To check on other states, I recommend finding the statistical category you’re seeking on this post and then clicking on Dr. Salemi’s or the CDC’s site and entering a different state or county.
If you were infected with omicron in Florida before the end of March, you are highly unlikely to have immunity to the 95% of subvariants which now predominate.
Three doses of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines are also significantly less protective when compared to earlier omicron subvariants.
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.
A report released by the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in June 2022 explains Florida’s approach to the pandemic: get as many lower-risk people infected as quickly as possible to reach herd immunity.
In July 2020, one senior federal official advocated for deliberate infection “kind of like measles parties.”
He wrote, “Infants, kids, teens, young adults, middle aged with no conditions, etc. have zero to little risk…so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…and recovered…with antibodies…Hospitals are NOW geared, PPE in place, ICU beds are on the ready, doctors and nurses alert….”
Scott Atlas, the chief architect of the herd immunity plan, advised the DeSantis Administration before joining the federal government.
Dr. Joseph Ladapo also promoted this “low testing/no masks/no lockdown” strategy to the White House before becoming the state’s surgeon general.
This week, Florida ranks between 3rd and 5th worst in Covid deaths; worst in adult hospital admissions, 2nd in adult hospitalization; 4th in adult ICU Covid patients; 3rd in pediatric hospital admissions; and 10th in pediatric hospitalizations.
Florida children aged 1–4 have a death rate 27% worse than the national average, making the state 6th worst in the US, with 11 deaths (four worse states have one death each).
So far, 14 permanent Florida residents under 1 year old have died, a decrease from 16 as of June 23rd.
During June 24–30, 205 Florida children were admitted to the hospital with Covid.
Over 3,000 Covid deaths which a state auditor detected in early June have still not been added to the state tally.
Comparing the June 30th and June 16th reports, there is an increase of 500,000 people who had received at least one shot by the same date (June 16th). The FL Department of Health spokesman refused to explain the discrepancy.
The official Department of Health web site lies about the FDA’s recommended age for vaccination, saying it is 12+, not 6 months+.
Until receiving a demand from a bipartisan Congressional committee on June 18th, the FL Dept of Health prevented hospitals and doctors’ offices from preordering the vaccines which the FDA and CDC approved for children at least 6 months old. See the Vaccination section for a more detailed account.
There were more cumulative cases reported for children under five in the June 16th report (192,875) than in the June 30th report (191,640). That gives us -1,235 for June 17–23, when the state was hindering vaccination of that age group.
Compared to that week, the vaccination rate for children <5 increased by 5x.
On June 28th, Dr. Ladapo testified to Congress that he and Governor DeSantis made the decision not to preorder vaccines and to prevent county health departments from administering them. He estimated that would affect 33,000 children.
When asked about the risk of Covid infections compared to the risk of vaccination, the surgeon general called it “a perverse question.” He asserted what matters is the risk of vaccination vs. non-vaccination.
On June 30th, the day the president of the Florida Academy of Pediatrics began vaccinating young children, the state removed her from her board position at Florida Healthy Kids.
Florida’s Chief Financial Official claimed it was for “some very political statements that do not reflect the CFO’s point of view, even going so far as to as to say that the state is ‘obstruct(ing)’ access to vaccines. The CFO does not share your opinion and believes the state has gone to great lengths to protect lives in the face of the Coronavirus.”
With all 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 order up to three sets of four Covid tests at Covid.gov.
On June 29th, the CDC deemed much of Florida as either a sustained or newer hotspot:
Evidence from South Africa indicates that people who were previously infected with omicron BA.1 are susceptible to reinfection from the newer subvariants omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and omicron BA.5.
People who were vaccinated were 5 times less likely to experience reinfection than unvaccinated individuals.
These newer strains replicate in people’s nasal passages, tending to result in less severe illness.
The early omicron variants triggered long Covid in 4% of people, compared to 10% of those infected with the delta variant. Serious cases are rare but do occur, especially in unvaccinated individuals.
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:
On June 25, 2022, 93% of sequenced samples in the US and 95% in the region which includes Florida were BA.2.12.1, BA.4, or BA.5.
That means that only 5% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection which is spreading in the state can be prevented by vaccination or a prior infection:
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 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:
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 23, 2022.
These bullet points are a summary of the data in the rest of this post:
Florida Covid Deaths:
- As of 6-30-22, the state has reported 75,891 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.
- During June 2021–June 2022, Florida reported only 7,405 of the 40,840 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (18%).
- 1,615 permanent Florida residents died from Covid in June 2022, a 322% increase from May (382).
- There were 317 deaths among permanent residents reported during June 24–30. That is 34% fewer than in the previous week and between 3rd and 5th worst in the nation per capita.
