Is Louisiana’s COVID-19 outbreak worse than Florida’s?
Image via AP.

COVID-19 coronavirus
Louisiana or Florida posted nation's worst COVID-19 numbers last week.

In the week ending Friday, Florida saw another 132,531 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — more than the next two states Texas and California combined — continuing the Sunshine State’s struggle with the nation’s worst summer surge of 2021.

In addition to that foreboding statistic, included in Tuesday’s latest compilation of state COVID-19 reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Florida also continues to top the nation in total numbers of people admitted to hospitals with COVID-19, as well as its rising death toll.

Still, things could be considered worse in Louisiana on a per capita basis, according to the federal data updated Tuesday.

There might be no argument from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who on Monday called for statewide fasting and prayer to symbolically call attention to the crisis of that state’s summer surge of COVID-19.

“Join me and @FirstLadyOfLA in praying & fasting during lunchtime August 9-11 for our health care workers & all those affected by COVID-19,” Edwards, a Democrat, tweeted Monday. “In addition to prayer, I urge all Louisianans to protect their neighbors & themselves by getting their vaccines & wearing masks.”

In Louisiana last week, 31,421 new cases were confirmed in the week ending last Friday, according to the latest HHS data. That represented 676 new cases for every 100,000 residents in the state, the worst per capita rate in the country. In Florida, last week’s total represented 617 new cases per 100,000 residents. Mississippi had the third-highest per capita rate nationally, with 492 new cases per 100,000; Arkansas had a rate of 486; and Alabama, 360.

COVID-19 death tolls are more snapshots of what is in authorities’ in-basket at the moment in time, rather than actual totals of fatalities. That’s because local authorities can take days or weeks to confirm or refute that deaths were caused by COVID-19. The death totals released by authorities are updated as reports come in, not as the deaths occur. And the numbers always are subject to change as cases’ are reevaluated.

Florida’s rate of COVID-19 related deaths rose by 631 fatalities during the seven days through Friday. That was the country’s highest total of new fatalities but represented the nation’s third-highest death rate at 2.9 new COVID-19 deaths per 100,000. Arkansas added 169 deaths to its COVID-19 toll, a rate of 4.5 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people. Louisiana had 194 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths, a rate of 4.2 per 100,000. Texas had the second-most total deaths attributed to COVID-19 last week, 313, less than half Florida’s total.

The HHS data released Tuesday also show Florida had the nation’s highest percentage of hospital beds filled with COVID-19 patients last Friday, at 20%. Louisiana was second, with 16% of all hospital beds filled with COVID-19 patients; and Nevada third, at 15%.

Also, in Florida, 34% of intensive care unit beds were filled with COVID-19 patients, tied with Missouri for the highest rate in the country. In both Louisiana and Arkansas, 32% of ICU beds were filled with COVID-19 patients.

Broken down by county, the HHS report shows that more than a third of the nation’s hardest-hit large counties are in Florida.

Among 604 counties or parishes in America with at least 100,000 residents — discounting low-population counties where numbers can be skewed — the worst outbreak reported in Imperial County, California. There, new cases were confirmed at a rate of 1,064 for every 100,000 residents last week. The next four hardest-hit counties with at least 100,000 people were all in Louisiana or Alabama.

The sixth-worst rate nationally was Duval County, which saw 807 new cases per 100,000 residents. Bay County was eighth-worst; Clay County, 13th; and Volusia County, 17th.

A total of 18 Florida counties with at least 100,000 people were among the 50 worst in the country in per capita infections last week. The other counties making the nation’s Top 50 were St. Johns, Hernando, Brevard, Flagler, Osceola, Miami-Dade, Orange, Polk, Lake, Pasco, Leon, Marion, Seminole, Escambia counties. Each recorded a rate of more than 500 new COVID-19 cases last week per 100,000 residents.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


6 comments

  • Ellen

    August 10, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    I don’t think “prayer and fasting” is going to do it for first responders who are exhausted after a year and a half of non stop treatment of Covid victims. It doesn’t take a lot of wisdom to see that it’s the states where there are an overabundance of non vaccinators which are having the most Covid cases and deaths. If you want to honor the health care workers, get the vaccine and lower their work load.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 10, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Prayer and fasting!? Really?! Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Floridians and our children! Lock up Duffus Desantis for placing our children in harms way!!! Duffus Desantis our children under the age of 12 are not eligible for a vaccine! USMF!!!! Masks washing hands social distance are damn well proven to slow down this virus!!!’ Lock up nazi wannabe Duffus Desantis!

    • Ed

      August 10, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      Slaughtering? Really crazy Sonja? Did you know that the Governor of Louisiana is a “D”? Does that stand for doofus or dummy? Anyway sad to hear about the Governor of New York. Maybe you will put your old New York plates on your car in memory of that murderer.

  • Andrew Finn

    August 10, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Man are you crazy ?? Louisiana worse than Florida ?? You only got 31,421 cases in a whole week ?? We can beat that here in Florida in just a couple of days !!!!!! We got 132,531 cases in one week, thanks to Emperor DeSantis’s fine management of the situation. We’re #1
    !!!!!!!! Come on guys, you got a lot of catching up to do !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • PeterH

    August 11, 2021 at 9:35 am

    38% of Louisiana is fully vaccinated.

    50% of Florida is fully vaccinated.

    Florida has been encouraging maskless visitors….. and they’re flocking here. I’ve never seen August so busy in South Florida.

    Louisiana has few tourist. It’s important that the reporter included per capita.

    • Andrew Finn

      August 11, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      That’s true Peter. Florida was much better off “back in the day” when the states biggest industries were citrus and cattle, not people from “up North” stacked up wall-to-wall everywhere.

Comments are closed.


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