Florida’s COVID-19 death toll continues climbing to new historic worsts
Image via AP.

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Over past 3 weeks, COVID-19 might be Florida's leading cause of death.

The number of people dying of COVID-19 in Florida continued to get worse in the past seven days, as the state set another record Friday with a weekly report tallying 1,727 new deaths acknowledged since last Friday.

With that report, Florida has averaged reporting more than 200 new COVID-19 deaths per day over a three-week stretch of August — the worst period of mortality seen in the Sunshine State’s entire 18-month coronavirus pandemic.

That level also means that in recent weeks COVID-19 might be the leading cause of death in Florida. COVID-19 deaths are being reported at a pace that exceeds what is typical for either heart disease or cancer, normally the two biggest killers in Florida.

That level also is far higher than what any other state is suffering this summer.

There has been much political gnashing of teeth recently as some state officials have sparred with journalists over high death numbers being reported. Reporting on Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is a task fraught with difficulty, as the state no longer publicly discloses dates of deaths for COVID-19 fatalities.

The way COVID-19 death reports percolate from local officials to state officials, and then to federal officials, information from those reports can take days or weeks to be tabulated, and often finally reaches the public domain in big, mixed batches some days, which federal authorities often release on Mondays and Thursdays in multi-day bundles. Meanwhile, on other days almost no new Florida COVID-19 death reports get tabulated for public disclosure.

For example, on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services daily report showed that Florida had just presented 901 new death cases, as reported Thursday by the Miami Herald. The day before though, the federal agency showed that Florida sent information on just nine new COVID-19 fatalities. The day before that, Florida presented just six. And there is no clear way to trace those 901 deaths to any given day or days.

“A lie of omission is still a lie,” Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ press secretary Christina Pushaw blasted in a tweet about the Herald’s story, charging that it could have led some people to the false impression that 901 Floridians had died of COVID-19 in a single day.

Yet each and every death in the 901 total is real — a unique, tragic fatality. And available information says the most probable cause was COVID-19.

The Governor’s Office has said little publicly about Florida suffering record levels of COVID-19 deaths lately — or about the anguish all of those deaths is causing. Pushaw did not respond Friday to an inquiry from Florida Politics.

With the assumption that a three-week sample should cover enough time to absorb most anomalies or quirks in bureaucratic processing, Florida Politics compiled three weeks worth of data released by the state and by the federal government.

Florida’s COVID-19 mortality picture over the past three weeks is grim, based on the data the Florida Department of Health releases itself, weekly, late each Friday afternoon.

Over the past three weeks, Florida has tallied 4,284 COVID-19 additional deaths: 1,727 were added in the weekly report released Friday afternoon; 1,486 in the weekly report released a week earlier on Aug. 20; and 1,071 in the report released Aug. 13.

The cumulative deaths data in those three reports show Florida’s rate of uploading death reports is rising quickly. For the seven-days ending Friday, Florida averaged reporting 246 deaths per day, including the 901 reports reported by the federal government on Thursday and the nine posted the day before.

Over three weeks, Florida has averaged 204 COVID-19 death reports per day. No other cause of death tracked by the Department of Health tops that level, at least on an annual basis.

Weekly reports are not available for other causes of death, but the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Public Health Statistics does compile annual reports.

Over the past three years (with 2020 data still considered provisional,) Florida has tabulated heart disease deaths that averaged about 180-190 per day in each year, according that division’s Death Count Query System.

Over the past three years, Florida has seen cancer deaths averaging about 120-130 per day in each year.

Florida’s previous worst week for reported COVID-19 deaths was the week ending on Friday, Jan. 29, when Florida reported an average of 185 deaths per day over a seven-day period. The previous worst three-week period was the one ending Feb. 12, when Florida reported an average of 173 deaths per day over 21 days.

Texas also is seeing a dramatic spike in COVID-19 death reports, but not yet at Florida’s rate. Texas averaged 155 new death reports per day last week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports. Over the past three weeks, Texas has been averaging 106 death reports per day, according to federal data.

Louisiana and Mississippi have endured higher COVID-19 death rates per capita in recent weeks, according to federal data. However, Florida has suffered the nation’s third-highest per capita death rate in recent weeks, twice as high as the death rate in Texas and five times the death rate in California.

