COVID-19 cases declining in Florida as immunity increases; doctors continue to encourage vaccination

COVID vaccine AP
Posted at 4:52 PM, Sep 27, 2021

As vaccination rates climb across the nation, and across Florida, case numbers are declining. Only weeks ago, Florida was leading the nation in terms of case numbers, but things have changed drastically in the last few weeks with case numbers cut more than in half in the Sunshine State.

But experts warn, we must keep working.

“We’ve seen now as we were well over 21,000 cases per day, we’re now under 7,700 cases a day over the past 7 days,” said Dr. Jason Salemi, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at USF Health.

Dr. Salemi, who runs his own COVID-19 dashboard, says trends show Florida is down more than 40 percent when it comes to new daily COVID-19 cases just in the last 2 weeks.

“We’ve gone from leading the nation in number of new cases per capita to now ranking 30th highest,” said Dr. Salemi.

A welcome change reflected in nearly every age group. Testing remains high, so the positivity rate in the state is decreasing too.

“From over 20 percent, which is a pretty astonishing number, to now just under 9 percent,” said Dr. Salemi.

And when it comes to hospitalizations, he says the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is down 56 percent in the last month.

These changes are largely attributable to increased immunity in Florida.

“Vaccination obviously is the easiest and safest and most effective way of getting immunization, but getting naturally infected also makes somebody immune,” said Dr. Michael Teng, a virologist at USF Health.

While the vaccination rate continues to climb in the United States, Dr. Teng says it’s important that the rest of the world gets vaccinated too.

“All the variants that we’ve gotten that have caused these large waves of infection have come from somewhere else. Right, the D614G came from Europe, alpha came from the U.K., delta came from India, so it’s not just about vaccinating us, it’s about making sure that everybody’s vaccinated,” said Dr. Teng.

And while we’re edging closer to normal, these doctors warn there’s still work to be done.

“It’s that last mile that’s the hardest. So we need to really push forward through that last mile,” said Dr. Teng.

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