COVID-19 in Florida: Down, Down, Down…

by | Aug 2, 2020

New daily coronavirus cases in Florida dipped to the lowest level in nearly a month on Sunday, with 7,104 new cases compared with 9,344 the previous Sunday. The last time Florida saw a case count below 7,200 cases was July 6th, when the state posted 6,336 cases. During the month of July, Florida averaged 10,257 new cases per day. The average for the first two days of August is 8,400 cases.

The seven day moving average for new cases, which takes into account the wide variances between weekend and weekday reporting, shows a significant slowdown of the virus across the state, even though the virus is still spreading significantly faster than the peak of the first wave in April:

But the more important measure for how Florida is weathering the virus is hospitalizations and deaths. Both of those measures have also started to slow, despite record numbers last week. And although weekends have proven to be slower than weekdays for new hospital admissions and deaths, a comparison of this weekend versus the previous weekend shows a sharp decline.  Even the seven day averages for new hospitalizations and deaths are showing a slight decline from last week’s peak:

The number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as the primary diagnosis declined from 8,281 to 7,952, or about 4% since Thursday, while the number of available hospital beds – that is, beds that are currently unoccupied – has gone up from 13,444 to 15,545 beds, an increase of more than 15% over the same period. The number of available beds in Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) has also increased, a jump of 16%, from 1,043 on Thursday to 1,210 ICU beds available on Sunday night.

By all statistical measures, Florida appears to have found a way through this latest wave of new cases without overtaxing resources on a statewide basis. While there have been some hotspots overwhelmed with patients, the state never reached critical mass for hospital resources, despite absurd comparisons to New York City’s nightmarish experience.

Obviously, this is just a trend analysis of the latest data, which could always change for the worst without a lot of warning. But fewer infections means fewer cases with serious symptoms, which ultimately means fewer deaths. And with adequate hospital resources at the statewide level, Florida seems to be in pretty good shape, despite media reporting claiming sensationalizing every tragic death and portraying an image of the state that simply isn’t supported by evidence.



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