COVID-19 cspanses increased by about 6,000 over the holidays throughout Florida, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The uptick comes while fewer than 10% of Floridians aged 5 and older have received their updated COVID booster shot, according to the CDC.
Between Dec. 22 and Dec. 28, there were 25,840 reported cases of COVID-19 in Florida, with a weekly rate per 1,000 reaching 120.3, according to data released Friday by the CDC. That’s about 6,000 more cases than the previous week, when the agency reported more than 19,000 cases throughout the state.
It’s important to note that not all cases are accounted for, as not everyone with symptoms takes a test, and at-home tests are not reported to the CDC or the Florida Department of Health.
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Hospitalizations were already rising before to the holidays, hovering at a three-month high by Christmas Day.
Florida medical facilities cared for 1,897 COVID-positive patients the week of Dec. 22, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said. That’s the highest level since Sept. 21. The CDC reported 309 deaths due to COVID-19 throughout the state between Dec. 22 and Dec. 28.
Though 72.9% of Florida’s population aged 5 and older have completed their primary series of shots, only 9.8% have received an updated bivalent COVID-19 booster. Though the shot was designed for the BA.5 subvariant, the dominant strain at the time the booster was released in September, researchers believe it will help provide immunity against other strains of COVID.
Two federal studies released earlier in December examined the vaccine status of thousands of COVID patients nationwide. These studies found that the latest booster is much more effective at protecting its recipients from hospitalization than for those who are unvaccinated or have had only the first two shots.
Data from Dec. 25 through Dec. 31 showed the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, previously known as XBB, was the dominant strain in the U.S., accounting for about 40.5% of reported COVID cases, according to the CDC.
Overseas, cases are surging in China, with the country’s health experts estimating 37 million people were infected on a single day Dec. 20, according to Bloomberg. As much as 18% of the country’s population, or 248 million people, likely caught the virus in the first 20 days of December, according to minutes from an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission held Dec. 21.
With cases skyrocketing in China, experts worry about the possibility of new variants emerging and spreading globally. The surge in cases was brought on by the country abruptly reopening Dec. 7 following anti-lockdown protests, according to a report by the Associated Press.
It’s unclear how many cases there actually are, as China has reduced testing and is not reporting most mild cases of the virus. They also rely on vaccinations made within the country that use older technology than the mRNA vaccines, which studies have shown to be less effective at protecting individuals against the virus.
Updated data regarding COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccinations in Florida was not available from the Florida Department of Health over the holiday weekend.