Top Three Takeaways – August 3rd, 2021
- Florida’s vaccination rates are not as they appear. Florida, we’ve got a problem when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination rates. As in...we very well may not really know what they are. In a letter to Governor DeSantis Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber identified something profound, quoting his letter: According to DOH data extracted from the State’s platform for capturing who has been vaccinated, Floridashots, in nearly half of the zip codes in my County more than 100% of the senior population has been vaccinated. Among all adults, 17 county zip codes reported well over a 100% vaccination rate. A handful even exceed 200%. Obviously, we can’t vaccinate more residents than we have. The discrepancy may result from mistakenly including in the count many thousands of tourists and visitors who received their shots here. Or they are simply counting people in the wrong zip codes or have not updated population numbers. Right, so this potentially explains a few things and clouds others. First, that Miami-Dade, Florida’s most populous county had the state’s 2nd highest vaccination rate and yet the highest increase in new COVID-19 cases in Florida. Second, that Miami-Dade a majority minority county, had managed so successfully to defy the vaccination hesitancy experienced with minority groups elsewhere. But here’s the even bigger thing. It’s clear that Miami Dade’s vaccination rates aren’t right. What are the odds they’re the only county? The only thing that’s clear is that Florida’s vaccination rates are not as they appear. And the question becomes one of just how inflated they might be. The answer could be the key to understanding why Florida’s experiencing the peak of the pandemic right now, and why the rest of the country while surging, is well behind Florida’s pace for new cases. Based on Florida’s vaccination rates and the rapid spread of the virus during the summer surge, I’d suspected breakthrough cases might be worse than reported or known. It could just be that the appearance of having over half of Florida’s population fully vaccinated was really a mirage.
- The surge is staying for at least the next two weeks in Florida. According to the Mayo Clinic’s tracker and two-week projection tool, which has been highly accurate since the summer surge of COVID-19 cases began, we’ve yet to hit the peak in cases. The clinic offers up three projections ranging from the low end, or best-case scenario, to the upper end or worst-case scenario. Under the best-case scenario Florida peaks with new cases tomorrow and we level off over the next two weeks at about where we are today. Under the worst case...cases more than double over the next two weeks. We’ll hope for the best case but even then, it’s not exactly good news. All of this is to say we’re not done with the surge yet and it’s unclear when we will be.
- The Florida Lottery Boom. Here’s a story of a pandemic driven surge that isn’t all bad news. The Florida Lottery has boomed during the pandemic and that’s especially good news for the state’s Education Enhancement Trust Fund – which is the biggest beneficiary of the Florida Lottery. Lottery sales have risen by greater than 20% during the pandemic – phenomenal growth for any established industry. It’s clear the pandemic led to record numbers of Floridians dreaming big and spending big on lottery tickets. That meant big money for schools. Total revenue to Florida’s education trust fund from the Florida lottery exceeded $2 billion, or close to 10% of what it takes to fund K-12 education in Florida for the first time ever and came in $300 million higher than had been projected. Your record losses have provided for Florida’s Education Trust Fund’s record windfall.