Record Hospitalizations in Florida

It's not just cases.

For anyone who might be prone to say that it’s “just cases” in response to the current surge of Covid-19 infections in Florida, note: Florida breaks record for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

A day after the state recorded the most new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, Florida on Sunday broke a previous record for current hospitalizations set more than a year ago before vaccines were available.

The Sunshine State had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The previous record was from July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations started becoming widespread, when Florida had 10,170 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

Note the unfortunate fact that hospitalizations lag cases, so the record hospitalizations are not the direct result of the record cases. Those new cases have not had time to translate into hospitalizations as yet.

Florida is now leading the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19, as hospitals around the state report having to put emergency room visitors in beds in hallways and others document a noticeable drop in the age of patients.

In the past week, Florida has averaged 1,525 adult hospitalizations a day, and 35 daily pediatric hospitalizations. Both are the highest per capita rate in the nation, according to Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida.

Almost all of these people needing hospitalization are unvaccinated:

“We’re seeing unprecedented numbers of patients, over 96% of whom have not been previously vaccinated,” said Tom VanOsdol, president and CEO of Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast.

This current situation was avoidable.

Florida’s surge is quite evident in the data.

The case surge is remarkable:

Deaths have also rapidly climbed, but thankfully are nowhere near records, but the trend is unfortunately unlikely to reverse given the case and hospitalization surges.

FILED UNDER: Health, US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Teve says:

    My Trumper county in Fl, vaxx numbers:

    All residents 29%
    12+ 34%
    18+ 36%
    65+ 66%

    And 5 surrounding counties—Baker, Union, Gilchrist, Suwannee, and Hamilton—are worse. Alachua, to the south, is much higher, because University of Florida and people with IQs above 85.

  2. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: Be careful when you’re out and about, my friend.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Putting the “Duh!” in Flori.

  4. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: oh I’m at Panera Right Now. I’m resigned to getting it. 29% vaxxed in my county? Of course Imma get it. I just hope I don’t get a Long version.

  5. charon says:

    Sophia Villarraga was hospitalized in Miami for COVID a week shy of her 12th birthday. Her parents did everything right, they were both vaccinated & wore masks, but Florida is inundated w/COVID – 21,683 new cases, a new daily record for the entire pandemic

  6. Mikey says:

    @Teve: If you’re vaxxed and maintain the other protective measures, don’t resign yourself to getting it. You’ll become careless and raise your likelihood. Breakthrough infections do happen but they are still very rare. Your chances of avoiding infection are still very good.

  7. Teve says:

    @Mikey: I’m not clear on whether the vaccine lets you typically fight off a potential infection before it takes hold, or allows it to take hold but get cleared quickly and with less damage.

  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Or maybe the “die” in “Flora” (and I recall your neck of the woods plays a role in that lyric, too).

  9. Teve says:

    @Teve: it looks like the former is true, and the latter happens but like <.1% of the time.

  10. charon says:


    There is some confusion about the definition of “infection,” not everyone is on the same page.

  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Note the unfortunate fact that hospitalizations lag cases…

    …and, obviously, deaths lag hospitalizations.
    So record hospitalizations, before the record cases even hit. Record deaths are predictable.
    And this is Florida, where the data transparency is nill.
    Well played, Republicans.

  12. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: DeSantis may kill off enough of his base to ruin his reelection.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    In a logical world, and I realize that isn’t one we live in, advocating and implementing policies that injure, kill your constituents, should end your political career. But I don’t see that happening.

  14. charon says:


    DeSantis may kill off enough of his base to ruin his reelection.

    I hazard a guess the Villarraga family might not be huge fans.

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:


    We’ve always referred to them as “Floridiots” 🙂

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Realistically, I have heard both, as a function of the degree of retained antibodies in the body and other factors (general health, etc.). Generally speaking, and I’m generalizing because I’m a non-doctor paraphrasing doctors – vaccination serves to mostly prevent you from becoming infected, but in the odd event that you are infected anyway, the course of the disease is much milder and hospitalization / death is much less likely. Short version: you’re less likely to become ill, and less likely to suffer material harm if you somehow do. It’s a no brainer. Hoping you stay well down there.

  17. Kathy says:


    I define infection as when a pathogen gets a foothold inside the body. When a virus enters and begins to invade cells and reproduce, but is first controlled and then cleared off the body in a short time, say hours or a day, as happens after vaccination, that is not an infection.

