Florida’s deadliest time for COVID-19 is right now
Image via AP.

coronavirus deaths
About 200 new COVID-19 deaths are being recorded every day in Florida.

This month Florida is seeing its deadliest days yet of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At no time in the coronavirus pandemic has Florida recorded more deaths attributed to COVID-19 than last week. And trend lines are skyrocketing.

The state’s official death toll rose 1,486 in last Friday’s weekly COVID-19 report from the Florida Department of Health. That one-week increase was by far the single-biggest weekly increase since the Sunshine State’s first COVID-19 fatalities were confirmed in March 2020.

While Gov. Ron DeSantis barnstorms Florida encouraging people to try monoclonal antibody treatment if they get COVID-19, and while he and his staff battle with news media over how that effort is being reported, an average of more than 200 new COVID-19 deaths are being quietly tallied in Florida every day.

Previously, Florida’s worst one-week increase in cumulative deaths was recorded during the week leading up to the Jan. 29 state report, when 1,296 new COVID-19 deaths were added to the state’s total.

COVID-19 deaths are difficult to track day-to-day or week-to-week in anything close to real time because local officials can take days or even weeks to determine and report a cause of death. Consequently, the weekly number of new deaths the state reports for any given week is only a fraction of the total number of people who actually died of the disease during that week. The true grim toll is not revealed except over time, as those delayed COVID-19 fatality reports eventually arrive and get added into the state’s running total.

That means most of the 1,486 deaths recorded last Friday likely were of people who died of COVID-19 complications during previous weeks.

Nonetheless, the deaths are real. The cumulative total remains the most reliable measure of mortality. And the surge in fatalities is real — a very recent, tragically-huge loss of life — even if it cannot be easily assigned to any specific day without more detailed information, which the state no longer publicly releases.

What’s more, trends don’t suggest the worst is over, or that things will get better anytime soon.

Past trends from the pandemic have shown that death tolls peak two to four weeks after case totals peak. Florida recorded its worst week for new COVID-19 cases for the pandemic with the Aug. 13 weekly report, showing cumulative cases increasing by 151,764. That was up from 134,751 the week before, and 110,724 the week before that. The Aug. 20 report showed the cumulative total of new COVID-19 cases perhaps plateauing, with 150,740 added in the previous week.

Prior to the past four weeks, Florida had only ever recorded more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in a seven-day period once, in early January.

Florida’s death toll also has skyrocketed over the past month, to last week’s record of 1,486 newly recorded fatalities. Florida added 1,071 COVID-19 deaths to its total in the previous weekly report issued Aug. 13; 616 the week before that; 409 the week before that, and 282 with the weekly report issued July 23.

The state’s previous one-week high of 1,296 deaths for a Friday-through-Thursday period — the same seven-day cycle now covered in Florida’s weekly reports — was recorded on Jan. 29, three weeks after the previous high point for new cases was recorded, Jan. 8. That Jan. 29 report marked the fourth in a string of seven consecutive weeks in which more than 1,000 Floridians were recorded each week to have died of COVID-19.

That tragic period of late winter was the worst Florida had ever seen, until now.

In the summer surge of 2020, Florida’s worst week was the one leading into the Aug. 14, 2020, state report, when the state’s death toll went up by 1,214 newly recorded COVID-19 fatalities over seven days. That was the third of four consecutive weeks of more than 1,000 newly recorded deaths. That summer surge came and went more quickly than the winter surge.

Federal authorities compile and post state COVID-19 data through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HealthData.gov website. However, while the federal government’s posted numbers are usually similar to those publicly released by Florida, they never quite match, day-to-day or week-to-week.

In its most recent report, posted late Monday with data through last Thursday, the CDC site had added 1,380 new COVID-19 deaths to Florida’s running total for the seven-day period.

The federal numbers can be used to compare Florida with other states. No other state is seeing nearly as many people die of COVID-19 as Florida.

With the CDC’s latest report Texas saw its death toll increased by 777 new COVID-19 fatalities over seven days. Louisiana, which has a higher per-capita death rate than Florida’s, saw 389 new deaths recorded in that period; California, 346.

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].


  • Matthew Lusk

    August 24, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Of course the numbers are skyrocketing. If you don’t check off “covid”, you get no tax payment. Duh.

