Florida’s summer surge of COVID-19 worse than any Democratic-led state

Doctor or nurse scared of the virus pandemic. Everyone's infected. Dressed in a surgical mask and blue rubber gloves. Abstract photo.
Democrats fully control 15 states. Here's how they compare to Florida.

The Sunshine State has suffered a COVID-19 outbreak this summer that is much more widespread, more burdensome on hospitals, and deadlier than anything seen in states controlled by Democrats.

And it was Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ office that essentially challenged media to check into it.

“Attention Florida-Obsessed COVID Media: Let’s Cross the Country and Check on a Democrat-Run State,” read a RedState.com headline tweeted Tuesday by DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw.

There are 15 states under full Democratic control, including legislative chambers and executive offices, according to BallotPedia.com.

Those include the nation’s most populous state, California, and, in descending order of population, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Maine, Rhode Island, and Delaware.

Some had tragically bad COVID-19 outbreaks in 2020. Some had horrible outbreaks this past winter.

None of them, though, saw a summer surge as widespread or as deadly as Florida’s, according to Community Profile Reports posted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The RedState article Pushaw retweeted essentially compared Florida to Oregon. Yet while Oregon is among the hardest-hit Democratic states this summer, it remains well behind Florida in new COVID-19 cases per capita, hospital loads, and deaths per capita in recent weeks.

Looking specifically at four weeks from Aug. 5 to Sept. 2 — essentially the month of August, the most recent for which full data is available for all states through the CDC reports — no Democratic-controlled state has struggled with nearly as many new COVID-19 cases per capita as Florida.

And none saw hospitals burdened nearly as much with COVID-19 patients as Florida.

No Democratic-controlled state has suffered nearly as many reported COVID-19 deaths per capita as Florida.

The silver lining in Florida this summer has been a dramatic turnaround in acceptance of COVID-19 vaccinations. In the past four weeks, Floridians lined up for vaccinations far more than did residents of any of the Democratic-led states.

However, Florida entered August well behind nearly all of the 15 Democratic-led states in vaccination rates, besting only Nevada. Even with a big August rush for vaccinations, Florida still trails most Democratic-led states in vaccination rates.

Here is how they compare:

— Since Aug. 5, and through Sept. 2, Florida reported 612,461 new cases of COVID-19, according to the CDC reports. That works out to 2,852 new cases per 100,000 residents during those four weeks, more than twice the rate endured by any Democratic-led states.

Among Democratic states, Hawaii, which logged 1,389 cases per 100,000, was the closest. Oregon was next, at 1,293; then Washington with 1,099; and Nevada with 1,004.

— On Sept. 2 in Florida, 29% of hospital beds were reported occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to the CDC data.

Among the Democratic states, Hawaii had the densest COVID-19 hospital census, with such patients occupying 17% of in-patient beds. In Oregon and Nevada, 16% of hospital beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients, and in California, 13%.

— On Sept. 2 in Florida, 47% of intensive care unit beds were reported occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to the CDC.

Among Democratic states, Hawaii had 40% of its ICU beds filled with COVID-19 patients; followed by Oregon and New Mexico at 33%; and Nevada at 32%.

— On Sept. 2 in Florida, 24% of all hospital ventilators were reported in use for COVID-19 patients.

Among Democratic states, Oregon had the most ventilators in use by COVID-19 patients at 15% of the state’s inventory. Nevada and Washington were next, with 12%, followed by Hawaii at 11%.

— In Florida, 6,506 COVID-19 deaths were recorded between Aug. 5 and Sept. 2, according to the CDC. That works out to 30 newly tallied deaths per 100,000 residents of Florida.

Among Democratic states, Nevada had the highest COVID-19 death rate during that period, reporting 19 deaths per 100,000 residents during those four weeks; followed by Oregon, with eight fatal cases reported per 100,000 people; and Washington and Delaware at six each.

Florida’s COVID-19 surge was apparent in July, leading numerous leaders to redouble efforts to urge people to get vaccinated. The alarm appeared to work.

— Florida administered 3.9 million COVID-19 shots between Aug. 5 and Sept. 2, working out to about 18,486 shots per 100,000 residents during those four weeks, according to the CDC’s reports.

The best any Democratic state did during that period was Nevada’s 12,991 shots per 100,000 residents, followed by New Mexico at 12,805 shots, Delaware’s 12,492, and New York’s 12,166.

