The number of people hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 has dropped rapidly over the past week, down to 2,687 people from 3,067 a week earlier. While there may be some regions of the state where the hospital population numbers are still fluctuating, the statewide figure provides a snapshot of the overall direction of the pandemic and is a positive sign that the vaccine is starting to make an impact.
For the past several months, the total population of Floridians in the hospital specifically because of symptoms related to the coronavirus has hovered around 3,100, peaking at 3,116 on March 12th. By April 25, just two weeks ago, that number hadn’t improved much, with 3,105 still hospitalized.
April’s data was negatively impacted by a predictable surge in cases attributable to spring break travel. The number of average daily new cases peaked April 19th at 6,756, but the number of new cases has declined steadily ever since. As of this morning, the 7-day average of new cases has plummeted to 3,861.
Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 deaths has not gone down, hovering between 50 and 70 deaths per day on average since mid-March. Florida’s all time high of 185 daily average deaths has been reached twice, the first time on August 5th, last year, and again on January 28th of this year, coinciding with holiday travel. The current figure is 66 deaths per day averaged over the past week.
The median age of newly infected cases and the median age of patients admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 is starting to trend younger. Data analysts say that’s because Florida has done a decent job of administering vaccines to older, more vulnerable patients, first, while younger, less vulnerable people are taking fewer precautions, remain unvaccinated and are more socially mobile.
More than 9.5 million people, or around 44 percent of the state population have already received at least one dose of a vaccine, and over 7 million people, or about 1 in every 3 Floridians, have now been fully vaccinated.
Anyone 18 years and older is eligible in Florida to receive the vaccine, but the Pfizer vaccine is also available to anyone at least 16 years old.
But ABC News told me Florida was exploding with new variant cases and that I should be scared.