- The state is claiming only 22% of them as “New Deaths” (71).
- Miami-Dade reported 66 deaths in the last week (+12%); Palm Beach, 32 (-40%); Broward, 43 (+34%); Orange, 10 (-38%); and Hillsborough, 23 (unchanged).
- FL has 9.2% of US deaths when vaccinations were available to all over 15, for 6.6% of the US population.
- Over half of Florida’s Covid deaths have occurred since everyone over 15 became eligible for vaccination.
- 88% of the 795 deaths during June 17–30 occurred among senior citizens. Two children died.
- 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 6th worst death rate in the nation for ages 1–4, with 11 deaths. Removing small states with 1 death makes Florida the 2nd worst. The state has 27% more deaths in that age group than expected based upon the national average.
- 14 children under 1 year old have died, some of whom were likely over 6 months old. Two deaths were removed this week. Without small states with one death, FL ranks 9th worst.
- Children aged 5–14 are in the worst ranking demographic at 5th. Without small states with one death, FL is 3rd worst. 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.
FL Covid Vaccinations:
- As of June 16th, Florida claimed a 71% vaccination rate. This includes anyone with at least one shot, over 600,000 snowbirds, and “vaccine tourists.”
- The state report inexplicably claims to exclude children under 5 and include those 6 months–1 year old.
- 61% of people in Florida had at least completed a vaccine series by June 30th.
- In the June 30th and June 16th reports, there is an increase of 500,000 people who had received at least one shot by the same date (June 16th). The FL DoH spokesman refused to explain the discrepancy.
- Long Covid occurs significantly less often in vaccinated people. Vaccination after infection can also reduce or eliminate Long Covid symptoms.
- At most, 26% had booster shots by June 30th, an important precaution against illness and transmission of the omicron variants.
- During May 2022, boosters prevented 63% of omicron hospitalizations among people aged 18–49; 74% for ages 50–64; and 74% for senior citizens.
- Compared to April, hospitalizations in May doubled for every age and vaccination status.
- 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.
- During the initial omicron wave in Israel, a second booster prevented 64% of hospitalizations and 72% of Covid deaths among nursing home residents compared to those who received only a first booster.
- Mixing booster vaccine types will give you the best protection: they stimulate different parts of your immune system. If you had 2 or 3 Moderna, I recommend getting a Pfizer and vice versa.
- 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 May 2022, unvaccinated children aged 5–11 were 70% more likely to need hospital admission than their vaccinated peers.
- Unvaccinated teens aged 12–17 were 112% more likely than boosted teens.
- Hospitalization rates doubled for ages 5–11 and tripled for teens since April.
- As of 6-30-22, only 24% of those Floridians aged 5–11 had at least one shot; 63% of adolescents did. The state claimed a 7% rise in vaccinated teens with new 10,500 doses, not a 0.5% rise.
- 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.
- Within an hour of receiving a demand for an explanation from a bipartisan Congressional committee, the state began enabling healthcare providers to order the vaccines.
- On 6-28-22, Dr. Ladapo testified to Congress that 33,000 young children are unlikely to access vaccination due to the ban on county health departments providing them.
- I recommend using the Vaccines. gov site to locate a participating pharmacy.
- Publix has announced they will not vaccinate children under 5, although they were the first in the state to receive adult dosages.
- On 6-30-22, the president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics was removed from the board of FL Healthy Kids for disagreeing with the DeSantis administration about the necessity of vaccination.
- As of 6-30-22, 0.4% of permanent Florida residents aged 6 months–4 years had received their first shot (5,200).
- 5x as many children <5 were vaccinated this week than the during the previous one, when the CDC had already given approval.
- For those <6 months, having a mother who received 2 doses while pregnant reduced hospitalizations by 38% during omicron and 80% during delta. Vaccine efficacy doubled when given after 20 weeks.
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 74,481 new confirmed cases among permanent Florida residents (+1%).
- There have been 6,493,977 confirmed Covid cases in Florida among permanent residents.
- The number of cases per week has been virtually unchanged for the last four weeks.
- 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 6-30-22, Florida’s state rank for confirmed cases was the 3rd worst in the US.
- The most recent CDC data shows 100% of Florida counties have high transmission rates.
- Miami-Dade declined to 16,198 (-5%); Broward had 7,371 (-3%); Palm Beach had 4,491 (unchanged); Hillsborough had 4,867 (+3%). Orange County—where Disney is located—rose to 4,377 (+1%).
- This week 2,959 children <5 tested positive in Florida, 5% more than in the last report two weeks ago (2,807).
- There were more cumulative cases reported for children under five in the June 16th report (192,875) than in the June 30th report (191,640). That gives us -1,235 for June 17–23, when the state was preventing vaccination of that age group.
