Florida Covid Statistics: What Is Really Happening, March 24, 2022

The omicron surge in Florida began in Miami-Dade County. While deaths declined, cases rose 22% over last week, most likely due to omicron BA.2. This was the first increase since January 7th.

CDC: Integrated County View, Miami-Dade FL

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

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To download a pdf of this post, click here.

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

On March 11, 2022, the Department of Health retweeted their spokesman’s personal Twitter account to announce they would be releasing Covid statistics only once every two weeks:

We need more information, not less. Unfortunately, the tactic works: even Floridians tend to express shock when I tell them about the most recent statistics.

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

Once every two weeks, they replace the statistics from the previous week with a new report. That makes it difficult for anyone who has not saved the old data to see the actual numbers of cases and deaths. No hospitalization data is included.

On the Florida Department of Health web site, you can locate influenza records from 2001 but not Covid data from February 17, 2022.

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

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

Even 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:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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

March 11th was the first time since October that my computer would download the official Florida Covid report. While it’s no longer banned as a security risk, it’s still on an unsecure connection. The overall Covid response site has a secure one.

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FL Covid Deaths:

  • As of March 24, 2022, FL has claimed 73,027 cumulative Covid deaths.
  • On June 4, 2021, the state removed 744 deaths among non-permanent residents and stopped reporting them.
  • Weekly deaths among permanent residents reported by FL decreased by 76% to 287.
  • The state is claiming only 16% of them as “New Deaths” (45)
  • During June 2021–February 2022, Florida has reported only 6,760 of the 34,589 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (20%).
  • Hillsborough County had 27 deaths, a 57% weekly decrease from 63.
  • 78% percent of deaths reported in Florida in the past two weeks were among senior citizens.
  • FL has 9.3% of US deaths when vaccinations were available to all over 15 (6.6% US population).
  • Since July 1, 2020, 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.
  • 78% percent of deaths reported in Florida last week were among senior citizens.
  • CA has 70% more people than Florida, yet almost the same number of excess deaths.
  • Among the 6 largest states, the Florida death rate is below only Pennsylvania’s.
  • FL does not report Covid deaths stratified by vaccination status.

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FL Covid Vaccinations:

  • Florida claims a 74% vaccination rate.
  • 61% of permanent Florida residents have at least completed a vaccine series.
  • 23% have booster shots, an important precaution against the omicron variant.
  • Boosters prevented 88% of omicron hospitalizations among people aged 18–49; 76% for ages 50–64; and 85% for senior citizens.
  • 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 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. Florida is the only state to make such a declaration.
  • The FL Dept of Heath website claims the FDA recommends vaccination for those 12+, not 5+.
  • Only 23% of those aged 5–11 are vaccinated; 60% of adolescents are.

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Florida Covid Testing and Prevention:

  • 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.
  • With a positivity rate below 5%, testing is now adequate to capture mild and asymptomatic cases. It is currently 3.3%.
  • 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

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Florida Covid Cases:

  • Florida reported 5,841,469 cumulative Covid cases. 
  • 8,774 were new, an increase of 9%. This is the first rise in cases since January 7th.
  • On the 3-17-22 report, I compared CDC data to the previous week’s state data to estimate 8,035 cases. That turned out to an underestimate of only 14 cases (0.2%).
  • Hillsborough County had a 7% rise in case to 607.
  • On June 4th, the state removed all data from anyone who is not a permanent resident and stopped reporting it. This deleted 43,535 cases.
  • A 2.3% new case positivity rate means there is enough testing to capture mild and asymptomatic cases. This was a 22% increase compared to last week.
  • Public health officials recommend maintaining a positivity rate <5% for 2 weeks before reopening. We have now met that goal on a state-wide level.
  • At the county level, positivity rates range from 0%–5.3%.
  • 1,159 Florida adolescents tested positive, an increase of 17% from last week.
  • Reported cases in the Hillsborough County School District fell to 16 over two days last week.
  • Florida law prohibits requiring masks in non-medical settings.
  • Parents decide about quarantining after a close contact at school.
  • On 1-31-22, FL shifted its focus to “high congregate settings,” not schools and day cares.
  • During the week leading up to that announcement 38,629 school-aged children in Florida had tested positive.
  • On 1-31-22, FL students absent due to Covid exposure are truant per Orange County

