate of 3.1/100,000.
A primary vaccine course prevented 53% of expected hospitalizations (0.9/100,000).
Adults under the age of 50 with at least moderate immunocompromisation are eligible for a second booster shot. That may be why boosted individuals were hospitalized 55% more often than those with only a primary series (1.4/100,000).
Compared to unvaccinated people, those with at least one booster were 55% less likely to require hospital care:
Unvaccinated people aged 50–64 were hospitalized at a rate of 7.5/100,000.
Those who finished a vaccine series had 64% fewer hospitalizations than expected (2.7/100,000).
A booster dose prevented 72% of hospitalizations (2.1/100,000). This is a significant drop in efficacy from January, when a booster prevented 92% of hospitalizations in that demographic group:
Results for that same week for senior citizens showed that unvaccinated individuals required hospital care at a rate of 37.5/100,000.
Completing a vaccine series reduced the likelihood of needing hospitalization by 71% (10.7/100,000).
Boosters prevented 87% of hospitalizations which would have occurred without vaccination (4.6/100,000). In January, boosters prevented 94%:
The risk of death among unvaccinated people and those with a primary series compared to boosted individuals during the week of April 2, 2022, is as follows:
|Relative Risk of Death by Vaccination Status|
On January 14, 2022, Governor DeSantis’s office announced it would not enforce the federal government’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
The US Supreme Court upheld the requirement for all healthcare facilities which receive federal funds on the 13th.
On January 19th, the Florida Department of Health placed the epidemiologist who led Orange County’s pandemic response on administrative leave.
The state considered charging him with a criminal offense for sending an email chiding the county’s public health employees for their 40% vaccination rate. That suspension ended on March 22, 2022.
A day later, Governor DeSantis promoted a conspiracy theory by asserting that many nurses are avoiding vaccination because “they’re trying to have families.”
Numerous studies confirm that vaccination does not cause infertility; in fact, getting Covid can reduce male fertility.
On March 7, 2022, a discussion panel moderated by Governor DeSantis recommended against Covid vaccination for healthy children due to the risk of adolescent males developing myocarditis.
The state surgeon general noted that Florida is the only state to make such a declaration.
At least four researchers cited by the state disagreed with how Florida officials used their work.
A pediatrics professor from Vanderbilt University Medical Center who co-authored one of the papers said, “I think there is cherry-picking of sentences to support what (the state) wanted. You don’t just pick one sentence from one paper that agrees with what you think you want to say. That’s not what a health department is supposed to do.”
Each of the studies Florida officials cited recommended Covid vaccination for children as safe and effective. Florida health officials omitted that information in their updated guidelines. The researchers asserted that vaccination remains the best way to protect children from severe Covid.
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.”
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:
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:
Throughout the US, children are three times as likely to have had severe disease from omicron than from previous variants.
At the height of the first omicron wave, unvaccinated children aged 5–11 in the US were hospitalized at three times the rate of their vaccinated peers.
After narrowing in early February, during March 12–19, Covid hospitalizations occurred in unvaccinated children 133% more often than for their vaccinated peers (0.7/100,000 vs. 0.3/100,000):
The data for adolescents reveals why booster doses are recommended for that age group.
On January first, unvaccinated teens aged 12–17 were four times as likely to need hospital care than those who had been vaccinated.
During March 12–19, 2022, vaccinated teens were 20% more likely to need hospitalization than unvaccinated peers (0.5/100,000 vs 0,4/100,000). However, the overall trend favors vaccination:
Compare the FDA’s announcement for eligibility in children to what Florida says it is:
As of June 2, 2022, 24% of Florida residents under 11 had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine; 58% of adolescents had:
Covid Deaths in Florida:
During June 2021–May 2022, Florida has 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%):
Despite making national news for the state government’s attempt to cover up the number of deaths, nothing has changed in the Florida Department of Health’s methodology.
On June 4th, the state removed all data from anyone who has not established permanent residency and stopped reporting information from visitors, seasonal residents, and migrant workers. This deleted 744 deaths.
I can no longer access this file, as my browser deems it a security risk:
When the state receives a report of a death from an earlier week, that information is added to “Cumulative Deaths” without being noted in “Previous Week Deaths.”
It usually takes more than one week for death reports to get sent to the state.
Using the June 2nd and May 19th cumulative data from the state, which showed 74,590 and 74,330 Florida deaths, I determined there were 260 Covid deaths reported in Florida during May 20–June 2, 2022.
