Florida Covid Statistics: What Is Really Happening, December 30, 2021

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

You can download a pdf of this here.

Since the pandemic began, 1.2% of all permanent Florida residents at least 65 years old have died due to Covid-19, 9.0% of people in that age group who tested positive. Last week, the number of deaths reported to the state increased by 33%. The state is claiming only 20% of Covid-19 deaths reported for permanent residents of Florida during the past week as “New Deaths” (32 of 162).

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

On the December 30th report, Florida reported 4,166,392 cumulative cases. Of those, 298,455 were reported as new. This week, the state is under-reporting 3,724 cases. There were really 302,179 cases reported last week, a 141% increase from a week ago. Compared to when the omicron variant was first detected, during the week of December 3–10, Florida has experienced an increase in new cases of 2,133%.

Despite Miami-Dade County having the highest percentage of people in the state at least partially vaccinated, there have been 100,000 permanent residents who tested positive over the past seven days (a 90% increase). This is one week after they experienced a 354% rise in cases. Almost 3.7% of Miami-Dade’s population tested positive last week; however, a positivity rate of 35% indicates the percentage of those infected is closer to 25%.

What is especially worrisome is the state’s continued emphasis upon monoclonal antibody treatment. Mutations which have resulted in the omicron variant render ineffective almost all the monoclonal antibodies currently in use. In the region which includes Florida, 98% of cases are now due to that viral strain.

There is only one produced in the US and UK which can attach to circulating omicron particles. Sotrovimab works against the omicron variant at a dosage three times that required to neutralize the delta variant. With the sudden shift in predominating strains, it is likely to be very difficult even for people at the highest risk to access the limited supply of monoclonal antibody treatment for an omicron infection. Even Tampa General Hospital does not have it.

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 139% rise in hospital admissions during December 23rd–30th (886/day). All age groups were more likely to require hospital care, with the largest jump among children.

Fifteen weeks ago, Florida had the highest adult hospitalization rate in the US. Until two weeks ago, Florida had remained the second best for six weeks. By December 31st, Florida rose 184% to 34th with 25.3/100,000. [As of January 4th, the state ranks 7th, with 55.2/100,000]

Pediatric hospitalizations rose 203% in one week. 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 (34th for adults; 19th for children); [Pediatric hospitalizations rose to 6th in the US by January 4th]

Between April 1st and December 30th, 2021—when vaccinations were available to all Floridians over the age of 16—10.6% of all Covid-19 deaths have occurred in Florida, a state with 6.6% of the population.

.

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. Note what the agency is choosing to publicize on Twitter during this crisis:

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 24–30, 2021:

  • New cases = 298,455; Cumulative cases = 4,166,392
  • Positivity rate = 26.5%
  • New deaths = 32; Cumulative deaths = 62,504
  • Vaccination rate = 71%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,529,428
  • Total booster doses: 4,318,875

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The vaccination rate reported by the state rose one percentage point to 71%. 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.

Twenty percent of Floridians have received a booster shot, a dose 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

The Hill: UK Report Suggests Booster Effectiveness Against Symptomatic Omicron Decreases Within Ten Weeks

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 17–23, 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:

This was the situation during December 17–23, 2021:

  • New cases = 125,201; Cumulative cases = 3,864,213
  • Positivity rate = 13.8%
  • New deaths = 28; Cumulative deaths = 62,342
  • Vaccination rate = 71%
  • Fully vaccinated people minus those with booster shots = 8,710,670
  • Total booster doses: 4,080,428

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

December 23, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

.

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 30th New Deaths from the Cumulative Deaths should give us the number of December 23rd Cumulative Deaths. However, doing that reveals 130 deaths which were not included in the December 30th New Deaths. There was a total of 162 deaths reported in Florida during that week. Yet only 20% of deaths (32) are reflected clearly on the December 30th report. This is a 33% increase from last week (122).

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

December 23, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

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. 