- Among those 5–19, 6,366 tested positive (+4%) and -29% in 2 weeks. 11,733 Florida residents <20 tested + last week, unchanged from the previous report.
- 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:
- A report released by the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in June 2022 explains Florida’s approach to the pandemic: get as many people infected as quickly as possible to reach herd immunity.
- One Trump Administration official wrote, “Infants, kids, teens, young adults, middle aged with no conditions, etc. have zero to little risk…so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…and recovered…with antibodies.”
- Scott Atlas, the chief architect, advised the DeSantis Administration before joining the federal government.
- Dr. Joseph Ladapo also promoted this “low testing/no masks/no lockdown” strategy to the White House before becoming the state’s surgeon general.
- 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.
- The state is claiming a 19.4% positivity rate. The lag of several days for reporting cannot account for this; the previous week, the CDC reported it was 21.57%.
- CDC data using information from the state showed the positivity rate steadily increased from 22.16% to 23.01%, with an average of 22.61% (+5%).
- That means there were about 337,000 cases in Florida during June 24–30, 2022 (+6%).
- All of Florida’s 67 counties are above the 5% threshold; 3/4 are above 20%.
- Orange County, where Disney is located, reported that 26.42% of tests were positive.
- Of the 48 with increased positivity, 23 were larger than 2 full percentage points
- On 12-30-21, FL’s Agriculture Secretary revealed 1,000,000 expired antigen tests.
- On 1-4-22, FL’s Surgeon General decried “testing psychology” to identify all cases.
- On 1-8-22, FL’s web site told those not at high risk of severe cases to avoid testing.
- On 1-9-22, the governor announced 1,000,000 tests for long-term care and nursing homes
- On 2-7-22, the state reprimanded two companies which failed to report 230,000 test results from December and January until that week.
- On 3-2-22 Governor DeSantis chided a group of teens in a county with a high alert level and told them to remove their face masks. He then used that episode to raise campaign funds. Under those conditions, the CDC recommends that everyone wear masks indoors.
- On 3-31-22, a UF faculty committee revealed discrepancies in the surgeon general’s hiring as a tenured professor.
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 6-25-22, the percentage of the BA.2 subvariant in the region which includes Florida fell to 5%, with BA.2.12.1 declining to 43%; BA.4 rising to 14%, BA.5 climbing rapidly to 39%. 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 11,837 Covid-specific treatments to Florida: 3,000 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types); 6,275 of the oral Paxlovid; 2,112 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir.
- In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 9,725 Covid patients being delivered to the state.
- By June 26th, Florida patients had used 46% of the state’s cumulative Paxlovid deliveries; 9% of the Legevrio (Molnupir); 34% of the Bebtelovimab; and 31% of the Evusheld.
- 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 ineffective against omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5, which account for 95% of cases in Florida’s region.
- 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 6-26-22, Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,336 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 6-4-21.
- Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
- For August 1, 2020–June 30, 2022, Florida has had 441,391 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 9.0% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
- During June 24–30, 2022, there was an average of 648 admissions per day, a total of 4,564 (+ 8%).
- On June 30th, there were 3.03 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 2.79 the week before.
- Hospitalization admissions for most adult age groups rose. They ranged from 0% (ages 50–59) to 13% (18–29).
- Pediatric admissions increased 6% compared to a week earlier. 205 children were admitted to FL hospitals this week.
- Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
- On 6-30-22, Florida was the worst in the nation for adult Covid admissions, 2nd worst for adult hospitalizations; 4th worst for adult ICU patients, 3rd worst for pediatric admissions; and 10th for pediatric hospitalizations.
- On 6-30-22, 3,446 adult Covid patients were hospitalized (+5%).
- Florida’s rate of adult admissions has been the worst in the US for the fourth week in a row, at 630/day (+7%).
- 365 patients needed ICU care, 11% of adults hospitalized with Covid (+23%).
- 75 children were hospitalized (+4%), with 43 pediatric admissions on that day (-10%). Florida’s pediatric admissions rank remained 3rd worst in the US.
- One in 16 admissions are for children, down from 1 in 4 on April 15th.
- On 6-29-22, Orange County—where Disney is located—had 227 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (+9%). Miami-Dade had 619 (-12%); Broward had 445 (-12%); Palm Beach had 318 (+13%); and Hillsborough had 386 (+16%).
- Largest increases were in the Panhandle and northcentral counties.
- On 7-1-22, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 6.4% used by Covid patients.
- Covid patients accounted for 3,789 hospital beds (+5%).
- 6.7% of ICU beds were used by 414 Covid patients (+27%).
- Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, the same as a week ago.
