Winter arrives in Florida with new COVID-19 surge

COVID-19 Visual concept - Coronavirus COVID-19 biohazard sign with flags of the states of USA. State of Florida flag. Pandemic stop Novel Coronavirus outbreak covid-19 3D illustration.
Florida's 49,473 new cases during 7 days through Sunday is triple the week before.

As winter solstice arrives, the autumn lull in the COVID-19 pandemic — which Florida has enjoyed since mid-October — appears to be over.

Perhaps driven by the new omicron variant, the Sunshine State saw its recent COVID-19 caseload more than triple in the past week, just as winter officially arrives — and in time to put a pall on Christmas.

Tuesday’s latest federal data showed Florida confirmed 49,473 new cases in the most recent seven days through Sunday. That is the first time since early October that Florida has seen more than 20,000 cases in seven days and the first time since late September that Florida has seen more than 40,000.

Through Sunday, the latest seven-day tally was more than triple the 14,741 new cases Florida tabulated during the previous week through Dec. 12.

The latest seven-day total of new cases is more than Florida had confirmed during the entire month of November.

Florida’s COVID-19 case total reached 3,766,552 through Sunday, according to the latest data posted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. That was 49,473 more cases than the previous Sunday’s total.

That marked another abrupt change in direction for Florida’s ride on the pandemic roller coaster.

Florida’s summer surge of COVID-19, driven by the delta variant, was the worst in the nation.

Florida’s pandemic had peaked at more than 150,000 cases per week for three weeks in August. That led to thousands of COVID-19 deaths recorded each week in Florida throughout September. The Sunshine State recorded more COVID-19 summer surge deaths than any other state and suffered the nation’s worst death rate for the summer.

Florida’s summer surge ended in September, though. And by mid-October, Florida’s caseload had fallen by 90%.

By late October and throughout November, Florida became the nation’s shining state on a hill. By Thanksgiving, Florida had the nation’s lowest infection rate: 56 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Around then, the winter surge set in among Northern states, while Florida continued to see low infection rates and plummeting death rates.

Now, though, Florida appears to be rejoining the pandemic.

With the past week’s surge in cases, Florida’s new infection rate climbed to as high as 29th worst in the country, counting 230 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Floridians. (Maryland’s data was not reported for the most recent week.)

Florida’s infection rate is nowhere near that seen lately by states in the North, where the virus began surging in November. Rhode Island reported 706 new cases per 100,000 last week; New Hampshire, 632; New York, 601; Ohio, 562; and Massachusetts, 521.

Yet Florida no longer is among the best. Montana reported just 98 new cases per 100,000 people; fellow Southern states Louisiana and Mississippi reported 102 and 112, respectively; and California, just 114 cases per 100,000 residents.

The official tallies of COVID-19 related deaths lag several weeks after case reports first emerge. Consequently, Florida still enjoys the autumn lull with low counts of COVID-19 fatalities. The 191 deaths that the CDC recorded for Florida during the seven days through Sunday was the lowest one-week death toll Florida has seen since early July.

Once again, Northern states may be several weeks ahead of Florida’s trend, and they are suffering the most from the pandemic heading into Christmas. Michigan tallied the nation’s worst death toll in the most recent seven days, equal to 8.3 deaths per 100,000 residents. Alaska recorded 8.1 deaths per 100,000 residents; Pennsylvania, 6.1; Ohio, 5.6; and Indiana, 5.5.

Florida’s latest count of new fatalities amounted to only 0.9 deaths per 100,000 residents, the nation’s second-best rate behind Connecticut’s 0.8.

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]


10 comments

  • Alex

    December 21, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Thankfully omicron isn’t as deadly as far as we know, but we have near zero long term experience with it and it’s impossible to know yet if there are some weird quirks no one was expecting.

    It is MUCH more contagious though, but new hospitalizations are always a couple weeks behind and they aren’t moving much at all yet.

    Boostered vaccination is still the best bet at this stage (I boosted 3 weeks ago) but we do know it incubates, grows and spreads much faster in your throat and nose means masks are more important than before.

  • Sheryl Lawrence

    December 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Since Florida underreports and late reports all things Covid (see https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/28/ron-desantis-cant-figure-out-who-made-covid-all-political/), only historians will be able to figure out exactly how bad this Christmas will be for Covid in Florida. I suggest those who would feel unending shame from causing the death or disability of a family member, friend, or co-worker please stay home, wear a mask and distance when out, and act respectfully to others.

  • Jerry

    December 21, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    You can sense how the left is praying for there to be a surge. That’s why Biden is trying to force more testing…get those asymptomatic cases recorded and get the case numbers up. That way they can keep the pandemic fear porn going. They can assume more power. And they can pass more stimulus bills.

    These companies that manufacture the tests and the vaccines are getting insanely rich. Pfizer is expected to post $35 billion in profits this year because of the pandemic. Of course they want to keep it going.

    • Mateo

      December 23, 2021 at 7:43 pm

      Remember, there is no price too big to own the libs! Some might think that losing a foot to covid is a big price to pay, but it isn’t.

      You’ll be showing the world that you believe in FREEDOM when you’re still in that wheelchair in 2030!

  • Scotty

    December 21, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Leave it to Scott powers to write an unneeded report about a illness that’s harmless and over used to control the masses.

  • The Younger Claude Kirk

    December 22, 2021 at 8:38 am

    The left was praying to their God Lucifer for Omicron to become the deadly “midterm” virus which would necessitate the most severe lockdown nationwide ever.
    Then their Hail Mary plan of salvaging the severe spanking coming to the left just prior to the midterms was to lift the lockdown to the joy of the nation who would rush to the polls and vote the left back into office in a landslide. Seriously folks its so bad for all leftists now that they are left to only simpleton schemes and tricks to hold on to power. That and praying to Lucifer.

    • Mateo

      December 23, 2021 at 7:45 pm

      Free tip for 90 IQ Desantis cultists:

      The dems don’t care what House is under Mitch’s thumb in a year. It makes no difference anyhow. The House will package its investigations for the DoJ, and that will be that.

      Enjoy having the car with an empty tank and the closest station five hours away, that is what Congress will be 2022-2024.

  • Tinesley

    December 22, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Remember when we used to call “omicron” symptoms, cold and flu season?

    Yes, leave it to this publication to try and create another “crisis”.

    • Remove Scott from the press

      December 23, 2021 at 3:36 pm

      That’s because you have activist reporters like Scott powers to put his spin on Covid. I think reporters like Scott need to be called out for spreading useless info!

  • Jonathan Apple

    December 23, 2021 at 8:34 am

    These times with covid have got to be the best of times for hypochondriac folks. Imagine their absolute joy in masking up, getting vaccines, and chastising everyone who is not a hypochondriac for trying to live a normal reasonable life without fear. Yes sir these are like living in a nirvana paradise for those in the world lucky enough to suffer from hypochondria.

    Rock On Hypochondriac folks. Enjoy your best years of your hypochondriac lives!!!!!

Comments are closed.


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