Florida Covid Statistics: What Is Really Happening, March 31, 2022

To download a pdf of this post, click here.

With cases rising sharply in Miami-Dade County (47%), anyone 50+ is eligible for a second booster shot. I strongly recommend getting one now, especially if you have not had omicron.

Mixing types will give you the best protection (eg. if you had 3 Moderna, get a Pfizer).

CDC: Community Transmission in Florida

CDC: Integrated County View, Miami-Dade FL

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

We have tended to follow the UK’s trends by about three weeks. In England during March 19–26, 1 in 13 residents had Covid.

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

UK Office for National Statistics: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 1 April 2022

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

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Dr. Jason Salemi from the University of South Florida is compiling data from the CDC. Even he does not have direct access to the Florida data. Covid cases and the positivity rate continued to increase this week after dropping to their lowest levels two weeks ago:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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.

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

I heartily disagree with this official announcement made from the Florida Department of Health retweeting their spokesman’s personal Twitter account on March 11th. We need more information, not less.

Unfortunately, the tactic works: even Floridians tend to express shock when I tell them about the most recent statistics.

Florida Covid-19 Response

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:

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

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

Beginning in June 2021, Florida removed all archived Covid data from their web site. Until today, they replaced the statistics from the previous week with a new report.

Now that will occur every two weeks. That makes it even 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 March 3–9, 2022.

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

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FL Covid Deaths:

  • As of March 31, 2022, FL has had 73,290 Covid deaths among permanent residents.
  • 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 8% to 263.
  • The state is claiming only 13% of them as “New Deaths” (35)
  • Miami-Dade County alone had 35 deaths reported to the CDC.
  • During June 2021–March 2022, Florida has reported only 7,096 of the 38,089 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (19%).
  • Hillsborough County had 18 deaths, a 33% weekly decrease.
  • 3,500 permanent Florida residents died from Covid in March 2022.
  • I cannot determine the percentage of deaths reported in Florida 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.
  • 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:

  • There is no new data on the number of vaccinations this week.
  • Florida claimed a 74% vaccination rate. This includes “vaccine tourists.”
  • 61% of permanent Florida residents have at least completed a vaccine series.
  • At most, 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 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.
  • The risk of cardiac inflammation due to Covid is 540% higher for boys aged 5–11. No girls developed symptoms after vaccination.
  • The FL Dept of Heath website claims the FDA recommends vaccination for those 12+, not 5+.
  • As of 3-24-22, only 23% of those aged 5–11were vaccinated; 60% of adolescents were.
  • On 3-25-22, reporters revealed over 600,000 snowbirds are counted in state vaccination statistics while omitting cases and deaths among them from Florida’s reports.

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Florida Covid Testing and Prevention:

  • Due to at-home testing, the number of cases is likely to be under-reported.
  • The CDC advises notifying your doctor of positive at-home tests.
  • 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.
  • On 3-31-22, a UF faculty committee revealed discrepancies in the surgeon general’s hiring as a tenured professor.

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Florida Covid 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.
  • Covid cases and the positivity rate continued to increase after dropping to their lowest levels since June 20202 two weeks ago.
  • The CDC reported 10,137 confirmed cases. This is a 16% increase since last week.
  • Combining new CDC and old Florida data gives us 5,851,606 cumulative Covid cases. 
  • In 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%).
  • 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.
  • Hillsborough County had a 12% drop in cases to 533.
  • The omicron wave began in Miami-Dade County, with the rest of the state lagging a few weeks behind. That makes the 47% weekly increase in cases particularly alarming.
  • 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.
  • Statewide, the positivity rate rose by 48% to 3.4%.
  • The positivity rate almost doubled in Miami-Dade County.
  • We do not have information on the number of cases in children this week. A week earlier, cases among school-aged children rose 17%.
  • Reported cases in the Hillsborough County School District fell to 31 from 32 the previous 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 19–26, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 22% to 39% in the region which includes Florida.
  • On 3-30-22, the FDA revoked the Emergency Use Authorization for Sotrovimab in states where BA.2 predominates. That does not include Florida.
  • 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 11,149 Covid-specific treatments to Florida: 945 post-exposure Bebtelovimab (for all omicron types); 1,092 post-exposure Sotrovimab for omicron variants except for BA.2; 6,520 of the oral Paxlovid; 2,592 of the less-effective oral Molnupiravir.
  • In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 8,557 Covid patients being delivered to the state.
  • On 1-8-21, the FDA issued an Evusheld EUA for those with severe immunosuppression.
  • On 2-25-22, the dosage doubled due to BA.2. Prior recipients need an additional shot.
  • 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.