    • Alex

      August 24, 2021 at 1:08 pm

      And DeSanus does nothing but whine about the big bad media, pretend he’s helping by promoting some emergency use treatment for dumbasses who didn’t get vaccinated, and attack school board members and superintendent for trying to protect our kids health from his failure to do the job he swore to do.

    • E. Porter

      August 24, 2021 at 1:52 pm

      So…all these people in Florida are dying of natural causes which happen to be in season right now, or because 99 percent of the population there in God’s Waiting Room is over 85 and dying of something, but the hospitals are lying about all those deaths being Covid-related so they can get tax money. Interesting theory…and I’ll bet from someone who’s never had this scourge. I’ve had it. Before vaccinations were available. I was lucky, but I was really sick – and still have long hauler issues. I know people who weren’t as lucky as I was who died – and they were all younger than I am. If you want to test your theory that the numbers are vastly inflated, knock yourself out. Volunteer in a daycare for a day or two up close with kids who aren’t wearing masks. You’ll be sick in less than 24 hours. If you die from it, I promise to make sure they don’t lie about what killed you – just in case it’s a heart attack or a stroke or some other natural cause. Oh, and since we’re talking about scams and money here, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona I can sell you for $1.00 an acre. Want in?

    • Colin Genge

      August 27, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      Every other State has death rate of roughly 1% of the number of cases. In Florida this is less than 1/10 % consistently according to WorldoMeter. Something is dead wrong with Florida’s super low death rate that’s being reported.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 24, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Duffus Desantis you are willingly slaughtering Floridians and our children. Duffus Desantis you deprived our children meals cause you wanted to leave money on the table! Get out you low life scum! Lock up Desantis in an pediatric ICU!

    • Evan Miller

      August 25, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      How do you think our state would be if we were being governed by a liberal left wing felon, by-sexual drug addict? Do you really think that you would have the constitutional right to make your own choices? I will never take the vaccine.

      • Robert Bodelin

        August 26, 2021 at 8:16 am

        I under stand that 80% of covid deaths are amongst the unvaccinated, good luck!

      • George

        August 26, 2021 at 8:36 pm

        Sounds like you vote for Matt!


    August 24, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    At least I am not a MORON
    Chinese Mafia Government
    One U K 2 EU
    Taliban ISIS
    Saigon manufacturing contaminated medical products Contaminated mechanical products
    Contaminated weapons
    Columbia Distribution USA
    United States USA is goin to bomb the HELL OUT OF YOU

    • George

      August 26, 2021 at 8:38 pm

      Don’t sell yourself short!

      • James Bradshaw

        August 27, 2021 at 2:14 pm


  • T Jenkins

    August 25, 2021 at 6:16 am

    Unfortunately, this is a very real virus that has has affected almost everyone in some way. Instead of showing your ignorance about this virus maybe you should focus on the lack of caring leadership in our State.

    • Jerry

      August 25, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      And your idea of leadership is to plaster masks on everyone’s face, force injections, forced lockdowns, destruction of civil liberties, closing businesses, and live in fear of a virus that will never go away?

      Honestly, I’d rather die than live in your “safe” dystopia.

      • Colin Genge

        August 27, 2021 at 8:24 pm

        In florida you have a good chance of getting your wish to die

      • Philip Briggs

        August 29, 2021 at 1:28 pm

        Hope your stupidity doesn’t cause your death or the death of any of your loved ones.

  • Jack Spit

    August 25, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    The Florida covid dashboard does a really good job of distorting the reality of how badly Florida is handling covid. How is this not a bigger story? Not only is Florida doing as bad as it has ever done regarding covid, the dashboard number is trying to suggest it’s doing really well (near their recent low). This seems like the very obfuscation and misinformation that Rebekah Jones was complaining about last year.

  • j evans

    August 27, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Daniel Wilkinson, age 46, war hero, died yesterday because someone else didn’t get the vaccine, got sick, and is occupying the ICU bed that he didn’t get. May god heal and forgive those already in those ICU beds, may he open the eyes of those who think not getting vaccinated only impacts themselves. Please get vaccinated so Daniel will not have died in vain.

  • Vince Brannigan

    August 30, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Just understand that nationally many thousands of the VOLUNTARY UNVACCINATED CONTROL GROUP are going to die to prove the effectiveness of vaccination to people who simply will not believe science. Watching their mother, father, spouse, child, or other relative or friend die horribly might just might convince them of the lies of the “Doctor of Facebook” sociopaths. Then again it might not. You can’t fix stupid but you can bury it.

Comments are closed.


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