Unless someone knows to compare the two data sets from both weeks, that is not apparent. By removing data from December 23rd and adding data from December 30th 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

By comparing the decrease in this week’s deaths to the 7 which occurred during December 20–27th, I calculated that Hillsborough County had 1 or 2 deaths reported to the CDC. Due to the New Year’s holiday, data was unavailable for December 31st –January 2nd. However, the CDC’s case numbers are very close to what is in the state report for the week starting December 24th:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

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, 21,955 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 28,044 permanent residents of the state since that date to December 30th. Despite having only 6.6% of the US population, this represents 10.6% 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 (1017/100,000). That is 9.0% of people in that age group who tested positive. Nationwide, 9.8% 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

Last week, Florida had improved from the deepest shade of blue for the first time since I began downloading this graphic. We still have the highest proportion of Covid deaths among the six largest states: CA (191); TX (257); FL (291); NY (215); PA (287); IL (246).

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

.

Covid Cases in Florida:

On the December 30th report, Florida reported 4,166,392 cumulative cases. Of those, 298,455 were reported as new, a 138% increase from the prior week (125,201). Subtracting the new number from the cumulative one should give us the cumulative number from the prior week: 3,867,937.

However, the December 23rd report shows a cumulative number of 3,864,213. This week, the state is under-reporting 3,724 cases, 1.2% of the total. There were really 302,179 cases reported last week, a 141% increase from a week ago.

Compared to when the omicron variant was first detected, during the week of December 3–10, Florida has experienced an increase in new cases of 2,133%.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

Local10: Florida Nears COVID Record with 26,000+ New Cases in One Day

The Hill: Florida Breaks Another Record for COVID-19 Cases

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 seven days before January 4th. Case numbers are close to the state report, reflecting the delay due to the New Year’s holiday

  • 100,000 cases despite 85% of the eligible population being fully vaccinated. Two weeks before, there were about 11,500 cases. This is an increase of 870%.
  • Almost 3.7% of the population tested positive during that week
  • A 35% positivity rate, meaning the actual number of cases is likely 7 times higher. This is 10% greater than the positivity rate from last week
  • 124% more hospitalizations than a week ago, when the rate had risen by 134%.
  • Eighteen people died, 31% fewer than a week ago.

CDC: Integrated County View, Miami-Dade 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 24–30, 20,674 children under twelve tested positive in Florida, an increase of 146% over the previous week (8,389). Among those 12–19, 26,740 tested positive, 129% more than the prior week (11,677). In total, 47,414 Florida residents under the age of twenty tested positive, an increase of 136% from the previous week (20,066).

The CDC recommended vaccination for children aged 5–11 on November 2nd. Until three weeks ago, they had the highest positivity rate in Florida. That has shifted to adolescents and adults under 50. Booster shots are approved for anyone at least 16 years old who had a second shot of an mRNA vaccine over five months ago or got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago.

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

December 23, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

In the Hillsborough County School District, as of December 17th there have been 12,279 cases during this school year. The 215 cases reported during December 10–17 constitute a 117% increase from the prior week (99). Forty-two cases were added on the last day of the semester, December 17th. This school year began on August 10th, and the district instituted a mandatory mask mandate on August 18th. They ended it on October 15th. Florida law now leaves the decision about quarantining after a close contact at school to the child’s parents.

HCSD: Covid FrequentlyAsked Questions

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

Hillsborough County Public Schools Covid Dashboard

Here are a few of the FL Dept of Health county positivity rates. Hillsborough County’s rose from 10.8% to 26.0%. The state average rose 92% in one week, from 13.8% to 26.5%. That means there are likely four unreported cases for each positive test. We cannot tell from the state report that the number of cases in Hillsborough County rose 193% in the past week (from 5,133):

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 the date reflects the beginning of the week. It indicates that Hillsborough County’s cases almost tripled from 340/100,000 people to 996/100,000 during December 24–30, 2021. 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 193% increase in Hillsborough County cases this week is evident here:

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The CDC notes 15,244 new cases in Hillsborough County in the week prior to January 4th. Due to the New Year’s holiday, this is very close to the state’s report for December 24–30 (15,027):

That represents an increase of 196%, with a high level of transmission:

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

What is especially worrisome is the state’s continued emphasis upon monoclonal antibody treatment. Mutations which have resulted in the omicron variant render ineffective almost all the monoclonal antibodies currently in use. In the region which includes Florida, 98% of cases are now due to that viral strain.