- 11% 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. Dr. Salemi has resumed posting a link to the report:
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 June 24–30, 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 = 74,481; Cumulative cases = 6,493,977
- Positivity rate = 19.4%
- New deaths = 71; Cumulative deaths = 75,891
- Vaccination rate = 71%
- Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots: 7,855,850
- Total booster doses: 5,830,788
Here is some of the data from June 17–23, 2022 which the state submitted to the CDC on June 23rd.
Cumulative numbers are derived from adding the new CDC information to the June 16th Florida Department of Health report.
The corrected vaccination rate is from the CDC. Positivity data reflects the average for the week as reported to the CDC:
- New cases = 73,796; Cumulative cases = 6,419,459
- Positivity rate = 21.57%
- New deaths = 54; Cumulative deaths = 75,574
- Vaccination rate = 67.6%
- Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots: 8,516,954 (59%)
- Total booster doses: 6,000,973 (41%)
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 30, 2022. Sixty counties are at the highest level and 7 are at the medium level. None are green.
Currently, 99% of Floridians live in counties at the highest risk. One week earlier, 33 counties were at the highest level:
In areas of high alert, the CDC advises everyone to wear a high-quality tight-fitting mask indoors. Please note that relaxed masking guidelines in green areas do not apply to severely immunocompromised people.
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:
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 July 6th (12+):
As expected, on June 18th, the CDC issued a statement recommending vaccination for all children at least 6 months old.
The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on June 17th. They also expanded eligibility for the Moderna vaccine to children aged 5–17 years old:
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.
Including Washington DC, Florida has the 6th worst death rate in the nation for ages 1–4 (11 deaths).
The state has 27% more deaths in that age group than expected based upon the national average.
Fourteen Floridians under 1 year old have died, some of whom may have fallen within the new eligibility criteria (there were 16 as of 6-23-22).
When I remove smaller states with higher ranks but only one death, the state’s rankings rise to 9th worst for <1; 2nd worst for 1–4; and 3rd worst for 5–14:
I have no idea why two deaths were removed from the <1 category since last week. Since the deaths/100,000 in the nation also dropped, this could reflect a national reassessment of infant deaths. Even with the removal, Florida dropped in rank from 36th to 39th:
By June 2, 2022, 442 American children under the age of 5 had died due to Covid:
During August 1, 2020–June 30, 2022, there have been 13,810 pediatric hospital admissions with confirmed Covid in Florida, with 205 of those in the last week:
When Florida officials refused to preorder vaccines for young children, the state was the 2nd worst in the US for pediatric admissions. On June 30th, the state ranked 3rd:
In anticipation of FDA approval, the federal government created a June 13, 2022, deadline for states to preorder the smaller doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines required for children aged 6 months–4 years old. Florida was the only state to miss that deadline.
While federal pharmacies like Costco, Publix, Sam’s Club, Walgreens and Winn-Dixie can order doses directly from the US government, most of them do not administer any vaccinations to children under 3 years old.
CVS Minute Clinics are an exception, accepting children at least 18 months old.
Despite being the first pharmacies to receive the adult vaccines in Florida, Publix has announced they will not provide them for children under 5.
I recommend using the Vaccines.gov website to locate a participating pharmacy.
During a press conference, Governor DeSantis asserted, “I would say we are affirmatively against the COVID vaccine for young kids. These are the people who have zero risk of getting anything.”
The spokesman for the Florida Department of Health stated, “The Florida Department of Health [DoH]… has made it clear to the federal government that states do not need to be involved in the convoluted vaccine distribution process, especially when the federal government has a track record of developing inconsistent and unsustainable COVID-19 policies. It is also no surprise we chose not to participate in distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine when the Department does not recommend it for all children.”
As with all other childhood vaccines, Florida hospitals were able to preorder the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5–11 in November 2021 from the state program Florida SHOTS.
However, the state’s website did not provide that option for the younger cohort for several days after receiving widespread attention in the national press.
The president of the FL chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that in her contacts with the FL DoH on this issue, the agency never claimed the situation would change after the FDA authorized the vaccines.
Within an hour of the bipartisan House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus demanding an explanation, pediatric healthcare providers were able to place orders directly beginning on June 17, 2022.
Participants in the Florida SHOTS program must order at least 100 doses. Unlike for all other age groups, the state will not store the lower dosage vaccines.
As a result, small independent pediatric clinics may find it harder to deliver these shots, making it even more difficult for parents with children under 18 months old. A ten-dose vial must be thrown after away 12 hours.
According to a federal official, “The state of Florida intentionally missed multiple deadlines to order vaccines to protect its youngest kids. Now despite repeated efforts to reach out and engage officials in the state of Florida, elected officials deliberately chose to delay taking action to deny Florida parents the choice of whether to vaccinate their children or not.”
On June 28th, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo testified to the House subcommittee.
