Numbers continue to show surge in Florida COVID-19 cases, deaths

The numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Florida continue to increase, with an additional 67,413 infections and 358 deaths reported between July 16 and July 22, according to data published Friday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 148 COVID-19 deaths reported to the federal government on Thursday, the highest daily number since June 7, when the state reported 190 fatalities. While the numbers were reported on those days, it is not clear exactly when the deaths occurred.

Thirty-eight percent of the new infections over the seven-day period came on Wednesday and Thursday when 12,647 and 13,256 cases were reported, respectively.

Florida is seeing a surge in cases and deaths as it grapples with the highly transmissible delta variant of the novel coronavirus and lagging vaccination rates. Hospital officials across the state say beds are filling up with COVID-19 patients.

The latest federal data show that 48.2 percent of Florida's population is fully vaccinated --- or slightly below the national average of 48.8 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 "data tracker" is updated daily. The latest numbers include information through Thursday, but they were posted by the federal agency on Friday afternoon,

The Florida Department of Health also issues weekly reports about COVID-19 testing, infections, and deaths. The information had been reported daily, but Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration decided in early June that it would publish updated data on a weekly basis.

At the time, DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, told The News Service of Florida that there was no longer a need to publish the information daily.

"COVID-19 cases have significantly decreased over the past year as we have a less than 5 percent positivity rate, and our state is returning to normal, with vaccines widely available throughout Florida," Pushaw said in a statement June 4.

But the pandemic has worsened in recent weeks. As of Wednesday, Florida's positivity rate over a seven-day period was 14.64 percent, the highest it’s been since July 31, 2020, when the seven-day positivity rate was 14.66 percent.

Florida is one of 14 states nationwide deemed to have a "high" level of community transmission of the virus.

The coronavirus, which can cause COVID-19, is spread through droplets and particles, including when infected people cough or sneeze. Additionally, people can get the virus on their hands and become infected by touching their eyes, nose or mouth. The virus has a number of strains, but most prominent currently is the highly viral delta variant.

Because of the timing of reporting and how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its tracker, information on the federal website could differ from what is reported by others, including the Florida Department of Health. Also, COVID-19 counts can be revised as more records are received and processed.