There is only one produced in the US and UK which can attach to circulating omicron particles. Sotrovimab, known commercially as Xevudy, works against the omicron variant at a dosage three times that required to neutralize the delta variant. With the sudden shift in predominating strains, it is likely to be very difficult even for people at the highest risk to access the limited supply of monoclonal antibody treatment for an omicron infection. Even Tampa General Hospital does not have it:

Florida Covid-19 Response

The Hill: DeSantis Calls for States to Be Allowed to Buy Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

Covid-19: The Omicron Variant

Tampa General: Treatment Options for Omicron Variant

.

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

Fifteen weeks ago, Florida had the highest adult hospitalization rate in the US. Until two weeks ago, Florida had remained the second best (ending at 8.9/100,000) for six weeks. By December 31st, Florida rose 184% to 34th with 25.3/100,000 [As of January 4th, the state ranks seventh, with 55.2/100,000]:

Florida’s pediatric hospitalization rate rose from 28th worst on December 23rd to 19th worst on December 30th (from 0.99 to 2.82/100,000) [6th at 10.8/100,000 on January 4th]:

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 30, 2021, Florida has had 329,174 new admissions for Covid patients. This represents 8.9% of all Covid admissions in the US for 6.6% of the US population:

For December 24th–30th, there was an average of 886 admissions per day. This is an increase of 139% from the previous week (370) and a decrease of 46% from the peak during August 11–17, when there were 10.42 admissions/100,000 Floridians. The number of admissions increased as the week progressed, with 153% more admissions on December 30th than on December 24th.

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

Hospitalizations increased for every adult age group ranging from 79% for ages 18–29 to 170% for the people over 70. A week ago, individuals aged 30–59 were less likely to be hospitalized than those in the 18–29 age bracket. Among adults in Florida, people aged 18–29 are the least likely to be vaccinated, although they were the adult demographic most likely to get vaccinated last week. Apparently, the news about omicron’s severity has spread. Pediatric hospitalizations rose 203%.

On December 30th, there were 4.13 new admissions/100,000 Floridians; 1.74 the week before:

AgeAdmissions% Change
0–170.97203
18–293.0679
30–393.39110
40–492.9690
50–594.08146
60–695.10145
70+9.35170
all ages4.13137

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

December 23, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

Salemi USF: COVID-19 in Florida

The number of adults in the hospital was steadily dropping until four weeks ago. On December 31st, the number of adult admissions has risen by 358% to 4,431 [5,169 on January 3rd; 1,259 per day]. One-eighth of hospitalized adults are in the ICU (12%, a 7% drop from a week ago).

Pediatric admissions are 85% higher than last week, with 120 children in Florida hospitals. There were 44 pediatric admissions/day [124 in hospital with 58 admissions/day on January 3rd].

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

HHS tracks Hospital Utilization. On December 31, 2021, 78% of hospital beds in Florida were full, up 3% from last week. Covid patients accounted for 4,933 of them (9% of utilized beds, up by 5%). Last week, there were 2,191 hospitalized Covid patients, making this an increase of 125%. [On January 3rd, there were 6,913; 13% of beds]:

Nine percent of ICU beds in use in Florida were occupied by 531 Covid patients, 43% more than the previous week (371). A week before, five percent of ICU beds were used by Covid patients. [On January 3rd, there were 766, 12% of ICU beds]:

HHS: Inpatient Bed Utilization by State

December 23, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

Many hospitals are publishing their own occupancy statistics. For example, Tampa General Hospital released this on December 24th:

  • There were 73 Covid-19 admissions, up from 29 a week before [141 on January 4th]
  • Eleven Covid patients were in their ICU, up from 9 a week before [22 on January 4th]

Tampa General: Hospital Bed Availability for COVID-19 Patients

December 23, 2021 Florida Statistics: What Is Really Happening?

Archived posts on Florida Covid statistics are available here

Florida Covid Statistics: What is Really Happening?