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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 24th from 26th in rank among states for adults, with a 12% drop in hospitalizations.
  • For August 1, 2020– March 31, 2022, 8.9% of all US Covid hospitalizations were in FL (6.6% of US population). That includes 410,533 people.
  • For March 25–31, 2022, there were 105 admissions/day (735), 14% less in a week.
  • On March 31st, there were 0.49 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.57 the week before.
  • Hospitalizations declined for every adult age group, ranging from 5% for ages for those 70+ to 33% for ages 30–39.
  • Compared to delta, omicron admissions are higher for younger than 30 and older than 69.
  • Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rank rose sharply from 31st to 20th with a 35% increase.
  • Fewer adults in hospital with Covid on March 31st (743),compared to Dec 3rd (968), 14% fewer in the last week.
  • Percentage of people in the hospital who required care in the ICU remained at 17%.
  • 23 children were in Florida hospitals, a rise of 21%; pediatric admissions rose by 3% to 29/day.
  • Children had experienced a 203% rise during the last week of December.
  • After one week below the number on Dec 3rd (20), pediatric hospitalizations have again exceeded that number (23).
  • One in 4 admissions were for children, up from one in 5 a week ago.
  • On 4-1-22, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full; 2% used by Covid patients.
  • Covid patients accounted for 1,075of them, 7% fewer patients than a week earlier.
  • 2% of ICU beds were used by 118 Covid patients, 16% fewer than the previous week.
  • Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, the same as last week.
  • 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 have switched to that schedule in the last week. 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?

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.

On March 11th, my computer was able to download the official Florida Covid report for the first time since October 2021:

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. Currently, the only Covid information available from the state is in the March 18–24, 2022 report.

Florida Covid-19 Response

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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On March 31, 2022, a University of Florida faculty committee released a report charging that the university violated its own practices when hiring Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general to a tenured position.

Required faculty input regarding his application was due on September 17, 2021. However, Dr. Ladapo was informed he had the appointment on September 16th.

After receiving the letter with an October 1,2021 start date, Dr. Ladapo changed it to September 20th, just prior to the news conference where the governor announced him as our new surgeon general:

In response to a reporter’s questions, Jeremy Redfern, the Florida Department of Health spokesman, sent an email stating, “The time of those at the University of Florida writing 100-page reports regarding hiring practices would be better spent working on important issues like research and curing cancer.”

Tampa Bay Times: Joseph Ladapo Hiring Violated UF Procedures, Faculty Report Says: Some Faculty Felt Ladapo, Florida’s Surgeon General, Was the Subject of “Preferential Treatment on the Basis of His Political Opinions”

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Here is some of the data from March 25–31, 2022 which the state submitted to the CDC. Estimated numbers are derived from adding the new CDC information to the March 24th report:

  • New cases = 10,137; Estimated cumulative cases = 5,841,538
  • Positivity rate = 3.4%
  • New deaths = 263; Cumulative deaths = 73,290
  • Vaccination rate = 60%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,668,671
  • Total booster doses: 5,608,772

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

This data from March 18–24, 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:

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

Florida Covid-19 Response

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 heavily upon Covid hospital admissions and utilization and, to a lesser extent, upon 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 31, 2022. Every county in Florida is currently low:

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

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:

On March 25, 2022, USA Today reported that over 600,000 snowbirds have been included in Florida’s official vaccination tally. That happened in over 100 zip codes. Many “vaccine tourists” were in Miami-Dade County. For cases and deaths in the state, Florida counts only permanent residents.

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

New data is unavailable for this week:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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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.

