Florida is now the leader of the pack of new COVID-19 cases
It was the month when we celebrate our Independence Day. The 4th of July. And you know what that means...Florida families gathered for backyard BBQs, fireworks events, pub crawls, and more. As we're starting to get back to something that resembles real life, lurking in the backdrop is a fear that many of us share about the spread of the new Delta variant of COVID-19.
Experts say it's more than twice as contagious as the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. And as we all know, the strain was initially discovered in India where it ripped through that country, tearing the nation to shreds. Six thousand people died in a single day in India from the variant. And while regular COVID has a relatively low death rate, experts also believe the delta variant may be more deadly, with reports suggesting that up to a full 1/3rd of COVID deaths in England are believed to be among the fully vaccinated population (with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was never available to us in the United States).
And now, after a month of life that for many resembled "normal" for the first time in what feels like forever, COVID-19 cases are on a sharp rise in Florida. It should be noted, that while cases have been on the rise, we're yet to see the uptick in deaths occur. However, that may be a lag between the onset of symptoms and death.
Florida is now averaging about 6,500 new cases of the virus per day, obviously driven by the much more easily spreadable Delta variant. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said he'll not be issuing any more statewide mandates or lockdowns. The governor fully intends to keep Florida open for business as usual, vowing to combat the virus with other means.
The Governor has stated that he believes Florida has effectively fought the virus without resorting to such measures that he and his supporters view as intrusive. He also says that he believes the virus is "seasonal" and that the uptick is due to weather changes. While he's halfway right, that the virus is seasonal, he's also dead wrong.
The virus is worse during the cold winter months, not the warm summer months. It finds easy prey when people are gathered in close proximity indoors, which is why it was able to ravage the northern states of New York and New Jersey, as well as Massachusetts; and it's why the outbreaks over Christmas across America were devastating, even in warm places like California and Florida.
Northern Florida seems to be fairing the worst, with the bulk of the COVID hot spots residing in northeastern Florida, in Duval County. See for yourself the chart below to see how your state stacks up against the others:
This all comes as Governor DeSantis has taken to the media to try and urge Floridians to get vaccinated. The Governor has doubled down on the stance he's always had, that the vaccines are safe and effective, reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and, or death to "effectively zero," as he put it.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Florida makes up 20% of all COVID cases in the United States. But that number has since climbed and now Florida and two other states alone make up 40% of all COVID cases in the US.
The Governor weighed in on the spread of the new Delta variant, saying:
“I think it gets put out there in ways designed to frighten people but the U.K. study I think pretty conclusively showed that this is an impact effective with vaccine…there is very good evidence that the vaccines have been proven to be effective.”
The governor then transitioned to telling Floridians to go get vaccinated, stating that we have a surplus of vaccines waiting for those who want them. He has reiterated time and again that the vaccines have been proven safe and effective against all the strains out there right now, especially when compared with COVID-19. Whatever side effects that might come from the vaccine would be infinitely better than catching COVID-19 proper, especially if we're talking about the delta variant, the logic goes.
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