Florida COVID-19 Reality Check - August 17th, 2021
Bottom Line: The bad news. Cases and hospitalizations are higher in Florida today compared to a week ago. The better news, hospitalizations declined entering this week for the first time in over two weeks and University of Florida and Johns Hopkins researchers believe this could be the week Florida’s summer surge for COVID-19 cases peak. With school back in session across most of the state this week, this would be an especially beneficial time to start to see the current wave with the Delta variants abate. As for where we stand.
Entering July, at the onset of the summer surge, Florida averaged around 1,600 new cases per day. A week ago, we’d averaged 19,250 daily cases and entering this week, Florida averaged 21,375 daily cases over the prior week. If you’re looking for a silver lining, at least the rate of the surge slowed. In recent weeks I’ve cited the Mayo Clinic’s tracker and projection tool for the spread of COVID-19 cases in Florida because it’s been highly accurate during the current surge. So, what happens from here? Will this be peak week?
Using the Mayo Clinic’s 14-day projections, the news is the best it’s been in over two weeks. 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 would still more than double from where we are today. If that happened, we’d be talking about 46,545 or so daily cases. The average projection has Florida seeing an increase to around 27,168 daily cases. The best-case scenario is much better news. Under that scenario, cases are expected to decline by 23% over the next two weeks leaving us with around 16,458 daily cases.
The takeaway is this. While there’s a chance the pandemic could get much worse from here, there’s also just as good of a chance we could see meaningful improvement as well. When you add in the research from UF & John’s Hopkins, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic that this is the peak week of the summer surge for COVID-19 cases in Florida.