COVID cspanses and hospitalizations continue to fall across Florida as the latest wave of infections recedes. Here’s what the latest data show:
Fewest new COVID cases, lowest hospitalizations in weeks
19,000 new infections, the fewest since the week ending Dec. 26 (Source: Health and Human Services Department).
1,978 hospital patients — the first time since late December it’s been under 2,000 (Source: Health and Human Services Department).
Gov. Ron DeSantis has yet to fulfill a promise he made in January 2022 to differentiate people who get hospitalized because of COVID and those who test positive while in the hospital for another reason. Such data would give a more accurate picture of the disease’s severity.
What does the latest sewage data say?
Wastewater, which reveals coronavirus trends sooner than official case counts, shows viral levels falling in just about every Florida county where sewage is tested.
More on COVID in Florida: It’s looking up, but sewspange counts rising in 3 counties
Wastewater from Palm Beach, Alachua, Hillsborough, Leon, Orange, Pinellas and Seminole counties show fewer coronavirus genetic fragments compared with last week and last month.
But Miami-Dade County sewage tests conducted by Boston-based Biobot Analytics show viral loads slowly rising there in the past two weeks. The latest result from Wednesday found 656 coronavirus fragments per milliliter, up 26% from Jan. 25. That’s still much lower than the COVID wave last summer.
Sewage testing from the nationwide WastewaterSCAN initiative, however, continues to show viral loads falling in Miami-Dade County since January.
Latest wave of deaths not done yet
341 more deaths recorded this week, more than twice as high as pre-surge weeks in late October, November (CDC data).
Fatalities can take weeks to enter official statistics. Even as new infections and hospitalizations decline, deaths lag behind.
Florida vaccination rates still among nation’s worst
29% – Floridians 65 and older who have gotten the latest booster*
41% – Seniors boosted nationwide**
10.7% – Floridians up to date on shots
15.8% – Americans up to date
85,710 – Floridians killed
7.5 million – infected in Florida. More than 1 in 3 residents
*Those 65 and older comprise the vast majority of COVID deaths.
**Only Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana seniors have less protection than Florida’s.