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FL COVID Hospitalizations Up but Deaths are Down, Confounding Scientists

The following article, FL COVID Hospitalizations Up but Deaths are Down, Confounding Scientists, was first published on Flag And Cross.

Of all of the locales in the United States, perhaps none has been as uniquely positioned as Florida when it comes to combatting the COVID-19 crisis.

Helmed by Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida has regularly erred on the side of freedom when it comes to things like mask and vaccine mandates, allowing Floridians to make their own assessments when it comes to what risks they’ll take during this pandemic.

This has unsurprisingly led to a number of bouts of criticism from Democratic leaders who, for whatever reason, seem to be more interested in micromanaging their constituent’s daily COVID precautions.

But now a peculiar statistic is rising in Florida, and it has many wondering if DeSantis might be onto something.

With COVID cases skyrocketing, Florida is experiencing one of the worst waves of the omicron variant in the United States.

Yet Florida’s death rate over the past seven days is the second lowest in the country, after only Alaska. What’s going on?

Even as record COVID cases in the U.S. were reported last week, deaths dipped slightly, and still, Florida’s death rate is distinctly low, particularly in a state with a large, vulnerable elderly population.

So what in the world is going on?

Experts say several factors could explain the currently low rate: Florida’s horrific toll from delta and its acquired resistance and vaccination rates may be buffering the state at a time when others states are contending with two variants. Or, because of the way Florida reports COVID deaths, which already tend to lag infections and hospitalizations, the true death rate from this recent wave may be too soon to know.

“Florida had the worst or second-worst outbreak in the country for delta,” said Dr. Howard Forman, a Yale physician, professor, and COVID tracker. “Because of that, there are a lot of people in Florida with infection-acquired immunity and vaccine acquired immunity against delta. By the time the omicron wave came, Florida had almost no delta, where places like New York were just beginning a delta wave when omicron appeared.”

Only time will tell if Florida’s handling of the coronavirus crisis was truly advantageous for the Sunshine State, but we are certainly aware of just how unique it has been.

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