MIAMI—Florida is recording more Covid-19 cases than any other U.S. state, as hospitalizations in some areas increase at the fastest rate since the start of the pandemic.
The state accounts for one in five new infections in the U.S. and logged 67,413 cases over the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida had 314 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, second only to Louisiana. The weekly total of new cases reported by Florida jumped more than fourfold between July 1 and July 22, reaching its highest point since mid-January.
Epidemiologists say various factors are at play: large numbers of unvaccinated people, a relaxation of preventive measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus and the congregation of people indoors during hot summer months.
“All of those things together are a recipe for the data that we’re seeing,” said Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida. “It’s a cause for concern…the speed with which the indicators are going up.”
The number of people hospitalized in Florida has climbed steeply over the past month, reaching 3,849 on July 17, the largest tally since late February, according to a data dashboard created by Dr. Salemi. Patients are skewing younger, with 53% under age 60, compared with 30% at the start of the year.