Only 8 of them were counted as new deaths in the state’s report (3%):
Since I did not complete a report last week, we can compare the number of deaths during the most recent reporting period to the previous report issued on May 5, 2022.
During April 29–May 5, 2022, Florida reported a difference in cumulative deaths of 270, 4% more than for May 27–June 2, 2022:
Clicking on individual counties reveals a higher number than the state total.
During May 27–June 2, Miami-Dade County reported 17 deaths. Duval had 10. Those counties alone reported more than 8 deaths each.
Others all had fewer than 10, which is why their death data was suppressed:
For counties with at least ten deaths, we can use the percentage of change to determine how many were reported a week ago, when Florida withheld county-specific death data.
A 21% increase in Miami-Dade indicates the county reported 13 deaths to the state during May 20–27.
Duval’s increase of 400% tells us there were two deaths reported there a week earlier:
According to CDC data, there had been 74,715 Covid deaths in Florida by June 2, 2022.
Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021.
SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 40,530 permanent residents of the state since that date. Over half the Covid deaths in Florida have occurred since April 1, 2021.
Despite having only 6.6% of the US population, this represents 9.1% of all American Covid-19 deaths since everyone at least 16 years old qualified for vaccination:
Florida’s Covid death rate ranks third in the US since the delta wave began on July 1, 2021. You can click on the web site map to see the information for each state:
Nationwide, 7.3% 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 (1,227/100,000).
That is 6.7% of people in that age group who tested positive:
Here are the cumulative deaths from the June 2, 2022, Florida DoH report:
And from the May 19, 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 20–June 2, 2022:
- Under 16 = 1 (0.4%)
- 16–29 = 1 (0.4%)
- 30–39 = 5 (1.9%)
- 40–49 = 8 (3.1%)
- 50–59 = 20 (7.7%)
- 60–64 = 17 (6.5%)
- 65+ = 208 (80.0%)
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 80+ 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 are in the lowest ranking demographic at 47 of 51. There have been 38% more Covid deaths among permanent Florida residents in that age group than the national average:
Florida does not report deaths by vaccination status, so I cannot determine the percentage of deaths occurring in unvaccinated people, those who received a full series, or boosted individuals.
The CDC recently updated their algorithm for calculating excess deaths in the US to include six years of data, rather than four, due to the pandemic skewing the expected numbers.
It accounts for the higher than typical age of Florida’s population.
You can click on each bar on their site to see the data for that week. It takes up to eight weeks for complete reporting:
Here is another way to visualize that chart. You can see all states by clicking Percent Excess Deaths on the CDC’s site:
Florida has a higher than expected proportion of excess deaths compared to other states.
This is the total number of excess deaths throughout the pandemic, not the number per 100,000 people.
California has 70% more people than Florida yet the number of excess deaths is nearly the same:
On December 23, 2021, Florida improved from the deepest shade of blue for the first time since I began downloading this graphic.
If you go to the CDC’s site and click on Florida, you will see on the June 6th update that only 32 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 260 when comparing the state’s cumulative deaths for May 19, 2022, with June 2, 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 (229); TX (299); FL (347); NY (253); PA (353); IL (301):
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 2, 2022, Florida reported 71,797 confirmed Covid cases.
Adding those to the state’s previous cumulative count gave us a total of 6,196,905 cumulative Covid cases among permanent residents.
Florida reported 66,825 new cases for the week ending on May 26th. That gives us a 7% increase.
Since the last official report from the Florida Department of Health on May 19th, there have been 138,662 new reported cases:
The CDC’s information which Florida provided on June 2nd shows a slight discrepancy of 135 cases (0.2%):
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:
Dr. Salemi has begun publishing state rankings of confirmed cases, with the addition of Washington DC and New York City.
On June 1, 2022, Florida ranked third worst, behind only Hawaii and Rhode Island:
Clicking on this map at the CDC’s web site will show you the exact number of confirmed cases.
During May 27–June 2, Miami-Dade had 17,242 and Hillsborough had 4,366:
The greatest increases in cases are concentrated in the central and northern parts of the state. Miami-Dade had a 5% decline; Hillsborough reported a 9% increase:
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:
Data released by the state tells us nothing about the amount of change:
To evaluate the trend in Covid infections among children during the week of May 27–June 2, 2022, we can use the data from two weeks earlier.
During this week, 2,333 children under five tested positive in Florida, an increase of 14% over the previous week (2,037) and 17% more than in the last report two weeks ago (1,997).
Among those 5–19, 7,692 tested positive, 4% fewer than the prior week (8,027) and 6% more than two weeks ago (7,267).
