Florida sees slight drop in COVID cases, but other illnesses rise
Florida saw a slight drop in COVID-19 cases last week, though the positivity rate for new cases rose slightly, state data showed Friday.
Between Nov. 11 and Nov. 17, there were 11,632 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, according to statistics from the Florida Department of Health. That’s a small drop from the previous week, when there were 11,783 cases statewide.
Despite the slight drop in cases, the positivity rate for new cases rose slightly from 7.8% the previous week to 8% this week, the department reported.
The Department of Health has reported just 28 deaths from COVID-19 statewide — a small number compared to the 181 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16.
Last week’s report:Florida COVID cases rise again as omicron BQ subvariants spread
Although there was a large discrepancy between the two agencies on COVID deaths, their case counts were similar, with the CDC reporting 11,828 new COVID cases. The federal agency reported a case rate of 55.1 per 100,000 people.
Between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, there were about 178 new hospital admissions in Florida due to COVID, according to the CDC.
Between Nov. 11 and Nov. 17, 3,698 people received their first dose of a COVID vaccine, while 2,848 people completed their series of vaccinations, according to the Florida Department of Health. In addition, 37,619 people received additional or booster doses.
The data comes just after Pfizer announced on Friday that its updated COVID-19 recall could help protect against newer omicron variants, even if the recall isn’t an exact match.
These boosters, deployed by Pfizer and Moderna in early September, targeted the BA.5 omicron strain, which was the most common COVID-19 strain until recently. However, with the increase in new parents of BA.5, Americans are wondering how effective the booster shots will be.
On Friday, Pfizer and partner BioNTech said the updated booster created antibodies that fight four additional omicron subtypes, including one of the now-dominant strains, BQ.1.1. Moderna also recently announced evidence that its updated booster helped create BQ.1.1 neutralizing antibodies.
As winter approaches, COVID-19 isn’t the only illness plaguing Floridians. More than half of US states have high or very high levels of the flu, which is unusually high for this start of the season, according to a government report on Friday. These states are mostly in the south and southwest, but the northeast, mid-west, and western states are also seeing a rapid increase.
According to CDC officials, flu hospitalization rates haven’t reached this level since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The most hospitalized people are adults 65 and older and children under 5. .
This unusually early flu surge comes as children’s hospitals are already dealing with an influx of RSV or respiratory syncytial virus cases. This virus causes cold-like symptoms and can be serious for infants and the elderly.
What do you want to know:About RSV, flu and virus myths
Despite the increase in flu cases, flu vaccinations have declined compared to previous years, possibly because the past two seasons have been mild. Shooting is recommended for almost anyone aged at least 6 months or older.
RSV can also be contracted by adults and can be dangerous for older people with chronic illnesses. There is not yet a vaccine against this disease, although some are in development.
As Thanksgiving approaches, an infectious disease expert has urged Americans to take precautions before gathering, suggesting it would be best to avoid public crowds, get tested for COVID-19 before seeing family or friends and wear masks indoors – especially if you are going to be around anyone who is elderly or frail.
“Nobody wants to bring a virus to the table,” said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University.
Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association urged the Biden administration to declare an emergency and mount a national response to the surge in pediatric respiratory disease.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.