Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening, December 16, 2021

I have also published delta variant information, a new omicron variant post, and in-depth Covid-19 information.

To download a pdf of this post, click here.

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Since the pandemic began, 1.1% of all permanent Florida residents at least 65 years old have died due to Covid-19. That is in line with national figures.

After a 112% increase during December 2nd–9th, the number of reported deaths has decreased in Florida by 40%. However, the state is claiming only 20% of Covid-19 deaths reported for permanent residents of Florida during the past week as “New Deaths” (39 of 194).

Florida is claiming a 70% vaccination rate. However, 58% of all permanent Florida residents have at least completed a vaccine series. Seventeen percent have received booster shots, a precaution considered critically important for protecting residents against the omicron variant.

This week, the state is reporting 29,568 new cases. A comparison of cumulative cases in the past two weeks reveals there were really 30,295 cases reported in Florida last week, an increase of 124%. That is 172% above two weeks ago. There were 6,846 cases on December 16th alone. Florida’s test positivity rate more than doubled in one week, from 2.6% to 5.4%.

The first cases of the omicron variant were detected at a VA hospital in Tampa and in Miami. On December 2nd, 99% of the samples sequenced in Miami-Dade County were the delta variant. A week later, 80% were omicron. Despite having the highest percentage of people in the state at least partially vaccinated, there has been a 334% increase in cases there over the past seven days.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, 9% of all hospitalizations in the US have been within Florida. After declining for several months, the state had a concerning 23% rise in hospital admissions in the past week (205/day). All age groups were more likely to require hospital care. Changes in the school masking and quarantine policies enacted by the new FL Surgeon General on September 22, 2021, may account for the discrepancy in adult vs. pediatric hospitalization state rankings (49th for adults; 33rd for children).

Between April 1st and December 16th of this year—when vaccinations were available to all Floridians over the age of 16—11.4% of all Covid-19 deaths have occurred in Florida, a state with 6.6% of the population. Since the pandemic began, the state has one of the worst Covid death rates in the nation.

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Florida is the only state in the US which is releasing statistics on a weekly basis. Information available in those reports is far more limited than what the state formerly provided.

Since October 14, 2021, I have made many attempts to access the FL Dept of Health Weekly Report. However, my browser will not download it due to a potential security risk:

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.”

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

I’m now accessing the pdf for the weekly summary via Dr. Jason Salemi’s site:

Here is some of the data from December 10–16, 2021:

  • New cases = 29,568; Cumulative cases = 3,739,348
  • New deaths = 39; Cumulative deaths = 62,220
  • Vaccination rate = 70%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 9,009,683
  • Total booster doses: 3,710,670

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The vaccination rate reported by the state rose one percentage point to 70%. This figure represents only those eligible for vaccination and includes partially vaccinated people. Florida’s population is currently 21,975,117, so 58% 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 Dose Category. Seventeen percent of Floridians have received a booster shot, a dose considered extremely important for providing protection against the omicron variant:

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Note that archived data on influenza statistics is readily available on the FL Dept of Health web site: Florida Influenza Surveillance Reports 2003–2021

This data from December 3–9, 2021, came from Dr. Salemi’s archives. Since October 14th, my browser will not download the FL Dept of Health Weekly Report, citing it as a security risk. Nevertheless, you would not find any archived Covid information on the FL Dept of Health site:

  • New cases = 13,530; Cumulative cases = 3,710,507
  • New deaths = 36; Cumulative deaths = 62,026
  • Vaccination rate = 70%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 9,256,800
  • Total booster doses: 3,337,192

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

December 9, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

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Covid Deaths in Florida:

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

Subtracting the December 16th New Deaths from the Cumulative Deaths should give us the number of December 9th Cumulative Deaths. However, doing that reveals 155 deaths which were not included in the December 16th New Deaths. There was a total of 194 deaths reported in Florida during that week. Yet, only 20% of deaths (39) are reflected clearly on the December 16th report. This is a 40% decrease from last week (325).

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

December 2, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

When the state receives a report of a death from a previous 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. 

Unless someone knows to compare the two data sets from both weeks, that is not apparent. By removing data from December 9th and adding data from December 16th simultaneously, only people who have saved the older data can see what they are doing. It looks like the death rate is 80% better than it is.

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

During December 11–17, 2021, Hillsborough County had 12 deaths reported to the CDC. Last week, we had 3, an increase of 300%:

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

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

Since August 1st, 21,687 permanent residents of Florida have died from Covid-19. All FL residents at least sixteen years old became eligible for vaccination on April 1st. SARS-CoV-2 infections have killed 27,768 permanent residents of the state since that date to December 16th. Despite having only 6.6% of the US population, this represents 11.4% 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

Since the pandemic began, 1.1% of all permanent Florida residents at least 65 years old have died due to Covid-19 (1012/100,000). That is 9.6% of people in that age group who tested positive. Nationwide, 10.0% of senior citizens who have tested positive have died:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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

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. Here is that information for Florida. 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:

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:

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

Florida still has the highest proportion of Covid deaths among the six largest states: CA (189); TX (254); FL (289); NY (208); PA (276); IL (238). The state has one of the worst death rates in the nation:

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

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Covid Cases in Florida:

On the December 16th report, Florida reported 3,739,348 cumulative cases. Of those, 29,568 were reported as new, a 118% increase from the prior week (13,530). Subtracting the new number from the cumulative one should give us the cumulative number from the prior week: 3,709,780.

