Florida COVID-19 Reality Check - August 10th, 2021
Bottom Line: Peak cases, peak hospitalizations, the news is anything but ideal in Florida right now. And it’s not just that Florida’s reached new highs in cases and hospitalizations, it’s that we’ve now been inside of peak pandemic conditions in Florida for two weeks without a clear end to the rise in site. Add in the resumption of school in Palm Beach County and across much of the state this week and many remain nervous about what will happen next.
Entering July, Florida averaged around 1,600 new cases per day. Entering August that number increased nearly tenfold to over 15,800. Entering this week, we’d averaged 19,250 daily cases. Recently I’ve cited the Mayo Clinic’s tracker and projection tool for the spread of COVID-19 cases in Florida because it’s been accurate in picking up on the summer surge in cases in Florida. The question now becomes what happens from here? Have we finally seen the peak?
Using the Mayo Clinic’s 14-day projections, the news isn’t awesome. They provide three different models. What they call the “lower bound” projection, or best-case scenario, the middle, or average projection and an upper bound, or worst-case scenario. I’ll work backwards from the worst-case to the best. Under the worst-case projections from the Mayo Clinic, Florida’s cases will rise by greater than threefold from where we are today over the next two weeks. If that happened, we’d be talking about 63,000 or so daily cases. The average projection has Florida seeing an increase to around 37,200 daily cases. The best-case scenario has the current surge rising by 22% over the next two weeks leaving us with around 23,500 daily cases.
The takeaway is this. We’re at the peak of the pandemic right now and unfortunately over the next two weeks even the most optimistic outlook suggests it will get worse from where we are today. Without having clarity regarding the efficacy of vaccines against the Delta variant it makes sense for all of us to be mindful and to be careful as we’re out and about. Odds are it’s getting worse before it gets better and none of us want to get sick. Hopefully the best-case plays out and we’ll begin leveling off late next week. It’s noteworthy that the best-case scenario from last week did not play out as we were close to the average scenario.