In total, 10,025 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive last week, an increase of 0.3% from a week before (10,064) and 8% more than in the previous report (9,264).
Note that most Florida schools closed around May 28th:
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.
This school year began on August 10th, and the Hillsborough County School District instituted a mandatory mask mandate on August 18th. They ended it on October 15th.
Florida law prohibits requiring masks in non-medical settings and now leaves the decision about quarantining after a close contact at school to the child’s parents.
A study of schools with more than 1.1 million students and 157,000 staff members determined a 72% drop of in-school Covid transmission occurred with mandatory mask policies instead of optional or partial masking.
The Hillsborough County School District published a notice effective January 31, 2022:
“The Florida Department of Health has shifted COVID-19 case investigation focus to: ‘high-congregate settings’ (nursing homes/skilled nursing/assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, group homes) at high risk for secondary transmission or poor health outcomes among their residents as a result of COVID-19 infection. Public schools and daycare settings are not considered congregate settings.”
During the week leading up to that announcement 38,629 school-aged children in Florida had tested positive.
On January 26th, the Orange County School District announced that the state will no longer permit excused absences for Covid effective January 31st. Children who quarantined after a Covid exposure would be considered truant:
The Hillsborough County School District has failed to update the Covid dashboard since May 23rd. Schools closed for the summer after May 26th.
As of May 23, 2022, there had been 29,051 cases during this school year. There were 47 cases reported during May 20–23, 2022:
My daughters’ high school has had 144 cases, with none of those in the last thirteen weeks. The middle school has had 149; with one new case two weeks ago. Our elementary school has had 190, also with one new case two weeks ago.
Florida Covid Testing:
The shift to home-based testing with the first omicron wave is highly likely to result in an under-reporting of Covid cases.
The CDC advises those with a positive at-home test to report the results to their doctor.
On January 3, 2022, the Florida Surgeon General decried the “testing psychology” which seeks to identify all Covid cases to slow the rate of community transmission.
Amidst the scandal which erupted on January 7th concerning the 1,000,000 expired antigen tests, Florida’s web site shifted its focus to testing. Specifically, that people who are not high-risk should avoid it.
On January 6th, the governor announced the state was shipping 1,000,000 test kits to long-term care and nursing facilities:
On February 7th, the Florida Department of Health officially reprimanded two testing companies which failed to report the results of 230,000 Covid tests taken during December and January.
Every household in the US is now eligible to receive 3 shipments of 4 free Covid tests from the federal government at Covid.gov.
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.
Florida crossed the 5% threshold during April 9–21.
According to the Florida DoH report, last week the state experienced a 9% increase to reach 16.2%.
That would mean there are likely 224% more cases than were confirmed by testing reported to the state:
According to data which the state reported to the CDC, seven-day positivity rate averages climbed from 18.89% on May 27th to 20.70% on June 2nd.
The overall average for the week was a 19.54% positivity rate, an 8% increase over the previous week.
That means there were about 281,000 cases in Florida during May 27–June 2, 2022, a 16% rise in cases:
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:
Every Florida county exceeds the 5% threshold.
Disney’s location (Orange County) is second-highest in the state at 25.89%.
Fifty-nine counties have positivity rates above 10%, up from 52 two weeks earlier:
Fifty-four counties experienced an increase in their positivity rates compared to a week earlier. Half 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:
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 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:
For the week ending January 8th, 97% of sequenced cases in the region which includes Florida were omicron:
At that time, there was only one monoclonal antibody produced in the US which could attach to circulating omicron BA.1 particles.
Sotrovimab worked against the original omicron variant and omicron BA.1 at a dosage three times that required to neutralize the delta variant.
During the first week of January 2022, hospitals in Florida used 140 of the state’s stockpile of 4,400 Sotrovimab doses, in contrast to over 2,700 doses of the ineffective Regeneron monoclonal antibody.
On January 18th, the state announced the opening of additional monoclonal antibody infusion centers to distribute what remained of the 15,000 additional doses of Regeneron secured on January 7th.
Tampa Bay Times: Omicron Undermines Florida’s Strategy to Combat Coronavirus: Gov. Ron DeSantis Continues to Tout Monoclonal Antibody Therapies, but New Evidence Shows Their Effectiveness Against COVID-19 Is Waning
A week later, the FDA revised its Emergency Use Authorizations for the two components of Regeneron, prohibiting their use against the omicron variant.
The federal government stopped shipping those monoclonal antibodies. Why the state continues to emphasize this is mystifying:
Governor DeSantis accused the Biden Administration of having no clinical evidence, despite the manufacturers of both antibodies noting they are now ineffective:
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 62% of sequenced samples, vs. 25% for BA.2.
