LAKE MARY, Fla. - Florida is reporting over 45,600 new coronavirus cases since last week, a signal that COVID-19 cases are once again on the upward trend in the state.
Four states accounted for 40% of all new cases in the United States last week, with one in five coming from Florida, according to White House data.
The new weekly case numbers in the Sunshine State are almost double those reported in the previous week, which was 23,562.
Total COVID-19 positive cases reported in Florida since the start of the pandemic now stand at 2,406,809.
The numbers reflect a period following the long July 4th holiday weekend. One of Florida’s most significant COVID-19 surges also occurred last summer, but that was before health authorities had begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines. While this is the second week in a row that has seen COVID-19 cases surging, Gov. Ron DeSantis attributed the increase to a seasonal pattern.
"We knew it was going to be low in May and it was, and we know as we got to the end of June, July would go up, because that’s what happened last year," DeSantis said at a press conference in Orlando on Tuesday.
There were 59 COVID-related fatalities reported since last Friday, bringing the total number of deaths in Florida to 38,388.
It is not just the case numbers that going up in Florida, but there is also an increase in the positivity rate, which rose to 11.5%. The positivity rate stood at 7.8% the week prior and 5.2% before that.
The COVID-19 comeback across the U.S. is putting pressure on hospitals at a time when some of them are busy just trying to catch up on surgeries and other procedures that were put on hold during the pandemic.
Hospital admissions have climbed about 36% across the U.S. over the last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.
The director of the CDC says the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. is becoming "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."
Speaking during a White House briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky says cases in the U.S. are up about 70% over the last week and deaths rose by 26%. Nearly all hospital admissions and deaths, she says, are among the unvaccinated.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients echoed the pandemic is "one that predominantly threatens unvaccinated people."
He says the Biden administration expects cases to increase in the weeks ahead because of spread in communities with low vaccination rates.
The most recent CDC data shows that 57.1% of Florida’s adult-age population is fully vaccinated.
Florida Democrats have been clamoring for DeSantis to more actively call on people to get vaccinated, noting the efforts undertaken by other Republican governors.
But DeSantis has been dismissive of healthcare authorities and has maintained that their past predictions and edicts surrounding COVID-19 have been flawed.
He has recently begun to ratchet up his criticism of Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The governor targeted Fauci during a speech this week at a summit organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group.
"I didn’t get elected to simply subcontract out leadership to some health bureaucrat," DeSantis said.
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