Still, Florida started the month well behind most of the Democratic-led states in vaccination rates. On Aug. 5, 59% of Florida’s total population had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

When compared with the 15 Democratic-controlled states, Florida’s Aug. 5 vaccination rate was better than only Nevada’s, at 54%. By contrast, Hawaii and Connecticut already had vaccinated more than 70% of their populations, and several other Democratic states boasted rates over 65%.

That changed significantly in August.

— By Sept. 2 in Florida, 64% of the total population had at least one shot, according to the CDC. That’s the same rate reported in Colorado, Oregon, and Delaware, and better than Nevada’s, which still trails at 58%. Hawaii and Connecticut were up to 74%, Rhode Island and Maine, 72%, New Mexico and New Jersey at 70%, California at 69%, Washington and New York at 68%, and Illinois and Virginia at 66%.

— By Sept. 2 in Florida, 53% of the total population was fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Compared with Democratic states, Florida’s rate is better than Illinois, which is 51%, and Nevada at 48%. Connecticut and Maine reported 66% of their populations fully vaccinated, and Rhode Island, New Jersey, Washington, New York, and New Mexico all were over 60%.

DeSantis often boasts that he gave extra effort to getting Florida’s most vulnerable population vaccinated first. Still, Florida is not doing as well as most Democratic-led states in getting the oldest population vaccinated.

— According to the CDC, by Sept. 2 Florida has gotten 82% of its residents who are at least 65 years old fully vaccinated.

That is better full vaccination rate of seniors than reported by the Democratic states California, 79%; Illinois, 77%; and Nevada, 76%.

Among the Democratic states, Rhode Island has 93% of its oldest population fully vaccinated. Maine and Connecticut also are over 90% for that age group, and Washington and New Mexico are nearly at 90%.

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].


  • PeterH

    September 8, 2021 at 11:35 am

    The Broward Center entertainment venue is the latest business to turn its back on Ron DeSantis’s foolish vaccination nonsense mask bans.

    To attend ANY event at the Broward Center or it’s satellite venues you will need to provide proof of full vaccination AND wear a mask.

    These rules are in line with the North East states trend where proof of full vaccination is required for hotels, bed and breakfast establishments and restaurants.

    The message is clear ….. if you’re not vaccinated stay at home.

    Hopefully more businesses like the cruise ship industry, schools and now the Broward Center will establish strict vaccine requirements!

    Let the FREEDUMB nutcases wallow in front of their home flat screens!

    • Lauren

      September 8, 2021 at 1:53 pm

      This comment is false – to attend an event at the Broward Center, patrons 12 yrs or older must provide a *negative test* and wear a mask. Proof of vaccination is an alternative option to a negative test. This is fully in compliance with the law and is necessary to bring back Broadway tours. It is a tough enough road to economic recovery as it is for this industry without internet trolls lying about honest businesses (and critical local economic drivers at that) just trying to do what they need to to recover.

    • Jerry

      September 8, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      Incorrect. They still allow you in with a recent negative test.

      We are not going to do vaccine passports in this state. Period. Get that through your head. If that bothers you or makes you feel unsafe….feel free to move. You can go move up to the northeast where you seem to think its so great. We don’t need or want authoritarian leftists in Florida.

      • Joey

        September 8, 2021 at 9:12 pm

        wait until you need the card to fly and use trains. See if people dont get the vaccine. lol.

        • Jerry

          September 8, 2021 at 9:57 pm

          I’ll drive.
          I’m not getting a genetic cocktail with unknown long term effects. A vaccine I simply do not need. I had COVID already. I had a stuffy nose and a very mild headache for 2 days. That’s it! No cough. No fever. Day 3 I felt like a million bucks. Tested positive for COVID. Also tested positive COVID antibodies a month later. So what benefit to me is there to get the vaccine? The vaccine doesn’t stop the spread. The vaccine won’t last more than 6 months. Why do I need it? I’ve asked doctors this and they don’t really have an answer other than “it wouldnt hurt to just get it anyway.” Well, that’s not enough reason for me. Sorry.

          I’m not going to take a vaccine who’s side effects will make me feel worse than what the virus does. I mean I’ve had common head colds that are way worse than what COVID did to me. I have antibodies. I’m in a very low risk group. The vaccine won’t stop me from spreading it anyway. I don’t need the vaccine. And I will not get these. Develop better ones that provide immunity, stop the spread, and are proven safe…..THEN I will give it consideration. But these 3 we have right now in my opinion are garbage! A vaccine that does not stop the spread, is trash. This is at-best a pre-infection therapeutic.