He confirmed that he and Governor DeSantis made the decision together not to preorder the lower dose vaccines and to prohibit county health departments from vaccinating young children.
Dr. Ladapo admitted this would likely prevent 33,000 children without a regular doctor from receiving vaccination.
When a subcommittee member asked Dr. Ladapo about the risk of Covid infections compared to the risk of vaccination, the surgeon general called it “a perverse question.”
He asserted the comparison which matters is the risk of vaccination vs. non-vaccination, as if SARS-CoV-2 poses “little to no risk of severe illness complications.”
That same day, a high-ranking federal health official pledged to deliver smaller quantities of vaccines directly to health care providers who request them.
On June 30th, the same day she began vaccinating young children, the state removed the president of the Florida Academy of Pediatrics from her board position at Florida Healthy Kids.
Florida’s Chief Financial Official made the move due to “some very political statements that do not reflect the CFO’s point of view, even going so far as to as to say that the state is ‘obstruct(ing)’ access to vaccines.’ The CFO does not share your opinion and believes the state has gone to great lengths to protect lives in the face of the Coronavirus.”
As of June 30th, approximately 5,200 young children had received their first shot in Florida. 0.4% of that age group.
Five times as many children were vaccinated this week than during the first week the CDC had expanded the approval:
For infants too young to receive vaccination, having a mother who received two doses of a vaccine while pregnant reduced hospitalizations by 38% during the omicron wave and 80% during delta. Vaccine efficacy doubled when administered after 20 weeks rather than earlier.
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.
During May, Covid hospitalizations occurred for unvaccinated children 70% more often than for their vaccinated peers (3.35/100,000 vs. 2.47/100,000):
On May 17, 2022, the FDA approved a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5–11.
The most recent CDC data has removed information for adolescents who received only a primary series of vaccinations.
During April 2022, unvaccinated teens were 112% more likely to need hospitalization than boosted peers (7.75/100,000 vs 3.65/100,000):
As of June 30, 2022, 24% of Florida residents under 11 had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. According to the newest report, 63% of adolescents had.
The addition of 10,500 vaccinated among almost 2 million teens is a 0.5% increase, not a 7% rise in two weeks:
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 dropped to 71%, probably due to the new eligibility of young children. This percentage includes partially vaccinated people.
Florida’s official population has just risen to 22,334,144:
The state derived the lower figure of 22,207,477 by halving the number of children under 1 year old:
Using the entire population, 61% completed at least 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, 26% of permanent Florida residents and snowbirds have received a booster shot:
Two weeks ago, that was 24%.
Between these two reports, 526,462 people were added to the “total vaccinated” tally, but only 11,794 people received a first dose during June 24–30.
That would mean about 515,000 people received their first shot a week earlier:
This is from the June 30th report. For the week beginning on June 10th, about 15,841,000 people had at least one shot:
And this is from the June 16th report. For the week beginning on June 10th, about 15,340,000 people had at least one shot. That is a difference of about 500,000 people:
The spokesman for the Florida Department of Health offered no explanation other than “Please read the last page of the report.”
According to that section, the population is based upon the number of Floridians at least 5 years old, a statement which contradicts the portion above which discusses how they derived the number of infants to include.
It is also identical to the Vaccination Notes from the previous report:
At most, 26% of permanent Florida residents and snowbirds have received a booster shot.
Note that the segment of the population with the highest percentage of boosted individuals also has lower than expected death rates compared to the national averages:
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.
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.
On May 24th, the CDC added approval for a fifth shot for people 12+ with moderate to severe immunocompromisation.
The agency previously approved a second booster shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for all adults aged 50+. Children aged 5–11 are eligible for one booster regardless of health status.
There are no safety issues associated with the additional shot. People on Medicare can receive a second booster shot at no cost.
During the initial omicron wave in Israel, a second booster prevented 64% of hospitalizations and 72% of Covid deaths among nursing home residents compared to those who received only a first booster.
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 removed people who received only a primary series, backdated to December 2021.
Looking at the numbers for May compared to April, hospitalization rates roughly doubled for every age and vaccination status category.
Among those 18–49 years old during May 2022, unvaccinated people were hospitalized at a rate of 31.65/100,000.
At least one booster prevented 63% of hospitalizations (11.62/100,000):
Unvaccinated people aged 50–64 were hospitalized in May at a rate of 72.73 /100,000.
At least one booster dose prevented 71% of hospitalizations (21.17/100,000). This is a significant decline from January, when a booster prevented 92% of hospitalizations in that demographic group:
Results in May for senior citizens showed that unvaccinated individuals required hospital care at a rate of 335.37/100,000.
