Florida COVID-19 caseload falls to lowest levels since early in 2020 pandemic

 COVID UPDATEBy the end of November, 13 million Floridians were fully vaccinated, representing 62% of the population.

By Scott Powers
Florida Politics

Fewer Floridians caught COVID-19 in November than in any month since the very beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic — spring of 2020.

The latest federal data show Florida reported 42,879 confirmed cases during November, the lowest monthly caseload since May 2020, before the first summer surge of 2020 hit Florida.

The health data also show the 2,042 COVID-19 deaths recorded in Florida during November. That was the lowest monthly toll in several months but still higher than what Florida experienced in the early summer of 2021 before the delta-driven second summer surge of 2021 ravaged Florida.

In the spring of 2020, the newly-emerging COVID-19 virus crept up on Florida slowly through the first couple of months. Florida reported 26,874 cases in April 2020 and 21,586 in May 2020. The first summer surge then hit, and Florida topped 100,000 new cases for the first time in June 2020. Through two summer surges, a winter surge, and drop-offs in the autumns and spring, the Sunshine State did not fall below 50,000 cases in a single month again.

Until last month — when the state reported just 42,879 cases.

Florida’s caseload has plummeted dramatically this autumn. Florida reported 74,056 cases in October, 307,079 in September, and the state’s worst, 678,804, in August.

To track monthly totals, Florida Politics relied on state data for the first 15 months of the coronavirus pandemic, as the Florida Department of Health was posting daily reports of cases and deaths, making monthly totals easy to tabulate. However, after June 2, Florida posted only weekly reports, which did not make monthly tabulations possible. By that time, though, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted almost daily updates for states, based on state reports to the CDC. So Florida Politics relied on federal data for months starting with June 2021, through the most recent report posted Friday, which included data through the end of November.

The coronavirus pandemic reached Florida in March 2020.

COVID-19 deaths tend to lag several weeks behind reports of cases, so November’s death toll is more reflective of the severity of the pandemic in October. December’s death toll should be far lower.

Nonetheless, Florida’s death toll also has fallen dramatically. November’s 2,042 newly-reported COVID-19 fatalities were down from 4,486 reported deaths in October and 10,440 in September.

As recently as July 2021, only 1,166 COVID-19 deaths were reported, though reported fatalities topped 4,000 per month during the surges in late winter and the summer of 2020.

Whether the new COVID-19 variant, omicron, leads to a second winter surge is to be seen. By the end of November, 13 million Floridians were fully vaccinated, representing 62% of the population. Of them, 20% also had received a booster shot.

This article was republished with permission from Florida Politics, which offers the Sunshine State’s most in-depth coverage of campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying.

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