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Florida Covid Treatment:

  • Omicron mutations render ineffective almost all monoclonal antibodies previously in use.
  • 100% of FL cases are due to that viral strain.
  • For the week ending January 8th, 97% of sequenced cases in the region which includes Florida were omicron.
  • Sotrovimab works against the omicron BA.1 variant at a dosage 3x more than for delta. It is 27 times less effective for omicron BA.2.
  • 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 March 13–19, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 12.4% to 21.5% in the region.
  •  A new monoclonal antibody called bebtelovimab is effective against omicron BA.2 and other omicron variants. It began shipping to Florida during February 14–20.
  • Here is the most recent federal allocation of 12,795 Covid-specific treatments to Florida: 1,695 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types); 1,944 post-exposure Sotrovimab for omicron variants except for BA.2; 6,540 of the oral Paxlovid; 2,616 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir; and none of the Covid pre-exposure 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.
  • 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.
  • During Mar 7–13, 2022, the federal government is sending enough highly effective doses to treat 19,100 Floridians. None has shipped to anywhere in the nation since then.

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Florida Covid Hospitalizations:

  • You won’t find any hospitalization info on Florida’s Weekly Reports since 6-24-21.
  • Florida must relay all hospitalization data to the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
  • Florida rose to 26th in rank among states for adults, with a 29% drop in hospitalizations.
  • For August 1, 2020– March 24, 2022, 8.9% of all US Covid hospitalizations were in FL (6.6% of US population). That includes 409,791 people.
  • For March 17–24, 2022, there were 132 admissions/day (1,294), 13% less in a week.
  • On March 24th, there were 0.49 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.66 the week before.
  • Hospitalizations declined for every age group, ranging from 8% for ages 18–29 and 40–49 to 33% for ages 60–69.   
  • Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
  • Last week, pediatric admissions declined by 27%.
  • The rank of pediatric hospitalizations fell from 21st to 31st, with a 38% decline.
  • Fewer adults in hospital with Covid on March 25th (847),compared to Dec 3rd (968).
  • Percentage of people in the hospital who required care in the ICU fell slightly to 17%.
  • 19 children were in Florida hospitals, a drop of 24%; pediatric admissions fell 47% to 16/day.
  • Children had experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December.
  • 1 less pediatric hospitalization (19) than on Dec 3rd (20).
  • One in 8 admissions were for children, down from one in 6 a week ago.
  • On 3-24-22, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 2% used by Covid patients.
  • Covid patients accounted for 1,155 of them, 22% fewer patients than a week earlier.
  • 3% of ICU beds were used by 140 Covid patients, 30% fewer than the previous week.
  • Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, up from 73%.
  • 1/3 are admitted for Covid diagnosis; 1/3 for Covid worsening an underlying condition; and one-third for reasons unrelated to their viral infection.

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

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

During October 14, 2021–March 4, 2022, I made many attempts to access the FL Dept of Health Weekly Report. However, my browser would not download it due to a potential security risk:

It is still unsecure, while the main Florida Covid Response site has a secure connection:

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

On October 18th, I followed the Dept of Health’s recommendation to contact their COVID Data Analytics section, then went outside. When I returned, I had to do a major recovery process following an unauthorized attempt to access my hard drive.

I still have not received a response from the FL COVID Data Analytics group. Even the main site for the Florida Dept of Health appears on an unsecure connection: www.floridahealth.gov.

Meanwhile faculty at the University of Florida charge that they have felt external pressure from the highest levels of state government to delete data related to their Covid research.