Among 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

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

On January 19th, the Florida Department of Health placed the epidemiologist who led Orange County’s pandemic response on administrative leave. The state considered charging him with a criminal offense for sending an email chiding the county’s public health employees for their 40% vaccination rate. That suspension ended on March 22, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Twitter: DeSantis Pushes Infertility Conspiracy

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

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On March 7, 2022, a discussion panel moderated by Governor DeSantis recommended against Covid vaccination for healthy children due to the risk of adolescent males developing myocarditis. The state surgeon general noted that Florida is the only state to make such a declaration.

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

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

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

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

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

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:

Circulation: Myocarditis with COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

MMWR: Cardiac Complications After SARS-CoV-2 Infection and mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination—PCORnet, United States, January 2021–January 2022

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

Forty-two had died, and many of the survivors have subsequently developed serious health conditions, like diabetes. While children are at lower risk than adults, throughout the US, Covid is one of the top ten causes of death in those aged 5–11.

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

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

After narrowing in early February, by the end of that month, 89% of Covid hospitalizations occurred in unvaccinated children aged 5–11:

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. For the week ending on February 26th, 59% of Covid hospitalizations were among unvaccinated teens:

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

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–March 2022, Florida has reported only 7,096 of the 38,089 Covid deaths among permanent residents as “New Deaths” (19%). Exactly 3,500 Covid deaths were reported in March 2022 within the state:

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?

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

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

On June 4th, the state removed all data from anyone who has not established permanent residency and stopped reporting information from visitors, seasonal residents, and migrant workers. This deleted 744 deaths. I can no longer access this file, as my browser deems it a security risk:

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

As of March 31st, Florida has not issued a report showing deaths in the state since March 24, 2022.

Florida Covid-19 Response

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

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

Current CDC data reported by Florida shows 35 New Deaths on March 31st. That includes only people who died during March 25–31, 2022 and their death reports were received by the state in that same week:

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

However, during March 25th–31st, Hillsborough County alone had 18 deaths reported to the CDC, an increase of 33% from the prior week (24):

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

Miami-Dade County reported 35 deaths, down from 43 a week earlier:

CDC: Integrated County View, Miami-Dade FL

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As of March 24, 2022, Florida reported 73,027 Cumulative Deaths in the state:

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

According to CDC data, there had been 73,290 Covid deaths in Florida by March 31, 2022. Therefore, for March 25–31, 2022, there were 263 Covid deaths reported in Florida, an 8% decrease compared to the previous week (287).

As noted above, Florida reported 35 of them as “New Deaths” to the CDC (13%).

Florida residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1, 2021. SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 39,124 permanent residents of the state since that date to March 31, 2022. Over half the 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, 7.7% of senior citizens who have tested positive have died. The percentage of Florida’s senior citizens who have died is unavailable, as is the death rate for Florida seniors who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2:

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

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On December 23, 2021, Florida improved from the deepest shade of blue for the first time since I began downloading this graphic.

If you go to the CDC’s site and click on Florida, you will see on the April 2nd update that only 26 deaths are reported for the last 7 days, despite 263 when comparing the state report during March 18–24, 2022 and CDC cumulative deaths for March 31, 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 (223); TX (296); FL (341); NY (245); PA (346); IL (297):

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

Dec 23, 2021 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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Covid Cases in Florida:

With the rise in at-home testing, since the omicron wave began, it is important to know that official confirmed cases are likely to be significantly undercounted.

For the week ending on March 31, 2022, the CDC reported 10,137 confirmed Covid cases. This is a 16% increase since last week (8,774):

CDC: Integrated County View Florida

On March 24th official report, Florida reported 5,841,469 cumulative Covid cases among permanent residents. Comparing these two data sets, gives us an estimate of 5,851,606 cumulative cases:

March 24, 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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During March 25–31, there were 533 confirmed cases reported in Hillsborough County, a 12% decrease:

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

The omicron wave began in Miami-Dade County, with the rest of the state lagging a few weeks behind. That makes the 47% weekly increase in cases particularly alarming:

CDC: Integrated County View, Miami-Dade FL

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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”

As of last week, we had reached that goal on a state-wide level. However, that data is unavailable for this week from the state:

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The CDC notes a positivity rate of 3.4%, a 48% increase from the previous week:

CDC COVID-19 Community Profile Report

At the county level, we can use Dr. Salemi‘s county-level positivity rates from March 18–24 as our baseline. He does not have access to that information for March 25–31, 2022:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

His data conflicts with the CDC changes, showing Hillsborough’s positivity rate a week ago as 3.0 and Miami-Dade’s as 1.7%.