Here is the Florida Department of Health’s report for this week:

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]


22 comments

  • Tom Palmer

    August 27, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    How can this be? Amerika’s governor is leading us!

    • Alex

      August 27, 2021 at 6:47 pm

      He’s too busy overreaching his authority, misinterpreting state law and ignoring scientific evidence by banning mask mandates in schools.

      • Cristina Leroux

        August 28, 2021 at 6:21 pm

        You must be a democrat trying to smear governor DeSantis

        • Rick C.

          September 2, 2021 at 12:43 pm

          No, just an honest citizen who sees corruption and incompetent behavior.

      • David

        August 28, 2021 at 10:16 pm

        Yes, Alex, he is banning mask mandates in school. Maybe, just maybe, he is aware that the holes in the mask are 400X larger than the virus, any virus. Imagine if you will, that you are standing in front of a dorr; then, imagine that door becoming 400 times larger than you. Will that stop you from going through it?
        But, on the good side, wearing a mask can give you some gifts; like, hypoxia, Carbon dioxide poisoning, and, best of, all, our all time favorite, Bacterial Pneumonia from rebreathing lung bacteria that the body is trying to expel!
        Back in 2008, our esteemed loveable Dr. Fauci, who must be related to Dr. Mengale, co-authored a paper on the Spanish Flu. Masks were first used widely then to combat the spread of the disease. Millions of people died worldwide. sound familar? Guess what killed most of the people? I’ll help you out here: It wasn’t the flu. It was, ready for this?
        Our friend, bacterial pneumonia!. How did they get it? rebreathing lung bacteria, combined with hypoxia and Co2 poisoning. Hypoxia & Co2 poisoning weaken the body (and can kill you by themselves) and with the inlux of bacteria, you are suceptiple to severe symptoms and death.
        Of course, that might be preferable to getting the vaccine as a 2000 era study done at the University of Texas, Galveston Level 4 BioHazard labatory demonstrated. They injected multiple species of lab animals with the spike protein (which our bodies create after getting injected) The animals all died a painful, horrific death as their bodies immune system turned on themselves to destroy the infected cells. The scientists were so horrified at the pain & suffering these animals experienced that they shut down the experiment in, I believe, 2010
        Something to look forward to…

        • Bradley Turntable

          August 29, 2021 at 12:22 pm

          Obviously you get your science information from Facebook friends. If you really believe masks don’t work, then do insist your surgeons go maskless if you ever have surgery, Dave. Let’m cough over your open wound. Insist!

        • Richard Robinson

          August 31, 2021 at 6:50 am

          Your whole post is nonsense. Dr. and nurses, nuclear scientists and anyone doing work that requires cleanliness. I never hear any problems with hypoxia etc. But I am sure your high school education is standing you in good stead.

        • Rick C.

          September 2, 2021 at 12:42 pm

          Major misinterpretation and false facts of how masks work. There are no ‘loose’ viral particles floating about, getting through your mask. They’re all suspended in droplets, which are thousands of times larger than a virus, and with that size, are NOT able to penetrate a mask. The truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth. Try it some time.

      • Richard Robinson

        August 31, 2021 at 6:47 am

        You have to be a “master asshole” to win the nomination.

    • Andrew Finn

      August 27, 2021 at 11:21 pm

      He’s leading us alright. Leading us straight into Hell !!!!!!

    • Rick C.

      September 2, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      Leading us into the abyss.

  • Alex

    August 27, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    When you’re a flaming far right kook, everything looks left.

  • Richard Hoard

    August 28, 2021 at 6:01 am

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  • Sonja Fitch

    August 28, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Yo Duffus Desantis get the hell out of Florida. Take your schill pr chick with you! Does Casey know about her? Duffus Desantis bought and paid as a drug dealer by big pharma! Lock him up!

    • Cristina Leroux

      August 28, 2021 at 6:22 pm

      Another Democrat paid to smear gov DeSantis

      • Sister Mary Pierre Du Lamont

        August 29, 2021 at 12:26 pm

        Wait! We can get paid to criticize DeSantis? Would you please give us the contact information? C’mon, Crissy, show us the money.

      • Richard Robinson

        August 31, 2021 at 6:52 am

        I fail to see how anyone can support Dr. Death running Florida.