They also encountered “barriers to accessing and analyzing” data and “barriers to publication of scientific research which inhibited the ability of faculty to contribute scientific findings during a world-wide pandemic.”

On January 21, 2022, a federal judge sided with the plaintiffs in a 74-page ruling. He asserted the University of Florida was “willing to suffer threats to its accreditation, congressional inquiries, unrelenting bad press, an all-but-certain hit to its rankings, and the substantial monetary cost of hiring an experienced D.C. firm to defend its policy. The only thing UF will not do, it seems, is amend its policy to make clear that it will never consider viewpoint in denying a request to testify.” As in The Emperor’s New Clothes, the emperor’s lords, “fearing the loss of their jobs and the Emperor’s good grace, enabled the charade by praising the Emperor’s fine suit.”

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

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

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For the first time in five months, I’m able to access the pdf for the weekly summary via the Florida Dept of Health site:

Florida Covid-19 Response

Here is some of the data from March 18–24, 2022:

  • New cases = 8,774; Cumulative cases = 5,841,469
  • Positivity rate = 2.3%
  • New deaths = 45; Cumulative deaths = 73,027
  • Vaccination rate = 74%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,216,308
  • Total booster doses: 5,108,601

This data from March 10–17, 2022 comes from either the new state report on previous weeks or from the CDC as noted in my report from last week:

  • New cases = 8.049; Cumulative cases = unavailable
  • Positivity rate = 2.3%
  • New deaths = 880; Cumulative deaths = 71,860
  • Vaccination rate = unavailable
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = unavailable
  • Total booster doses: unavailable

Florida Covid-19 Response

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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

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On February 25, 2022, the CDC updated their masking guidelines based upon a combination of Covid hospital admissions and utilization as well as the number of new cases in a county. 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 March 24, 2022. Counties near Tallahassee are at medium risk; the rest of the state is low risk:

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.

CDC: COVID-19 Community Levels

MedPage: The Case Number That Will Make the Unsafe Safe, Revealed—CDC’s New Mask guidelines Don’t Keep the Immunocompromised Safe, Says Jeremy Faust, MD

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On March 2, 2022, Governor DeSantis visited Hillsborough County. As he approached a group of masked high school students, he said, “You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”

He then used that outburst to raise campaign funds.

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

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

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

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

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

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Florida Covid Vaccinations:

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, 23% of permanent Florida residents have received a booster shot. We cannot tell how many of the additional doses went to immunocompromised people who had already been boosted.:

Florida Covid-19 Response

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Receiving a booster shot is considered extremely important for providing protection against the omicron variant. Since I created this chart, researchers have discovered that booster efficacy begins to wane at ten weeks:

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

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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

For all adults in the US, the CDC has added people who received booster shots as a separate category.

For those 18–49 years old during February 20–26, 2022, unvaccinated people were hospitalized at a rate of 8.7/100,000. A primary vaccine course prevented 76% of expected hospitalizations. Adding a booster shot increased the protection to 88%:

Unvaccinated people aged 50–64 were hospitalized at a rate of 16.9/100,000. Those who finished a vaccine series had 66% fewer hospitalizations than expected. A booster dose prevented 76% of hospitalizations.

This is a significant drop in efficacy from a month before, 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 74.9/100,000. Completing a vaccine series reduced the likelihood of needing hospitalization by 65%.

Adding a booster prevented 85% of hospitalizations which would have occurred without vaccination. A month earlier, boosters prevented 94%:

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

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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On January 14, 2022, Governor DeSantis’s office announced it would not enforce the federal government’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The US Supreme Court upheld the requirement for all healthcare facilities which receive federal funds on the 13th.

On January 19th, the Florida Department of Health placed the epidemiologist who led Orange County’s pandemic response on administrative leave. The state considered charging him with a criminal offense for sending an email chiding the county’s public health employees for their 40% vaccination rate. That suspension ended after ten weeks.