    You can see this in common cold season. You get sick, and give the virus to some of your coworkers. By the time you recover, some of your coworkers are still sick, but they don’t give the cold back to you. the short-term immunity you just gained protects you this much, even though you’re exposed to the pathogen again.

  18. Teve says:

    @HarvardLaw92: based on what i read at the CDC this morning, i have a clearer picture now. It looks like the vaccine prevents the infection from taking hold 99.9% of the time, and if you still get infected, keeps you out of the hospital 95% of the time.

  19. Modulo Myself says:


    I was exposed to someone with Covid last week for about 5 minutes on 2 separate occasions. I was inside, with A/C on, and masked with a N95 (luckily, I just started doing that two weeks ago) and my tests came back negative.

    I think it’s definitely avoidable if you take precautions, and if you are fortunate.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    My wife and I just had to run a full-court press to bully my likely future son-in-law to get the shot. We love this kid, but he’s an example of a reluctant Latino, not a Trumpie.

  21. Just nutha says:

    @Teve: from your lips to God’s ears.

  22. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Just out of curiosity, why is he reluctant? I’m assuming he’s intelligent and well-informed, so…?

  23. CSK says:

    Headline at CCN just now:

    “Less than 1% of fully vaccinated have breakthrough infections.”

  24. Scott says:

    @charon: @Kathy:

    This is where I have a little confusion myself. Is infection in the case of COVID defined solely on a positive test? Or is infection defined as COVID actually acting negatively on a body? We all have various pathogens (most of hospital employees test positive for staph, for example) residing in our nasal passage but we don’t consider ourselves infected. Have we got to the point where the sensitivity of the tests have to be dialed back so as to not overstate the rate of infection?

    I have only heard this discuss once so I really don’t know the answer?

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    DeSantis may kill off enough of his base to ruin his reelection.

    You gotta hand it to Trump and DeSantis and a bunch of other Republican executives…Jim Jones was a lightweight compared to these folks. He only convinced ~900 to kill themselves. These Republicans are up over 400,000 Americans who didn’t need to die.
    Only Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee have killed more Americans.

  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    He’s not a likely PhD candidate, and hasn’t explained – beyond the ‘no time’ bullshit. We suspect his parents (who we have not met) are pulling the other direction. They’re first gen Salvadoran immigrants, and, as there is a rather wide gap between our economic situation and theirs, and as we already act as our daughter’s ATM, we are trying not to step on toes by pushing any more than strictly necessary.

    One of the many downsides of parenting is that someone comes along who does more to determine your kids’ happiness than you do, so that you’re both vulnerable and all-but powerless. I laid down the law to my in-laws early on: we are us and you are not – there’s a bubble that only holds two. My daughter got my work ethic (good) and, annoyingly, my screw-you defiance, which is the irony gods just fucking with me.

    He’s a good kid. He was the produce guy at the grocery store where my daughter works. And you have to love a kid who knows when a squash is ripe. But at the same time this little prick better not die and break my daughter’s heart or I’ll stab him on his death bed.

  27. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Spoken like a true father.

    I wonder why the kid’s parents object?

  28. gVOR08 says:


    DeSantis may kill off enough of his base to ruin his reelection.

    The mortality rate is too low. But I see my local, south Sarasota and Charlotte counties, paper is now willing to editorialize against DeUseless and sentiment expressed in letters to the editor seem to be shifting. But I’m still one of a handful of masks in Publix. Bought a car last week. The dealer’s doing what many businesses are, we wore masks so the peddler ran and got one.

  29. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: in 2018 DeSantis beat Gillum by 0.4%, and in Trumper counties ~40% of Seniors aren’t vaxxed. And the case fatality rate for seniors is many times higher than for 45-yros like me. Amd there are 463 days til the election. So it’s possible…

  30. Barry says:

    @Teve: I figure that in the end’s who they blame + voter suppression.

  31. mattbernius says:


    I wonder why the kid’s parents object?

    There’s a lot of misinformation in those communities. And, depending on their status, there’s a general fear of any program that the US government/State is pushing. Add to that really negative past experience with their country of origin governments and it’s really easy for rumors to spread.

    That’s why, among other reasons, California has one of the lowest participation rates in SNAP programs in the country — especially among folks who speak English as a second language.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: that lyric,

    ?? Don’t recall it.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I have some Arkansas caver friends who refer to tourists from the cities as “cidiots”. All too often that jibe is very fitting.