    • Mary J Nelson

      August 28, 2021 at 6:24 pm

      You are attempting to blame DeSantis alone.
      What about comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges?

  • Cristina Leroux

    August 28, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    All comments are from people paid by the communist democrats that want to mess with their poison in our beautiful state, they just want us to be like their blue states destroyed by their antifas and BLM, reason for our state receiving millions of people running away from those hell states !! WE LOVE GOV RON DE SANTIS, SO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT BECAUSE WE SUPPORT HIM

    • Rick C.

      September 2, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      You wouldn’t know a ‘communist’ if you met him on the street.

  • Sean Conolly

    August 30, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Scott, a good follow-up to this story would be to look into the lack data as reported by the CDC. The CDC numbers for Florida deaths have been zero since the start of August, so something in that reporting process has changed.

  • D McDaniel

    August 31, 2021 at 5:11 am

    Thank you Scott for your reporting.

    If Florida were the United States…
    -Florida case rate: roughly 15,000 per 100,000 people
    -US Population: roughly 330 million people
    -Florida’s rate applied across the entire US : 49.5 million cases. That is over 10 million more total cases than the current number. Yes, Florida is more urban than many states, but the majority of the US population lives in more urban areas, so it is fairly realistic to extend Florida’s case rate across the whole nation.

    What would a DeSantis presidency look like? 10 million more Covid cases. With an optimistic US Covid mortality rate of 1.6%, that means 160,000 more American voices lost forever. And the presidency is obviously the most important thing on the governor’s mind. Given the stress on the health system, the mortality rate in Florida right now is likely to be a lot higher than 1.6%. Or it soon will be. With DeSantis in charge, it may take years to find out the truth about case and death rates in Florida, but the future looks grim no matter how you slice it.

    DeSantis supporters might optimistically note, “That’s 10 million people closer to herd immunity!” Or perhaps… “60% of those people were asphyxiated by pneumonia-laced masks, and the other 40% were paid by the Dems to die so they could smear DeSantis.” It is difficult to take either of these lines of argument seriously. Masks don’t cause pneumonia today, and they didn’t in 1918, either. Then and now, pneumonia arises as a secondary infection due to the initial influenza infection (or other infection). And as already noted, our doctors and nurses, on the front lines of illness every day, wouldn’t wear masks if they increased risk for mortality. It is obviously the opposite. One thing is true, however, and it holds true for Covid as well. The sick person dies for lack of oxygen in the end. Many of the Spanish flu victims turned blue or purple in their final hours as de-oxygenated blood built up in their systems.

    I applaud the work of good journalists in Florida right now, and I pray for all of you, especially your health care workers and teachers, who are now more akin to soldiers, as they are grossly underpaid martyrs to your callous leadership. I wonder if those who continue to support DeSantis have given much thought to the tremendous stress and scrutiny your teachers and health care workers are facing. They need support and truth, not DisHonest DeSantis. You should talk to some in your spare time; ask them for the truth, and thank them for their service. Just pretend they are cops or soldiers, because in many ways they are. Will you, who stand for the flag, kneel for the cross, and extol blue lives (excepting the Capitol Police), ignore their sacrifice? They are heroes for facing the virus, but they are even more heroic for standing up, each in their own way, for the truth. That is how history will eventually see this crisis. Which side will you be on?

    From so many of you we have heard “I won’t follow the crowd. I’m not a Sheeple!” Many of you claim Jesus as Lord. He was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, the “Lamb of God,” and the “Good Shepherd” who referred to His followers, time and again, as sheep. In Matthew’s Gospel Christ even differentiates between the Goats and the Sheep in a sort of parable of how the Last Judgment will go down. The story comes as one in a series of parables in Matthew 25. The sheep, at His right hand, will go to heaven. The goats, who failed to feed Christ’s sheep (which is to help those in need, and also to provide them with truth), have a different fate, which Jesus explains:

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Lesson? At our best, we ARE sheep, even non-believers. The only question is WHO we follow. I would implore you to follow the “Spirit of Truth,” which is Christ’s name for the Holy Spirit. Be a sheep! Follow Jesus, and don’t be the goat who lets pride convince him that he is somehow above his inherently sheeply nature.

Comments are closed.


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