The long-awaited turn in COVID-19 fatalities from the summer surge finally has appeared in Florida, as the state recorded its first weekly decline in newly-recorded deaths since early July.
Late Friday, the Florida Department of Health released its COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report recording 2,340 additional deaths statewide in the past week, a slight dip from the all-time worst deaths tally of 2,468 that was revealed with the state’s Sept. 17 weekly report.
This week’s COVID-19 report also showed there were just 54,109 new coronavirus infection cases recorded statewide, the lowest weekly total Florida has seen since the July 16 report.
The new report marks the fourth consecutive week that saw Florida’s COVID-19 case numbers falling. That total had peaked at more than 150,000 cases per week for three weeks running in mid-August, and has been falling sharply ever since.
Still during the previous few weeks, as Florida’s case totals began falling from record highs seen through much of August, Florida’s death totals climbed. But that was to be expected, as COVID-19 death tallies have tended to trail two to four weeks behind the trends shown by case totals.
That anticipated decline in COVID-19 fatality reports finally showed Friday.
Still, Florida’s death toll for the week — which records all COVID-19 fatality reports received during the seven days, regardless of when the people actually died — is a total far in excess of any single week seen prior to this summer.
Until September, a total of 2,000 COVID-19 death reports over seven days was unheard of in Florida. Friday’s report was the fourth in a row that recorded at least 2,000 new deaths.
Over the past two months — since July 23 when Florida’s death tallies began to climb rapidly — the deaths of 14,910 Floridians from COVID-19 have been recorded in Florida. That works out to an average of 236 fatalities per day, for two months running.
That very likely would make COVID-19 Florida’s leading cause of death through the final two months of summer.
Annual numbers posted over the past several years show Florida averages about 180-190 heart disease deaths per day and about 120-130 cancer deaths per day, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Public Health Statistics. Heart disease and cancer normally are Florida’s two leading killers.
Based on national data compiled and released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida’s latest one-week total of newly-reported COVID-19 fatalities also was the most of any state in the nation.
The CDC data is posted a day behind Florida’s, so it tallies COVID-19 deaths reported to the federal government from Sept. 17 to Wednesday, while Florida’s weekly report shows totals from Sept. 18 through Thursday.
During the period covered by the federal data, the CDC tallied 2,294 additional deaths for Florida, compared with 1,962 for Texas, which also saw its seven-day tally decline. Alabama reported a dramatic increase in COVID-19 fatalities giving it the third-highest total, reporting 942 additional deaths. Georgia followed with 870, and then California, with 773.
Alabama, with fewer than 5 million total people, saw its per capita death rate soar past Florida’s. For the week, Alabama recorded 19.2 deaths per 100,000 people, while Florida reported 10.7 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents. Georgia had the nation’s third-worst death rate, at 8.2 deaths per 100,000. Texas’s rate was 6.8 deaths reported per 100,000 for the week.