However, the December 9th report shows a cumulative number of 3,710,507. This week, the state is underreporting 727 cases, 2% of the total. I have no idea why this discrepancy exists. There were really 30,295 cases reported last week, a 124% increase from a week ago.

On December 16th alone, Florida reported 6,846 cases.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

December 9, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

ABC News: Omicron Makes Up 80% of Cases in Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade County was one of the first places in the state to detect the omicron variant. On December 16th, 80% of samples sequenced there were the omicron variant. Only two weeks before, 99% had been the delta variant. Look at what has happened there in the past seven days:

  • Over 11,500 cases despite 85% of the eligible population being fully vaccinated
  • A 12% positivity rate, meaning there are likely 2.4 times the actual number of cases
  • 60% more hospitalizations than a week ago
  • 24% more deaths than a week ago

CDC: Integrated County View, Hillsborough FL

ABC News: Omicron Makes Up 80% of Cases in Miami-Dade

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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.

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

During the week of December 10–16, 2,173 children under twelve tested positive in Florida, an increase of 61% over the previous week (1,347). Among those 12–19, 2,356 tested positive, 145% more than the prior week (960). In total, 4,529 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive, an increase of 96% from the previous week (2,307).

The CDC recommended vaccination for children aged 5–11 on November 2nd. Until last week, they had the highest positivity rate in Florida. That has shifted to young adults (20–39). Booster shots are approved for anyone at least 16 years old who had a second shot of the Pfizer vaccine over six months ago.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

December 9, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

In the Hillsborough County School District, as of December 16th there have been 12,237 cases during this school year. The 173 cases reported during December 10–16 constitute a 75% increase from the prior week (99). This school year began on August 10th, and the district instituted a mandatory mask mandate on August 18th. They ended it on October 15th.

HCSD: Covid FrequentlyAsked Questions

My daughters’ high school has had 70 cases, with none in the past thirteen weeks. During August 28th–September 2nd, the increase from the prior week was 87%. Our elementary school has had 64 cases, one more than last week.

Hillsborough County Public Schools Covid Dashboard

Here are a few of the FL Dept of Health county positivity rates. Hillsborough County rose from 3.0% to 4.3%. The state average more than doubled in one week, from 2.6% to 5.4%. We cannot tell from this that the number of cases in Hillsborough County rose 60% in the past week:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Dr. Jason Salemi, a professor from the University of South Florida, has been compiling data from the state since May 28th. His county-level data are quite helpful. Note that this runs one week late. It indicates that Hillsborough County rose from 56 cases per 100,000 people to 90 during December 3rd–10th. On his site, you can click on the maps for detailed information on each county:

He also lists the data for each week since May 28, 2021, when Florida deleted its daily dashboard. I have excluded some weeks to fit the most recent date into the screenshot. The 60% increase in Hillsborough County cases is evident here:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The CDC notes 1,333 new cases in Hillsborough County in the week prior to December 18th:

That represents an increase of 56%, with a substantial level of transmission:

CDC: COVID-19 Integrated County View, Hillsborough County FL

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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

Thirteen weeks ago, Florida had the highest adult hospitalization rate in the US. Over the past five weeks, Florida has remained the second best (from 6.2 to 6.6/100,000):

Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rate rose from 38th worst on December 13th to 33rd on December 17th (from 0.54 to 0.56/100,000):

Changes in the school masking and quarantine policies enacted by the new FL Surgeon General on September 22, 2021, may account for the discrepancy in adult vs. pediatric hospitalization rankings. This makes it harder for counties to enforce mandatory mask wearing and allows the parents of children exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to determine whether their children should quarantine or return to school.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 Currently Hospitalized in Florida

TBT 9-30-21: Florida’s School Mask, Quarantine Rules Draw More Criticism

For August 1, 2020–December 16, 2021, Florida has had 320,289 new admissions for Covid patients. This represents 9.0% of all Covid admissions in the US for 6.6% of the US population:

You can also find hospitalization statistics on the same CDC COVID Data Tracker, choosing Florida as the Jurisdiction and stratifying by any age:

For December 10–16, there was an average of 205 admissions per day. This is an increase of 23% from the previous week (167) and a decrease of 90% from the peak during August 11–17, when there were 10.42 admissions/100,000 Floridians. Hospitalizations increased for every age group.

On December 16th, there were 0.96 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 0.78 the week before:

AgeAdmissions
0–170.17
18–290.45
30–390.70
40–490.75
50–59   1.11
60–691.45
70+2.12
all ages0.96
  
  


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

December 9, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

The number of people in the hospital was steadily dropping until three weeks ago. Since then, the number of adult admissions has risen by 19%. Pediatric admissions are 33% higher than last week. One-fourth of hospitalized adults are in the ICU (23%):

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

HHS tracks Hospital Utilization. On December 18, 2021, 79% of hospital beds in Florida were full, down 1% from last week. Covid patients accounted for 3% of utilized beds. Last week, there were 1,393 hospitalized Covid patients, making this an increase of 7%. Six weeks ago, hospitalizations dropped 35%.

Five percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were occupied by 281 Covid patients, 15% more than the previous week (245):

HHS: Inpatient Bed Utilization by State

December 9, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on December 18th:

  • There were 19 Covid-19 admissions, up from 14 a week before
  • Seven Covid patients were in their ICU, four less than a week before (11)

Tampa General : Hospital Bed Availability for COVID-19 Patients

Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here:

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?