Prior to the onset of the flu season in September, I advanced the logic-based hypothesis that despite the warnings of a “twindemic”, we were likely to see COVID-19 replace the seasonal flu. That’s because COVID-19 is a virus spread exactly the same way as the traditional flu, but that’s far more contagious. My theory has played out as logic suggested and indeed flu spread is near non-existent, based on the CDC’s flu map.
Instead, we’ve experienced a COVID variant which is 56% more contagious than the original virus. As part of the logic, is the reality that the peak of the typical flu season is mid-February. For that reason, I’ve mentioned we should be prepared for COVID-19 cases to continue to rise, regardless of vaccinations, until at least then. To date, every aspect of my hypothesis has held, which is to say that as we’re mired in the peak of the pandemic right now, we need to be prepared for this potential reality.
But what is specifically happening and has happened in Florida during the pandemic? Well, Florida’s population is the third-largest nationally and right in line with our population, we rank third in total cases during the pandemic with just over 1.5 million diagnosed cases. Also, Florida’s total deaths rank 4th nationally with over 23,000. Lastly, Florida's contagion rate is below the national average with 70,002 COVID cases per 1 million in population compared to a national average of 70,982 cases.
Florida’s reality check shows we’ve experienced a total number of cases consistent with a state of our size. However, we’ve performed better than most with overall outcomes, which is especially notable given Florida’s older and more diverse demographics. Additionally, the spread of the virus has been lower than average in Florida, despite having a less restrictive policy in place than many states. I’ve often said if we’re going to have to ride out a pandemic, I’d rather do it in South Florida than anywhere else. That’s not only true from a quality-of-life consideration, it’s also evidenced that we’ve had less spread of the virus and better than average outcomes for those who have contracted the virus than most of the country as well.
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