New numbers show Florida's Covid surge is deadlier than ever before
Florida has become one of the most dangerous states in the U.S. for COVID-19's highly infectious Delta variant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every five new COVID-19 infections is occurring in the Sunshine State. And according to a Twitter thread by a health expert for the Mayo Clinic, Florida is now the first state in the U.S. where the current COVID-19 wave has become deadlier than previous waves.
Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, a Mayo professor and editor of Blood Cancer Journal, tweeted Financial Times graphs using COVID-19 data from the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University:
Florida becomes first US state where the daily deaths in current wave have exceeded previous waves.pic.twitter.com/xK9UK2don8— Vincent Rajkumar (@Vincent Rajkumar) 1629651837
According to Rajkumar, Florida needs to increase its vaccination rates for COVID-19. Florida, with a 62% rate of at least partial vaccination and 51% full vaccination (according to Mayo), is neither the best nor the worst in the U.S.
Mayo's website offers state-by-state data on vaccination rates in the United States, where, according to the CDC, 70% of adults have been at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19. But as Mayo's data shows, vaccination rates vary considerably from state to state. According to Mayo, the number of U.S. adults who have been at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19 ranges from 70% in Maine, 75% in Vermont, 72% in Connecticut and 74% in Massachusetts to 45% in Mississippi, 44% in Wyoming, 43% in Idaho and 47% in Alabama. Florida is in the middle.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has encouraged Floridians to get vaccinated for COVID-19, but he has discouraged social distancing — and he has forbidden, by executive order, local school districts in Florida from having mask mandates. He has also blocked businesses from implementing vaccine mandates, fueling public doubts about their safety. The fact that DeSantis has attacked expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top White House medical adviser, in order to score cheap political points with his MAGA base doesn't help.
According to Rajkumar, Florida should encourage, not discourage, masks and social distancing:
What's different in Florida is that relative to the vaccination rate (~50%) the relaxation of distancing and masking was disproportionately high. Leaders expressed disdain for masks and mask mandates. The total number of people unvaccinated is high. And hospitals got overwhelmed.— Vincent Rajkumar (@Vincent Rajkumar) 1629677377
And of course this is happening exactly when it shouldn't: when delta is at its peak. \n\nFamiliar? Yes. We have seen this before. We just didn't quite think it will happen in a vaccine rich, resource rich state in 2021.— Vincent Rajkumar (@Vincent Rajkumar) 1629677494
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