Boosters prevented 74% of hospitalizations which would have occurred without vaccination (87.78/100,000). In January, boosters prevented 94%:
The risk of death among unvaccinated people and those with a primary series during the weeks of April 24–30, 2022, is as follows:
|Relative Risk of Death by Vaccination Status|
This graphic depicts the vaccination status of the US adult population compared to the death rates during September 2021–February 2022:
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.
Covid Deaths in Florida:
On June 6, 2022, a report from the Florida Auditor General revealed that the state omitted approximately 3,000 Covid deaths from official reporting during March–October 2020. The Tampa Bay Times article includes a link to the audit. Those deaths are still not reflected in the June 30th report or in the chart below.
During June 2021–June 2022, Florida reported only 7,405 of the 40,840 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (18%).
During June 2022, cumulative data indicated there were 1,615 Covid deaths among permanent Florida residents. Only 185 were counted as “New Deaths” (11%).
Covid deaths in June were 322% higher than in May:
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 30th cumulative data from the state and the CDC data from June 23rd, which showed 75,891 and 75,574 Florida deaths, I determined there were 317 Covid deaths reported in Florida during June 24–30, 2022.
This is a 34% decrease compared to the previous week (478). Only 71 of them were counted as new deaths (22%), about double the usual percentage:
Clicking on individual counties reveals a higher number than the state’s “new deaths” total.
During June 24–30, Miami-Dade County reported 66 deaths; Palm Beach County had 32; Broward had 43; Orange—where Disney is located—had 10; and Hillsborough had 23:
Compared to the previous week, Palm Beach County’s deaths fell by 40%; Miami-Dade’s rose by 12%; Broward rose by 34%; Orange declined by 38%; and Hillsborough was unchanged:
According to CDC data, there had been 75,891 Covid deaths in Florida by June 30, 2022.
Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021.
SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 41,699 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 9.2% of all American Covid-19 deaths since everyone at least 16 years old qualified for vaccination:
Nationwide, 7.0% 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 (1,251/100,000).
That is 6.4% of people in that age group who tested positive:
Here are the cumulative deaths from the June 30, 2022, Florida DoH report:
And from the June 16, 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 June 9–30, 2022:
- Under 16 = 2 (0.3%)
- 16–29 = 5 (0.6%)
- 30–39 = 8 (1.0%)
- 40–49 = 17 (2.1%)
- 50–59 = 39 (4.9%)
- 60–64 = 24 (3.0%)
- 65+ = 700 (88.1%)
There were 57% more deaths in this two-week period than in the previous one (506).
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 5th worst. There have been 33% more Covid deaths among permanent Florida residents in that age group than the national average.
The state is the 6th worst in the nation for deaths among ages 1–4, with 27% more deaths than expected. Washington DC, Delaware. Hawaii, and South Dakota are ranked worse in per capita deaths for ages 1–4, but each has only one death:
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.
However, note the rough correlation between expected mortality and vaccination rates:
The CDC recently updated their algorithm for calculating excess deaths in the US to include six years of data, rather than four, due to the pandemic skewing the expected numbers.
This accounts for the higher than typical age of Florida’s population.
You can click on each bar on their site to see the data for that week. It takes up to eight weeks for complete reporting:
Here is another way to visualize that chart. You can see all states by clicking Percent Excess Deaths on the CDC’s site:
Florida has a higher than expected proportion of excess deaths compared to other states, including17,000 unrelated to Covid.
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:
In this map of Covid deaths rates, if you go to the CDC’s site and click on Florida, you will see on the July 1st update that only 71 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 317 when comparing the state’s cumulative deaths for June 30, 2022, with June 23, 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 (231); TX (300); FL (353); NY (255); PA (357); IL (304):
To get an accurate picture of that map for the last seven days, we must determine the death rate for 317 deaths, not 71.
Doing that shows that Florida had 1.3 deaths/100,000, ranking between 3rd and 5th in per capita deaths reported in the last 7 days:
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 30, 2022, the Florida Department of Health reported 74,481 confirmed Covid cases.
Adding those to the state’s previous cumulative count gives us a total of 6,493,977 cumulative Covid cases among permanent residents.
Florida reported 73,780 new cases for the week ending on June 23rd, so that is a 1% increase.
The number of cases per week has been virtually unchanged for the last four weeks:
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.
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:
Dr. Salemi has begun publishing state rankings of confirmed cases, with the addition of Washington DC and New York City.
On June 30, 2022, Florida’s ranking is 3rd worst, behind only Hawaii and Alaska:
Clicking on this map at the CDC’s web site will show you the exact number of confirmed cases for any county.
During June 24–30, Miami-Dade declined to 16,198; Broward had 7,371; Palm Beach had 4,491; Hillsborough increased to 4,867. Orange County—where Disney is located—rose slightly to 4,377:
The greatest increases in cases are concentrated in the northern parts of the state.