Per the CDC, Hillsborough County’s positivity rate rose slightly to 2.09%:

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

Miami-Dade’s positivity rate increased dramatically to 4.3%:

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We do not have information regarding the number of children who tested positive during March 25–31, 2022. A week earlier, the number of cases among school-aged children rose by 17%.

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

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 31, 2022, there had been 28,121 cases during this school year. There were 31 cases reported during March 25–31, 2022, one less than during the previous week (32):

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?

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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A newer subvariant called BA.2 was first detected in the US on January 15th. As of March 26th, it has become the dominant variant in the US:

In this map, purple represents the original omicron variant while pink shows the amount of omicron BA.2.

During March 19–26, 2022, the percentage of BA.2 increased from 22% to 39% in the region which includes Florida:

Sotrovimab is 27 times less effective against BA.2 than for BA.1. Therefore, on March 30, 2022, the FDA amended the Emergency Use Authorization to revoke the use of Sotrovimab in states where the BA.2 sub variant predominates. That does not include Florida.

CDC: Variant Proportions

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

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

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

FDA: Update [3/30/2022] FDA Limits Use of Sotrovimab to Treat COVID-19 in Additional U.S. Regions Due to the BA.2 Omicron Sub-variant

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 11,149 Covid-specific treatments to Florida:

In total, there are enough highly effective treatments for 8,557 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:

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

CDC: Self Testing at Home or Anywhere

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?

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Last fall, Florida had the highest adult hospitalization rate in the US. In the past week, Florida rose to 24th from 26th in rank among states (from 4.8/100,000 to 4.2/100,000, a 12% decline):

Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rank rose sharply from 31st to 20th with a 35% increase (from 0.40/100,000 to 0.54/100,000):

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Currently Hospitalized in Florida

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

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For August 1, 2020–March 31, 2022, Florida has had 410,533 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 25–31, 2022, there was an average of 105 admissions per day, a total of 735.

Overall, there was a decrease of 14% from the previous week (854; 122/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 31, 2022, hospitalizations had declined for every adult age group compared to March 24th, ranging from 5% for ages for those 70+ to 33% for ages 30–39.

Ten 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 rose by 5%, in contrast to a 27% decline the week before. Children had also 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 31st, there were 0.49 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.57 the week before:

AgeAdmissions% Change
0–170.185
18–290.18-18
30–390.25-33
40–490.22-24
50–590.36-20
60–690.80-26
70+1.51-5
all ages0.49-14

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

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

After seven weeks of increases, the number of adults in the hospital started to decline ten weeks ago.

On March 31st, that number had fallen another 14% to 743. That is even lower than it had been when the omicron wave began (968 on December 3rd).

New adult admissions have dropped by 15% to 100/day during the past week. The proportion of adults needing care in the ICU remained at 17%.

Pediatric hospitalizations are 21% higher than a week ago, with 23 children in Florida hospitals on March 31, 2022.

There were 29 pediatric admissions/day, 3% more than as a week ago and once again more than on December 3rd (20).

One in 4 admissions are for children, up from one in 5 on March 24th:

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

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

HHS tracks Hospital Utilization. On the morning of April 1, 2022, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full, the same as last week. Covid patients accounted for 1,075 of them (2% of utilized beds, also the same as last week).

A week earlier, there were 1,155 hospitalized Covid patients, so there were 7% fewer inpatients with Covid:

Two percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were used by 118 Covid patients, 16% fewer than the previous week (140).

Last week, 3% of ICU beds were used by Covid patients. Overall, 74% of ICU beds are occupied in the state, just like a week earlier:

HHS: Inpatient Bed Utilization by State

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on April 1st:

  • There were 17 Covid-19 admissions, down from 23 a week before
  • Four Covid patients were in their ICU, up from 6 a week earlier

Tampa General: Hospital Bed Availability for COVID-19 Patients

March 24, 2022 Florida Covid Stats: What Is Really Happening?

Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?