Florida’s leprosy surge and COVID uptick: cautionary tale or clickbait? Maybe a little of both

by | Jul 31, 2023

Oh, Florida. The one state that makes Texas look normal. In the land of alligators, oranges, and the infamous “Florida Man,” we now find ourselves up to our necks in media reports about leprosy “surges” and COVID-19 “upticks.” Yet, as always, the truth lies somewhere between the palmetto bugs and the swamp water.

First, let’s put the Central Florida leprosy “surge” into proper perspective. Like all news sites, we love a good headline, and the word “leprosy” is irresistible clickbait on a Biblical scale. Throw in the word “surge” and we’ve got a virtual internet gold mine on our hands. But while a “surge” in the world of leprosy might spike our website traffic, it’s barely noticeable in the grand order of things. To put it into proper perspective, out of the 350 million people in the United States, only about 150 leprosy cases are documented each year. Expressed as a percentage, it’s almost ridiculously small: 0.000043%, or 4 hundred thousandths of a percent.

Of course, Central Florida accounts for about 81 percent of all of Florida’s cases, and one-fifth of national cases, which is why we get all the attention. The fact is that leprosy, like other contagious diseases, occurs in clusters. So while the numbers are small, they aren’t to be trifled with. Leprosy is a serious condition with a roster of unpleasant symptoms, from skin patches to nerve damage. But a “surge?” That should be reserved for scenarios that genuinely warrant it rather than fear-mongering people to pack up and leave the purported Orlando leper colony behind.

Leprosy isn’t Florida’s only health concern at the moment. Media outlets across the Sunshine State – including Leon County, where hospital workers are getting hit in particularly large numbers – are also talking about an “uptick” in COVID cases. Not quite the same as a “surge,” an uptick is nevertheless great headline fodder. Statewide, we’ve seen COVID cases going up by 17 percent. Fortunately, though, our vaccination and natural immunity levels have come a long way since 2020.

Is COVID-19 still a serious disease to be reckoned with? Absolutely. But even our state health officials point out that while the numbers are indeed creeping up, the key word is “creeping”…as in slow moving. Just…don’t let it sneak up on you, because it’ll knock you on your back for an extended period.

So let’s all be careful out there, but let’s also go about our business, and be grateful that we’re not – at least so far this summer – talking about a “surge” in hurricanes or an “uptick” in tropical storms. Because that would indeed be alarming for the Sunshine State.


  1. CaptTurbo

    I’m sure the “uptick” in Covid is from the blue state vaxed and quadruple boosted leftists that are fleeing the communist messes they’ve made of their own states and fleeing to Florida.

    • WokeUp

      And I’m sure that your comment is classic for a typical ignorant, cracker, Ron DeeFascist supporting, neo confederate jackass. And we’ll received by Florida Surgeon General Dr Quack.

  2. Douglas N Hay

    Brilliant writing: Firstly, it coins a new term quite apropos for yellow journalism in the digital age — “clickbait”; secondly, the opening paragraph is hilarious, particularly the two short lead sentences; thirdly it’s informative — who knew that central Florida accounts for 81 percent of all Florida leprosy cases, and one-fifth of national cases, numerically minuscule as they may be?

    • Anonymous

      Clickbait a new term? Where have you been the past 15 years?!

  3. Denise

    Thanks for a dose of reality.

  4. Deborah Coffey

    Well, leprosy may not be “surging” as most of interpret that word but, being “endemic” in Central Florida is even worse.

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