A day later, Governor DeSantis promoted a conspiracy theory by asserting that many nurses are avoiding vaccination because “they’re trying to have families.” Numerous studies confirm that vaccination does not cause infertility; in fact, getting Covid can reduce male fertility.

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

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

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

Twitter: DeSantis Pushes Infertility Conspiracy

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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On March 7, 2022, a discussion panel moderated by Governor DeSantis recommended against Covid vaccination for healthy children due to the risk of adolescent males developing myocarditis.

The state surgeon general noted that Florida is the only state to make such a declaration.

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

At least four researchers cited by the state disagreed with how Florida officials used their work.

A pediatrics professor from Vanderbilt University Medical Center who co-authored one of the papers said, “I think there is cherry-picking of sentences to support what (the state) wanted. You don’t just pick one sentence from one paper that agrees with what you think you want to say. That’s not what a health department is supposed to do.”

Each of the studies Florida officials cited recommended Covid vaccination for children as safe and effective. Florida health officials omitted that information in their updated guidelines. The researchers asserted that vaccination remains the best way to protect children from severe Covid.

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

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:

This graphic predates the omicron variant, which is even more severe for children.

Circulation: Myocarditis with COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

Young men are six times as likely to develop myocarditis from a Covid infection than from vaccination, at a rate of 450 per million. Cardiac injury from the virus tends to be more severe than vaccine-induced myocarditis.

MedRxiv: Risk of Myocarditis from COVID-19 Infection in People Under Age 20: A Population-Based Analysis

Circulation: Striking Similarities of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children and a Myocarditis-Like Syndrome in Adults

Since the pandemic began, over 13,000 Florida minors have required hospitalization for Covid in Florida alone. Forty-two had died, and many of the survivors have subsequently developed serious health conditions, like diabetes.

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

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

At the height of the omicron wave, unvaccinated children aged 5–11 in the US were hospitalized at three times the rate of their vaccinated peers. By the end of February, that gap widened to nine times (0.9/100,000 vs 0.1/100,000):

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. By the end of January, there was only a 5% difference. That gap widened to 53% by the end of February:

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

Here are the vaccination rates in Florida for March 24, 2022:

Florida Covid-19 Response

Compare the FDA’s announcement for eligibility in children to what Florida says it is:

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

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

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Covid Deaths in Florida:

During June 2021–February 2022, Florida has reported only 6,760 of the 34,589 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (20%):

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

Despite making national news for the state government’s attempt to cover up the number of deaths, nothing has changed in the Florida Department of Health’s methodology.

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

On June 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 744 deaths. I can no longer access this file, as my browser deems it a security risk:

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

When the state receives a report of a death from an earlier week, that information is added to “Cumulative Deaths” without being noted in “Previous Week Deaths.” It usually takes more than one week for death reports to get sent to the state. 

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

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Last week’s CDC data reported by Florida shows 1 New Death on March 17th, with a daily average of 10 new deaths. That would give us 70 for March 11–17, 2022.

However, using CDC cumulative data, I determined there were 880 deaths reported in Florida that week. To that point, there had been 72,740 Cumulative Deaths in the state.

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

This week, Florida is reporting 73,027 Cumulative Deaths. There were 287 deaths reported in the state last week, a decrease of 76% from the previous week (880). Only 45 of them were counted as New Deaths (16%):

Florida Covid-19 Response

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During March 18th–24th, Hillsborough County had 27 deaths reported to the CDC, a decrease of 57% from the prior week (63):

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021. SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 38,844 permanent residents of the state since that date to March 24, 2022. Over half of the 73,018 Covid deaths in Florida have occurred since then.

Despite having only 6.6% of the US population, this represents 9.3 of all American Covid-19 deaths since everyone at least 16 years old qualified for vaccination:

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

Florida’s Covid death rate ranks third in the US since the delta wave began on July 1, 2021. You can click on the web site map to see the information for each state:

Datawrapper: Covid Death Rates Since Vaccines

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Nationwide, 7.5% 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 (1,200/100,000). That is 7.2% of people in that age group who tested positive.