          • Maria

            September 9, 2021 at 11:42 am

            Thank you for driving instead of infecting others on planes and trains. Me, I’m fully vaccinated and wear masks to protect myself and OTHERS. I will be traveling when appropriate and enjoying myself.

          • Kypes

            September 9, 2021 at 3:15 pm

            There is a lot of “I” in your Covid assessment

  • Alex

    September 8, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Peter will tell us the lie that vaccines do nothing to stop the spread, so no one should get them or something similarly moronic.

  • Gloria Lindenburg

    September 8, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    This is because our state has been overwhelmed by Democrats from NY, NJ, and PA leaving their horrible policies that Democrats have put in place. Winter is coming, your “Democratic” locked down states will surge then.

    • PeterH

      September 8, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      Gloria Lindenburg ….. America’s best epidemiologist with a crystal ball! LOL

  • Jerry

    September 8, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Imagine a vaccine so effective that you still have to wear a mask after you get it.
    Imagine a virus so deadly most have to take a test to find out if you had it.

    And now this writer wants to claim Democrats are doing a good job? LOL!!! Joe Biden right now has an approval rating of 39% and falling. He is a joke. He is a senile old man who’s presidency is falling apart rapidly. He now wants another $4 trillion spending bill. Money we don’t have. We seeing inflation. Which means the poor will get poorer. Even Janet Yellen says we are running out of money.
    And all Biden does is stand up there talk about mandates and spending more money until his handlers yank him off the stage.
    Democrats are going to get destroyed in the midterms.

    • Professor Emeritus

      September 9, 2021 at 4:47 am

      Imagine a virus that is slaughtering the unvaccinated and a state that conceals that fact from its residents for political reasons . Maryland (which has REPUBLICAN governor publishes the statistics Maryland’s first post-vaccination infection was identified on January 26, 2021. The information below reflects cases tested from January 26 – September 5, 2021. Less than 0.34% of fully vaccinated Maryland residents later tested positive for COVID-19. About 3,405,533 Maryland residents have been fully vaccinated as of August 22, 2021. There have been 14,006 COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated Maryland residents.Of those cases, there were: 1,060 cases hospitalized, representing 7.4% of all COVID-19 cases hospitalized 100 deaths, representing 6.0% of lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Maryland
      Scientists all over the world are studying the Covid Train wreck that is Florida. No one else has such an incredible death rate in a highly vaccinated state
      Here are the top states in covid deaths per 100k population and their vaccination rates
      Florida › 1.60 54%
      Mississippi › 1.43 40%
      Louisiana › 1.02 43%
      South Carolina › 0.87 44%
      Arkansas › 0.82 43%
      Texas › 0.77 48%
      Oklahoma › 0.75 45%
      Georgia › 0.68 43%
      Tennessee › 0.59 43%
      Alabama › 0.57 40%
      Kansas › 0.52 49%
      Wyoming › 0.52 40%
      North Carolina › 0.52 47%
      Kentucky › 0.51 49%
      Oregon › 0.50 59%
      West Virginia › 0.50 40%
      Missouri › 0.46 46%
      In addition
      Ingraham’s data showed that in counties where Trump received less than 20% of the vote, the death toll in August was 4.89 per 100,000 residents. However, in counties where Trump received more than 80% of the vote, the death toll was 14.89 per 100,000.
      Imagine a virus that kills people in Trump areas at three times the rate of Biden areas

      • PeterH

        September 9, 2021 at 11:03 am

        Excellent Professor!

      • Dean

        September 9, 2021 at 1:57 pm

        You have to love statistics: The Democrat led states led and still lead Covid deaths overall, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, etc. By limiting the time period you’ve conveniently created a different reality. Also, Louisiana is led by a Democrat governor.

        Also, don’t forget Covid is especially dangerous for the elderly and Florida has a much older population than most states. You can’t simply make an apples to apples comparison on deaths to a state with an average age 10 years younger (like in California). If you isolate the 65+ age group you get 808 deaths per 100,000 in Florida and 815 deaths per 100,000 in California. So, with respect to protecting the elderly, Florida is doing a better job.

        • Professor Emeritus

          September 9, 2021 at 2:27 pm

          There is STUPID argument and there is REALLY STUPID argument We are only interested in deaths since Vaccination became widely available and affected the death rate . That was roughly around March 1. But lets just take the last month and compare Florida Average age 42.5 and Connecticut average age 41.1 Deaths per million Florida in August 353
          Deaths per million Connecticut 18 Maine OLDEST STATE IN THE COUNTRY 45 YEARS AVERAGE AGE 25 DEATHS PER MILLION
          Why aren’t you quoting officaal florida data on deaths by age?