Since my last report on May 19th, the CDC has begun calculating the percentages of BA.4 (5%) and BA.5 (8%). 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.
During May 29–June 4, 2022, in the region which includes Florida, the percentage of BA.2 was 21%; BA.2.12.1 increased to 66%; BA.4 rose to 4%; and BA.5 increased to 9%:
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.
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. Currently, we have no information about its efficacy against BA.5:
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.
On April 25, 2022, the federal government changed its allocation method and switched to a new web page:
Here is the most recent federal allocation of 11,312 Covid-specific treatments to Florida:
- 2,730 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 are enough highly effective treatments for 9,190 Covid patients being delivered to the state this week:
On December 8, 2021, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody developed to protect people over the age of 12 with severe immunosuppression against infection.
Due to the scarce supply, people with certain cancers or who have received organ transplants receive the highest priority.
Governor DeSantis announced the new preventative was available on December 17th, when Covid was raging through Miami-Dade County.
However, the first shipments went to a small private fee-based clinic in Broward County, not to a major medical center. People flew from out of state to receive it.
A spokesperson for the state claimed the iCare Clinic received priority because it was open on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Jackson Memorial, the hospital in Miami with the most transplant patients in FL, was to receive it four weeks later. Before that time, 11,000 doses had already been shipped to the state.
Evusheld appears to remain effective against the omicron BA.2 subvariant. However, due to that subvariant, the FDA amended the EUA on February 24, 2022, to double the dosage of each component of Evusheld.
People who had already received it should contact their physicians about an additional shot. The FDA is now uncertain how long the immunity conferred by Evusheld will last:
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:
Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,312 doses of Evusheld on May 31st:
Covid Hospitalizations in Florida:
You won’t find any hospitalization information on Florida’s Weekly Surveillance Reports. Florida stopped reporting Covid hospitalizations on June 24, 2021.
However, Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Florida reported a record 13,028 hospitalizations for Covid-19 on August 24, 2021, to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Since the omicron 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.
For August 1, 2020–June 2, 2022, Florida has had 424,902 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
During May 27–June 2, 2022, there was an average of 460 admissions per day, a total of 3,218. That was an increase of 22% from the previous week (2,631; 376/day).
Nevertheless, that was 80% 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 2, 2022, hospitalizations for all adult age groups rose. The amount of change ranged from 20% (ages 70+) to 46% (40–49).
Pediatric admissions increased 19% compared to 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 2nd, there were 2.10 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 1.75 the week before:
Dr. Salemi is now publishing the hospitalization ranking for every state and Washington DC for every age group over time.
On June 2nd, Florida was the 6th worst overall for inpatients. Adult and pediatric admissions were 2nd and 3rd worst respectively:
Adult and pediatric hospitalizations and admissions in Florida have risen steadily over the last eight weeks.
On June 1, 2022, 2,421 adult Covid patients were hospitalized, an increase of 24% in one week. The state ranking worsened from 10th to 6th.
There were 430 adult admissions per day, 25% higher. Only two states experienced a higher rate of adult admissions.
The proportion of adults needing ICU care was 9%. Their numbers rose 6% to 229, the 9th worst in the US.
Pediatric Covid hospitalizations are 4% higher on June 1st than a week earlier, with 58 children in the hospital. Florida ranks 39th in that category.
There were 46 pediatric admissions/day, 10% more than a week earlier. Florida’s pediatric admissions rank was third worst in the US.
One in 40 admissions are for children, down from 1 in 4 on April 15th:
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.
For example, Miami-Dade has had 513 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (5% drop), Palm Beach had 302 (31% rise), (Broward has had 369 (5% decline), and Hillsborough has had 275 (17% more):
This is the percentage of change in hospital admissions by county. The locations with the largest increases are in the Panhandle, ranging from 85–100%:
HHS tracks Hospital Utilization.
On the morning of June 4, 2022, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full. Covid patients accounted for 2,867 of them (4.8% of utilized beds).
Two weeks earlier, there were 1,941 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 47% more inpatients with Covid:
4.1% percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 243 Covid patients, 45% more than two weeks earlier (168). This represents 8% of hospitalized Covid patients.
Two weeks ago, 2% of ICU beds were used by Covid patients. Overall, 73% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, the same as two weeks earlier:
Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on June 4th:
- There were 36 Covid-19 admissions, down up from 40 two weeks before
- Six Covid patients were in their ICU, up from 4 two weeks earlier
Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here