It was 9.0% on December 30th, indicating that a lot of Florida’s senior citizens have tested positive in the last few months:

March 24, 2022, Florida Report:

March 10, 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 March 11–24, 2022. Over the last two weeks, Florida returned to the expected pattern of increasing percentages of deaths with increasing age:

  • Under 16 = 0               (0.0%)
  •      16–29 = 3               (0.3%)
  •      30–39 = 22             (1.9%)
  •      40–49 = 39             (3.3%)
  •      50–59 = 95             (8.1%)
  •      60–64 = 92             (7.9%)
  •          65+ = 915           (78.4%)

     1,167          100%

Florida does not report deaths by vaccination status, so I cannot determine the percentage of deaths occurring in unvaccinated people, those who received a full series, or boosted individuals.

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

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The CDC recently updated their algorithm for calculating excess deaths in the US to include six years of data, rather than four, due to the pandemic skewing the expected numbers. It accounts for the higher than typical age of Florida’s population.

You can click on each bar on their site to see the data for that week. It takes up to eight weeks for complete reporting:

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

CDC: Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19

Florida has a higher than expected proportion of excess deaths compared to other states. This is the total number of excess deaths throughout the pandemic, not the number per 100,000 people. California has 70% more people than Florida yet the number of excess deaths is nearly the same:

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

Ten weeks ago, Florida improved from the deepest shade of blue for the first time since I began downloading this graphic.

If you go to the CDC’s site and click on Florida, you will see on the March 26th update that only 31 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 287 when comparing the state report during March 18–24, 2022 and CDC cumulative deaths for March 17, 2022. Except for NY, 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 (222); TX (295); FL (339); NY (246); PA (345); IL (296):

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

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Covid Cases in Florida:

A week ago, I compared CDC data to the previous week’s state data to estimate 8,035 cases. That turned out to an underestimate of only 14 cases (0.2%).

On March 24th, Florida reported 5,841,469 cumulative Covid cases. Of those 8,774 were new, an increase of 9%. This is the first rise in the number of cases since January 7, 2022:

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

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

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

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Hillsborough County had a 7% rise in case to 607:

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

Per the state report, we cannot see the increase compared to the previous week:

Florida Covid-19 Response

The omicron surge in Florida began in Miami-Dade County. While deaths declined, cases rose 22% over last week, most likely to omicron BA.2. This was the first increase since January 7th:

CDC: Integrated County View, Miami-Dade FL

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

Dr. Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist from the University of South Florida, posts very helpful county-level case data. However, he does not appear to have access to that information for March 11–17, 2022.

For Miami-Dade County, he shows only a 3% rise compared to two weeks earlier, not the 21% increase from a week ago:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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

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

We have now been below 5% for four weeks at a state-wide level. After dipping to 1.9% during March 11–17, the positivity rate rose by 21%. Until this report was released, that information from a week ago was unavailable:

Florida Covid-19 Response

At the county level, positivity rates ranged from 0.0% to 5.3%. Note that the map on the left reflects data from two weeks earlier than the one on the right:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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To determine the number of children who tested positive during March 11–17, 2022, we can use the data from two weeks ago.

During the week of March 18–24, 2022, 229 children under five tested positive in Florida, a decrease of 11% over the previous week (257). Among those 5–19, 1,159 tested positive, 17% more than the prior week (993).

In total, 1,388 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive, an increase of 14% from the week before (1,220):

Children aged 5+ are eligible for a series of two Pfizer doses. Booster shots are approved for anyone at least 12 years old who had a second shot of an mRNA vaccine over five months ago or got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago. Those aged 12–17 are limited to the Pfizer vaccine.