Miami-Dade reported a 5% decrease; Palm Beach was unchanged; Broward dropped 3%; Orange rose 1%; and Hillsborough increased 3%:
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 June 24–30, 2022, we can use the data from two weeks earlier.
Children under 5 are now separated into two age brackets based upon vaccination eligibility, but to make an accurate comparison I need to keep them together this week.
During this week, 2,959 children under five tested positive in Florida, 5% more than in the last report two weeks ago (2,807).
Even a cursory glance at these numbers reveals there were more cumulative cases reported for children under five in the June 16th report (192,875) than in the June 30th report (191,640).
That gives us -1,235 for the week of June 17–23, 2022, at precisely the time when the state was preventing vaccination of that age group.
Among those 5–19, 6,366 tested positive, 4% more than the prior week (6,075) and 29% fewer than two weeks ago (8,934).
In total, 11,733 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive last week, virtually the same as in the previous report (11,741).
I have omitted the total for last week due to the questionable data for those <5:
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:
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:
Florida Covid Testing:
A report released by the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in June 2022 explains Florida’s approach to the pandemic:
In March 2020, a radiologist named Scott Atlas began pushing the federal government to stop the “a massive overreaction” that was “inciting irrational fear.”
He claimed that SARS-CoV-2 would kill about 10,000 Americans, a number so small that it “would be unnoticed” compared to influenza.
Dr. Atlas advocated isolating high-risk people and exposing lower-risk Americans to the virus as quickly as possible. Masks and widespread social distancing would prevent that from happening, so he eschewed them.
On July 4, 2020, another like-minded Trump Administration official wrote this:
Dr. Deborah Birx pointed out that many Americans over 70 live in multi-generational households, to no avail.
Dr. Atlas advised Ron DeSantis on Florida’s Covid response.
Several months later, Jared Kushner secretly hired him to join the Trump Administration.
Mr. Kushner told him to hide his badge and had him anonymously join Coronavirus Task Force online meetings for the first two weeks he was employed there, because Dr. Birx “would be extremely sensitive and upset and threatened if I came in.”
A memorandum written by Dr. Atlas called “Strategy for Moving Forward Covid-19” stated this:
He also claimed, “…emerging research adding insights into immunity and suggesting that herd immunity may arise with a far lower population infection rate than originally thought…We expect to see more cases with more social interactions, because this is a contagious disease.”
In August 2020, Dr. Atlas invited several doctors to the White House who agreed with his approach.
One of them was Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who now serves as the Florida Surgeon General.
Dr. Birx wrote in her objection to the meeting which she called “dangerous”, “any credibility given to these individuals in this moment while we were headed into the fall would be dangerous for our overall response and ability to contain the virus.” They met anyway.
Fearing that large-scale testing was harmful because it would interfere with achieving herd immunity and lead to “lockdowns [which would] hurt Americans more than the virus,” Dr. Atlas wrote this on August 3, 2020:
After fierce debate, the testing guidance was drastically weakened against the wishes of the CDC director.
An unknown person removed the recommendation for people without symptoms to self-isolate for 14 days after close contact with an infected person. Testing declined significantly.
In September, Dr. Atlas sent an email claiming that PCR tests were “misleadingly positive.” His “remedy” was to make the lab work stop after fewer cycles, making the virus harder to detect:
Three weeks after restrictions were loosened, the CDC reinstated 14 days of isolation even with a negative test.
When Jared Kushner read a draft tweet created for President Trump to ask everyone to wear a mask to slow viral spread, Dr. Atlas objected that it wasn’t consistent with the president’s disparagement of masks. It was weakened to read “only if you cannot socially distance.”
Dr. Atlas then wrote several op-eds claiming that masking could be harmful due to contamination and giving a false sense of security:
His anti-mask program enabled the spread of the virus, perfectly in keeping with his desire to get as many people infected quickly as possible.
The subcommittee cited Dr. Atlas’ schemes to promote herd immunity as a major factor in the subsequent rejection of vaccines by many Americans.
While meeting with the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus, multiple former senior officials on the White House Coronavirus Task Force emphasized that Dr. Atlas severely impaired the effectiveness of the pandemic response.
Dr. Birx estimated that 130,000 more lives were lost due to those decisions, which closely mirror what we have seen implemented by the DeSantis Administration in Florida. You can find a link to the full report here:
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:
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.
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.
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, 2022:
Here is the most recent positivity data from the Florida Department of Health. The lag of several days in reporting this statistic does not account for the much lower figure.
According to the CDC as it was 21.57% for the previous week, when the state claimed an 18.4% positivity rate:
According to data which the state reported to the CDC, seven-day positivity rate averages during June 24–30 steadily increased from 22.16% to 23.01%, with an average of 22.61% (+5%).
