Just as quickly as they mounted to record levels, the number of new COVID-19 infections in Florida has just as rapidly declined to levels below the January 7th peak. The seven-day moving average is now just above 11,000 cases per day, and the slope is pointing steeply downward, indicating a rapid decline to more “normal” levels if the trend continues. But with a long holiday weekend that included college football season in full swing, and stadiums packed with fans, the positive trend may slow somewhat.
Deaths, while also down from record levels, still remain well above the previous peak in January. Deaths tend to lag new case data by about 10-14 days. Last month, state health officials changed reporting methods from tallying deaths by the day they were verified, to a new system where they are tracked by the date a person actually died. Because death reports and certification can take days to be processed, the total number of deaths reported on a single date can slowly increase over time. The seven-day moving average currently shows the state recorded 253 deaths per day over the past week, compared with the previous January peak when it never exceeded an average of 185 deaths per day.
COVID-19 hospitalizations, too, are down significantly over the past week, according to data provided by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA). Overall hospitalizations declined by 12.5 percent over the last week, down to 13,567 as of Saturday, the last day when data was available.
More than 53 percent of Floridians, or roughly 11.5 million people, have been fully vaccinated, while 64.4 percent, or 13.8 million of the state’s citizens have received at least one vaccine shot.