Florida Covid-19 Response

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

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This school year began on August 10th, and the Hillsborough County School District instituted a mandatory mask mandate on August 18th. They ended it on October 15th.

Florida law prohibits requiring masks in non-medical settings and now leaves the decision about quarantining after a close contact at school to the child’s parents.

HCSD: Covid FrequentlyAsked Questions

A study of schools with more than 1.1 million students and 157,000 staff members determined a 72% drop of in-school Covid transmission occurred with mandatory mask policies instead of optional or partial masking.

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

The Hillsborough County School District published a notice effective January 31, 2022:

“The Florida Department of Health has shifted COVID-19 case investigation focus to: ‘high-congregate settings’ (nursing homes/skilled nursing/assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, group homes) at high risk for secondary transmission or poor health outcomes among their residents as a result of COVID-19 infection. Public schools and daycare settings are not considered congregate settings.”

During the week leading up to that announcement 38,629 school-aged children in Florida had tested positive.

Hillsborough County School District: COVID-19 Student Protocol

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

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

Orange County School District: Unexcused Absences for Covid

In the Hillsborough County School District, as of March 22, 2022, there had been 28,056 cases during this school year. There were 16 cases reported during March 21–22, 2022:

My daughters’ high school has had 144 cases and our middle school has had 146, with none of those in the last six weeks. Our elementary school has had 184, with none occurring in the last five weeks. None had been reported for several weeks before the fall semester ended.

Hillsborough County Public Schools Covid Dashboard

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Covid Therapeutics in FL:

Until January 8th, the state continued to emphasize monoclonal antibody treatment as the focus of the Covid-19 Response web site:

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

In the US, 100% of cases are now due to the omicron strains:

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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

CDC: Variant Proportions

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

CDC: Variant Proportions

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

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

Sotrovimab works against the original omicron variant at a dosage three times that required to neutralize the delta variant and is given in two injections at the same visit.

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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

During the first week of January 2022, hospitals in Florida used 140 of the state’s stockpile of 4,400 Sotrovimab doses, in contrast to over 2,700 doses of the ineffective Regeneron monoclonal antibody.

On January 18th, the state announced the opening of additional monoclonal antibody infusion centers to distribute what remained of the 15,000 additional doses of Regeneron secured on January 7th.

Tampa Bay Times: Omicron Undermines Florida’s Strategy to Combat Coronavirus: Gov. Ron DeSantis Continues to Tout Monoclonal Antibody Therapies, but New Evidence Shows Their Effectiveness Against COVID-19 Is Waning

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

A week later, the FDA revised its Emergency Use Authorizations for the two components of Regeneron, prohibiting their use against the omicron variant. The federal government stopped shipping those monoclonal antibodies.

Why the state continues to emphasize this is mystifying:

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

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

Daniel Dale: DeSantis vs Regeneron and Lilly

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this map, purple represents the original omicron variant while pink shows the amount of omicron BA.2. During March 13–19, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 12.4% to 21.5% in the region which includes Florida:

CDC: Variant Proportions

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

A clinical trial shows that a different monoclonal antibody called Bebtelovimab neutralizes omicron BA.1 and omicron BA.2.

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

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

Here is the most recent federal allocation of 12,795 Covid-specific treatments to Florida:

  • 1,695 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types)
  • 1,944 post-exposure Sotrovimab for omicron variants except for BA.2
  • 6,540 of the oral Paxlovid
  • 2,616 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir.
  • None of the Covid pre-exposure Evusheld is being delivered nationwide

In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 10,179 Covid patients being delivered to the state this week:

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

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

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

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On December 8, 2021, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody developed to protect people over the age of 12 with severe immunosuppression against infection. Due to the scarce supply, people with certain cancers or who have received organ transplants receive the highest priority.

Governor DeSantis announced the new preventative was available on December 17th, when Covid was raging through Miami-Dade County. However, the first shipments went to a small private fee-based clinic in Broward County, not to a major medical center.