That means there were about 337,000 cases in Florida during June 24–30, 2022 (+6%):
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.
On June 28, 2022, every Florida county exceeded the 5% threshold, with 3/4 above 20%. Disney’s location (Orange County) had a 26.42% positivity rate:
Forty-eight of the state’s 67 counties experienced an increase in their positivity rates compared to a week earlier. Twenty-three 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 42% of sequenced samples, vs. 6% for BA.2.
In May 2022, the CDC began calculating the percentages of BA.4 (16%) and BA.5 (37%). 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 20–25, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 fell to 5%; BA.2.12.1 declined to 43%; BA.4 rose to 14%; and BA.5 climbed to 39%:
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 well.
The June 29, 2022, update indicates we still have no information about its efficacy against BA.5, which now accounts for 39% of cases in the region which includes Florida:
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 to one aligned with vaccine delivery and switched to a new web page:
Here is the most recent federal allocation of 24,173 Covid-specific treatments to Florida:
- 3,000 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types)
- 6,725 of the oral Paxlovid
- 2,112 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir (Lagevrio)
- 12,336 of the pre-exposure Evusheld
In total, there were enough highly effective treatments for 9,725 Covid patients delivered to the state during the week of June 27th:
As of June 26th, Florida patients had used 46% of the state’s cumulative Paxlovid deliveries; 9% of the Legevrio (Molnupir); 34% of the Bebtelovimab; and 31% of the Evusheld:
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, which accounts for 5% of the SARS-CoV-2 in Florida during the week ending on June 25th.
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 at four times the dosage for BA.2. However, the tixagevimab component is ineffective:
Florida received a monthly allocation of 12,336 doses of Evusheld on June 25th:
Covid Hospitalizations in Florida:
You won’t find any hospitalization information on Florida’s Weekly Surveillance Reports.
Florida stopped reporting Covid hospitalizations on June 4, 2021. However, Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Florida reported a record 13,028 hospitalizations for Covid-19 on August 24, 2021, to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
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 30, 2022, Florida has had 441,391 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 9.0% of all Covid admissions for 6.6% of the US population.
During June 24–30, 2022, there was an average of 648 admissions per day, a total of 4,564. That was an increase of 8% from the previous week (4,195; 604/day).
Nevertheless, that was 71% 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 30, 2022, hospitalization admissions for most adult age groups rose. The amount of change ranged from 0% (ages 50–59) to 13% (18–29). Pediatric admissions increased 6% 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 30th, there were 3.03 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 2.79 the week before:
During August 1, 2020–June 30, 2022, there have been 13,810 pediatric hospital admissions with confirmed Covid in Florida, with 205 of those in the last week:
Dr. Salemi is now publishing the hospitalization rankings for every state and Washington DC for each age group over time.
On June 30th, Florida was the worst in the nation for adult Covid admissions, 2nd worst for adult hospitalizations; 4th worst for adult ICU patients, 3rd worst for pediatric admissions; and 10th for pediatric hospitalizations:
Adult hospitalizations and admissions in Florida have risen steadily over the last eight weeks.
On June 30, 2022, 3,446 adult Covid patients were hospitalized (+5%). The state ranking remained at 2nd worst for the third week in a row.
Florida’s rate of adult admissions has been the worst in the US for the 4th straight week, with 630 adult admissions per day (+7%).
Eleven percent of hospitalized adults needed ICU care, rising by 23% to 365.
Pediatric Covid hospitalizations are 4% higher on June 30th than a week earlier, with 75 children in the hospital.
There were 43 pediatric admissions on that day (-10%). Florida’s pediatric admissions rank remained 3rd worst in the US.
One in 16 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.
On June 29th, Orange County—where Disney is located—had 227 new hospital admissions in the last 7 days (+9%).
Miami-Dade had 619 (-12%); Broward had 445 (-12%); Palm Beach had 318 (+13%); and Hillsborough had 386 (+16%):
This is the percentage of change in hospital admissions by county as of June 29th.
The locations with the largest increases are in the Panhandle and northcentral counties:
HHS tracks Hospital Utilization.
On the morning of July 1, 2022, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full (no change).
Covid patients accounted for 3,789 of them (6.4% of utilized beds, up from 6.1%).
A week earlier, there were 3,618 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 5% more inpatients with Covid:
6.7% percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 414 Covid patients, 27% more than a week earlier (325; 5.5%). This represents 11% of hospitalized Covid patients.
Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, the same as a week ago:
Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on July 1st:
- There were 58 Covid-19 admissions, up from 54 a week before
- 14 Covid patients were in their ICU, up from 12 a week earlier
Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here