The wonderful drop in cases we had enjoyed in June and early July has viciously given way to a brutal rise in August. The number of new weekly cases of COVID-19 has skyrocketed statewide to the highest levels ever recorded. In the State of Florida, we had 151,942 new cases last week thanks to the virulent Delta strain of COVID-19.
Fortunately, we haven’t set new records on fatalities statewide. Hopefully, that continues to be the case. We know that people who have been vaccinated do much better against the disease than those who have not been vaccinated. We know that nearly all of the fatalities from COVID-19 have been from unvaccinated individuals. Nevertheless, it’s the first time we’ve lost more than 1,000 people in Florida from COVID-19 in a week since February 21, 2021.
In Miami-Dade County, we had 21,658 new cases of COVID-19. That puts us at the same level of new cases we saw back in December of last year. Just a few weeks ago, we had less than 2,000 new weekly cases. This further shows how virulent the Delta strain has been.
The number 1 best thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones is get vaccinated. The vaccines have proven extremely effective at protecting the population. It doesn’t mean you can’t get COVID although it becomes far less likely. The vaccines also make it dramatically less likely you’ll need hospitalization should you get infected. And very few vaccinated people are dying from COVID. Again, nearly all the cases of fatalities are from unvaccinated people. Unfortunately, people are dying from a disease and they could have easily been saved if they had taken the vaccine beforehand.
The CDC says “the Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.” The CDC also stresses that unvaccinated people remain the main concern. In other words, if you’ve been hesitant to get vaccinated, don’t hesitate any further and get vaccinated.
From the beginning of this pandemic, age has been the number one risk factor. We’ve shared these stats to help you make informed decisions about the risk factors that affect you.
COVID-19 has a 9% case fatality rate for people 65 and older. That basically means if you’re in a hospital with 10 seniors with COVID, one of them is statistically not going to make it.
Furthermore, of the 40,766 Floridians who have died of COVID, 81% were 65 and older. Nearly 15% of COVID-19 deaths were from people between the age of 50 – 64 in the State of Florida. In other words, 96% of Florida fatalities were people 50 years old or older. However, people 50 years old and older only represented 33% of the total number of cases.
By contrast, 67% of Florida COVID-19 cases were from people under the age of 50. Yet this group only represents 4.6% of all the Florida fatalities.
What does this mean? People under 50 are at far less risk of complications from COVID than people over 50. It doesn’t mean that some people under 50 won’t have complications or that they can’t die from it. It just means it’s a lot less likely.
40 YEAR OLDS
The State of Florida has recorded 437,144 cases of COVID-19 among people between the ages of 40 – 49. This group represents 15% of all cases statewide. There have been 1,240 people in the State of Florida who have died from COVID in their 40s. That’s a 0.3% case fatality rate. To put it into perspective, that means 1 out of every 352 40 year olds with COVID-19 have died during this pandemic. This group represents 3% of all the COVID-19 fatalities during this pandemic.
30 YEAR OLDS
The State of Florida has recorded 464,749 cases of COVID-19 among people between the ages of 30 – 39. This group represents 17% of all cases statewide. There have been 451 people in the State of Florida who have died from COVID in their 30s. That’s a 0.09% case fatality rate. To put it into perspective, that means 1 out of every 1,097 30 year olds with COVID-19 have died during this pandemic. This group represents 1% of all the COVID-19 fatalities during this pandemic.
16 – 29 YEAR OLDS
The State of Florida has recorded more cases of COVID-19 among this group of young adults (ages 16 – 29) than any other group with 677,531 cases. This group represents 24% of all cases statewide. One out of every 4 cases of COVID-19 comes from a young adult 16 – 29 years of age.
Despite the sheer volume of cases with this group, there have only been 179 young adults between 16 – 29 who have died from COVID. That’s a 0.03% case fatality rate. To put it into perspective, that means 1 out of every 3,785 people between 16 – 29 year olds with COVID-19 have died during this pandemic in Florida. This group represents 0.4% of all the COVID-19 fatalities during this pandemic statewide.
The State of Florida has recorded 312,934 cases of COVID-19 among kids under the age of 16. This group represents 11% of all cases statewide. However, only 10 children under the age of 16 have died from COVID since the start of this pandemic. That’s a 0.003% case fatality rate. To put it into perspective, that means 1 out of every 31,293 kids with COVID-19 under 16 have died during this pandemic in Florida. This group represents 0.025% of all the COVID-19 fatalities during this pandemic statewide.
It has been documented from the beginning that men are more likely to die from COVID-19 than women. According to the State of Florida, the Case Fatality for women stands at 1.2%. However, the case fatality rate for men stands at 1.7%.
OTHER RISK FACTORS
According to the CDC, the following medical conditions put you more at risk to severe COVID-19 complications:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Chronic Lung Disease
- Moderate to Severe Asthma
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Dementia or other neurological conditions
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions
- Immunocompromised state
- Liver disease
- Overweight / Obesity
- Sickle cell disease
- Organ transplant
- Substance use disorder (alcoholic, opioid, drug use)
Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated.
Folks, we will get through this pandemic by herd immunity. Either via mass vaccinations or by large portions of our population catching this disease. There have been so many unfortunate fatalities where people ask on their death bed if they can get the vaccine. Once you’re hospitalized, it’s too late. Get the vaccine now while you have the chance.
If you decide not get the vaccine, then wear a mask. Masks are not as effective as the vaccine, but it’s better than nothing. The N-95 masks are the most effective.
If you are older, for Heaven’s sake, get vaccinated. And you know what, keep wearing a mask.
If you are younger, but have any of the medical conditions listed above, you should consult your physician to discuss the best options that keep you safe. At the end of the day, your physician will give you the best advice for your condition and your health risks.
If you’re young and healthy, go have fun and live life. But please, get vaccinated.
SIGNS OF HOPE
The State of Florida is reporting that 65% of people 12 and older have been vaccinated. That’s a positive sign. What’s even better for us in Miami-Dade County is that 83% of people in Miami-Dade County have been vaccinated. That is wonderful. It also helps to explain why Miami-Dade’s chart of new cases looks better than the statewide chart.
In fact, Miami-Dade County ranks as the County with the highest vaccination rate statewide. By comparison, counties like Calhoun (with a population the size of Miami Springs) only has a 34% vaccination rate.
If your child is under 12 and can’t get the vaccine, what should you do? First, check with your child’s pediatrician. Your pediatrician knows your child’s history and overall health risks. Your pediatrician is going to give you the best advice. Overall, unless your child has an underlying health condition, most healthy young kids are fine with COVID and have no complications. (NOTE: I didn’t say all. There’s always an exception.). But for the most part, thankfully, COVID-19 has spared young people. If you feel your child needs to wear a mask, please do so. But more importantly, make sure the people who live with the child that are able to get the vaccine are vaccinated. That’s the best thing you can do for your family.