        • Professor Emeritus

          September 9, 2021 at 2:53 pm

          I thought I Would do California separately California has many more over 65s than Florida 6 million to 4.5 million (it has twice the overall population )
          So you would expect many more deaths in California than Florida. So lets look again at August .
          Florida had 7600 deaths
          California with 30% more over 65s had 1829
          I suggest nolonger repeating silly argument you read on websites

  • Ocean Joe

    September 9, 2021 at 6:54 am

    The most important statistic regarding whether to get vaccinated is the ratio of the hospitalized: vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.
    Some of our leaders have cowardly refused to push vaccination because they want the anti-vax vote. It seems very ungrateful to Mr. Trump, who missed all those golf games and cheeseburgers to spend all that time in the lab over in Germany to create the vaccine only to have folks reject it.

  • Professor Emeritus

    September 9, 2021 at 8:14 am

    To be totally technical you actually need 3 numbers.
    The vaccination rate
    The total hospitalization rate
    The ratio of vaccinated to unvaccinated patients.
    As the vaccination rate increases you expect fewer hospitalizations overall but the ratio of vaccinated to unvaccinated can go up, simply because there are so many more more unvaccinated people. If 90% are vaccinated you would expect the vaccinated to make up 50% of the much lower number of cases than if only 40% were vaccinated. This is something the antivaxxers simply cannot comprehend

    • Professor Emeritus

      September 9, 2021 at 8:15 am

      So many more vaccinated people

  • Broadway

    September 9, 2021 at 10:52 am

    People are dieing from the jab. The VAERS system run by the gov has over 17,000 reports. The jab doesn’t work. People who take it can still get Covid. People who have been jabbed have died. If Biden cared he would stop bringing in illegal covid aliens into the country carrying and spreading the virus.

  • BroadwayJoe

    September 9, 2021 at 10:53 am

    People are dieing from the jab. The VAERS system run by the gov has over 17,000 reports. The jab doesn’t work. People who take it can still get Covid. People who have been jabbed have died. If Biden cared he would stop bringing in illegal covid aliens into the country carrying and spreading the virus.

    • Professor Emeritus

      September 9, 2021 at 11:49 am

      Total complete screaming nonsense But it explains why Florida has so many dead. They believe total nonsense. 2% of the infected die , How many dead illegal covid aliens do they have in Florida ? DiSantis has the bodies if there are any. You will believe any nonsense on Qanon right ? But thanks for showing why Florida has thousands of dead vaccine refusers.

  • Maria

    September 9, 2021 at 11:49 am

    We have reinstituted a mask mandate in CT, because we didn’t want our positivity rate to climb this fall. Our schools are in session and I do not hear of any problems with Covid in our schools so far.

    CT is doing well economically and in terms of Covid hospitalizations and death rates. We follow the science, not conspiracy theories and liars.

    Sorry Florida, your situation is due to your bad politics and propaganda from the far right who have never cared about saving human lives. You have failed when you could have crushed Covid.

    • PeterH

      September 9, 2021 at 11:59 am

      Thank you Maria for offering Floridians a vision of sane Covid management. Florida will catch up someday.

  • Professor Emeritus

    September 9, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Maryland actually polled the vaccine refusers to find the sources
    of the nonsense https://www.capitalgazette.com/coronavirus/bs-hs-maryland-hospitals-urge-covid-vaccinations-20210908-vqxjpxvpprgtdg3cy745u3v2ru-story.html
    Kid of interesting what kin of people would believe face book instead of Johns Hopkins medical school experts. Brings to mind Samuel Johns comment ” Brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s comment “Why, Sir, Sherry is dull, naturally dull; but it must have taken him a great deal of pains to become what we now see him. Such an excess of stupidity, Sir, is not in Nature.”

  • Professor Emeritus

    September 9, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Florida has finally admitted, three weeks late that the actual death count hit 330 on August 21 and the 7 day average hit 301 on AUGUSt 22, Go back 3 weeks to August 1 where the case count was 17,153 That gives 21 day fatality rate of 1.75%
    Cases hit 20,000 on the 9th We can now project just about 10,000 covid deaths in September There were about 576,000 cases in teh 28 days prior to Sept 9. multiplied by 1.75% That yields about 10,000 deaths in September.

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