People flew from out of state to receive it. A spokesperson for the state claimed the iCare Clinic received priority because it was open on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Jackson Memorial, the hospital in Miami with the most transplant patients in FL, was to receive it four weeks later. Before that time, 11,000 doses had already been shipped to the state.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evusheld appears to remain effective against the omicron BA.2 subvariant. However, due to that subvariant, the FDA amended the EUA on February 24, 2022, to double the dosage of each component of Evusheld.

People who had already received it should contact their physicians about an additional shot. The FDA is now uncertain how long the immunity conferred by Evusheld will last.

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

FDA: FDA Authorizes Revisions to Evusheld Dosing

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

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Florida Covid Testing:

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

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

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

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

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

On February 7th, the Florida Department of Health officially reprimanded two testing companies which failed to report the results of 230,000 Covid tests taken during December and January.­­

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

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Covid Hospitalizations in Florida:

You won’t find any hospitalization information on Florida’s Weekly Surveillance Reports. Florida stopped reporting Covid hospitalizations on June 24, 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last fall, Florida had the highest adult hospitalization rate in the US. Until eleven weeks ago, Florida had remained the second best (ending at 8.9/100,000) for seven weeks.

Last week, Florida rose from 28th to 26th in rank among states (from 6.8/100,000 to 4.8/100,000, a 29% decline):

Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rank fell from 21st to 31st, with a 38% decline (from 0.73/100,000 to 0.45/100,000):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Currently Hospitalized in Florida

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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For August 1, 2020–March 24, 2022, Florida has had 409,791 new hospital admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions in the US for 6.6% of the US population:

For March 17–24, 2022, there was an average of 132 admissions per day, a total of 1,294.

Overall, there was a decrease of 13% from the previous week (1,532; 152/day) and 95% 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 March 24, 2022, hospitalizations had declined for every adult age group compared to March 7th, ranging from 8% for ages for ages 18–29 and 40–49 to 33% for ages 60–69.

Nine weeks earlier, hospitalizations had increased for every adult age group, ranging from 4% for ages 18–29 to 60% for people over 70.

For that same period, pediatric admissions declined by 27%. Children had experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December.

Compared to the delta variant wave we encountered in 2021, omicron admissions have been higher for people younger than 30 and older than 69.

On March 24th, there were 0.49 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.66 the week before:

AgeAdmissions% Change
0–170.08-27
18–290.22-8
30–390.27-31
40–490.33-8
50–590.45-26
60–690.80-33
70+1.59-30
all ages0.49-26


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

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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After seven weeks of increases, the number of adults in the hospital started to decline nine weeks ago. On March 25th, that number had fallen another 21% to 847. That is even lower than it had been when the omicron wave began (968 on December 3rd).

New adult admissions have dropped by 19% to 113/day during the past week. The proportion of adults needing care in the ICU dropped to 17%.

Pediatric hospitalizations are 24% lower than last week, with 19 children in Florida hospitals on March 25, 2022.

There were 16 pediatric admissions/day, 47% fewer than as a week ago and less than on December 3rd (20). One in 8 admissions are for children, down from one in 6 on March 18th:

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

Jan 20, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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HHS tracks Hospital Utilization. On the morning of March 26, 2022, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full, the same as last week. Covid patients accounted for 1,155 of them (2% of utilized beds, down from 3% last week).

A week earlier, there were 1,488 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 22% fewer inpatients with Covid:

Three percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 140 Covid patients, 30% fewer than the previous week (199). Last week, 4% of ICU beds were used by Covid patients.

Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, compared to 73% a week earlier:

HHS: Inpatient Bed Utilization by State

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on March 26th:

  • There were 21 Covid-19 admissions, up from 21 a week before
  • Six Covid patients were in their ICU, up from 5 a week earlier

Tampa General: Hospital Bed Availability for COVID-19 Patients

Mar 17, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What is Really Happening?

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Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?