WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As Floridians gather to share what they're thankful for, COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization numbers are down in our state compared to this time last year.
According to the CDC, the statewide first-time positivity rate was 7.1% daily last Thanksgiving, but this year it's at 2.5% weekly. Health officials have aimed to keep it below 5 percent.
Fewer Floridians are hospitalized with the coronavirus compared with last Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day 2020, 3,723 Floridians were hospitalized compared with 1,381 this year. It reached as high as 17,295 in August.
While no COVID-19 vaccine was available last year, now 15,318,838 Floridians have had at least one dose. That's 71% of total population, 83.0% of adults, 81.2% of those 12 and older, 74.% of those 5 and older.
However in 2021 overall, Florida also saw many more COVID-19 deaths. In 2020, Florida reported 18,254 COVID-19 deaths with an average of 69 per day. In 2021, Florida has reported 42,893 more deaths with an average of 117 a day for a total of 61,147.
The most recent weekly averages were 523 in 2020 and 384 this year.
Florida ranks the third-highest in the nation for COVID-19 deaths behind California (73,365) and Texas (72,381).
It also had the third-highest total number of COVID-19 cases — 3,684,332 — again behind California (4,780,867) and Texas (4,300,466). The total average cases per day is 5,866.
In 2020, there were 961,322 cases of residents (3,560 per day). Since last year, there have been 7,460 cases per day.
The most recent seven-day average is 10,577 compared with 53,592.
Florida also is among the top 10 states in per capita death rates from COVID-19, at 284 deaths per 100,000 people. Its rate is higher than Texas and California.
Much of the increase in total deaths and cases this year is attributed to the Delta variant that emerged during the summer.