  34. Kathy says:


    Look at it this way:

    When you get a cut, either shallow or deep, what do you do? You clean it and bandage it, in order to keep it from getting infected.

    This means there are bacteria all over and now they can enter through the wound. Cleaning it with a disinfectant, or soap and water, reduces that threat where the disinfectant can reach. Bandaging, or placing a band-aid on it, prevents further contamination. but some bugs got in, and some might be dangerous. Your immune system should be able to deal with the rest.

    Even cleaning without disinfectant or even soap can work. See weapon salve. The theory was all wrong, sympathetic magic, but the process involved cleaning the wound of blood and damaged tissue. That helped.

    As to your question, I’d say it depends on whether it’s the result of asymptomatic infection. As we’ve learned, this si where the pathogen sets up shop inside you and does their thing, while not producing any symptoms or disease of any kind.

  35. dazedandconfused says:


    I’m not clear on whether the vaccine lets you typically fight off a potential infection before it takes hold, or allows it to take hold but get cleared quickly and with less damage.

    It’s the later. Read about how the vaccine works and see a lot about T cells and macrophages. They do not form a wall over the cells lining the surfaces of our reparatory system, and the virus infects those cells. They work inside the circulatory and lymphatic system, identify the cells that have been converted into virus factories, and kill them. Infection is what sets them off, so vaccinated people do get infected and that’s why they are discovering that vaccinated people can show comparable virus loads in testing.

    What the current data does not show is for how long vaccinated people are themselves infectious. That takes much more testing, and that date isn’t available. It’s also somewhat moot in terms of ending the pandemic. It’s enough to know that vaccinated and/or previously infected people can spread this too.

    It’s all but certain vaccinated people are not infectious for as long as unvaccinated people are in general, but then again most unvaccinated young people have immune systems which kill this infection off just about as quick as vaccinated people, so that will be difficult to statistically determine.

  36. Teve says:

    @dazedandconfused: I think it’s the former based on the low positivity of antigen tests, and I Will Not read up on how B/T/etc work because I don’t remember Immunology & Serology being fun the First time I took it. 😛

  37. CSK says:

    Thanks. That should have occurred to me.

  38. dazedandconfused says:


    “I define infection as when a pathogen gets a foothold inside the body. When a virus enters and begins to invade cells and reproduce, but is first controlled and then cleared off the body in a short time, say hours or a day, as happens after vaccination, that is not an infection.”

    The problem with that definition is that for that brief period in which the virus has successfully entered a few cells and converted them into virus factories, one is infectious, whether or not one shows symptoms. The result is, under that definition of the term, one can be infectious but not infected. Confusing and clumsy language, is it not?

    A vaccine which trains the and primes the body to kill off an infection quickly is always some form of the pathogen which is not infectious, and one is not actually infected by the real thing, so that analogy is flawed.

  39. mattbernius says:

    No worries, I recently switched into working on these sorts of issues at Code for America, so I’m doing a deep dive into exclusion within these communities.

  40. EddieInCA says:


    What I predicted on the pages of this blog two weeks ago is what is currently happening. When I was in Arkansas, I was often the only one masked in public. There were a few times where I refused to get into an jammed elevator with 7-8 unmasked people. No thanks. I waited until I was the only passenger. One night it took me more than 20 mins waiting for an empty elevator.

    It’s going to get a whole lot worse in many of the red states. The blue states are also going to have issues, but mostly in the minority communities – for the reasons others have stated already on this thread.

  41. CSK says:

    Well, I appreciate all the rational info I can get.

  42. dazedandconfused says:


    Here’s another way to describe it, using your terminology:

    In Typhoid Mary typhus had “taken hold”, she was loaded with it. By a freak of nature, it just didn’t harm her in any way, yet unaffected isn’t uninfected.

  43. Kathy says:


    I find problems with every definition.

    Perhaps it would be more useful to define stages of infection, from the pathogen entering the body to how it spreads by leaving it, and several stages in between, which would vary in vaccinated vs unvaccinated subjects, and might vary between breakthrough infection vs unvaccinated people.

    I’m fond of saying biology is messy. There’s a reason for that.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The way I used to hear it on the kids show that played the song about 5o-KLANNNNNNGGG years ago was

    How did Flora die, boys [repeat 3 times]/ she died in Misery boys [repeat 3 times]

    I believe the first verse started “What did Tenna see boys” but I don’t remember what the answer was. Almost 30 years ago now, I searched for the lyrics on the interwebs because I needed to know the song because kids in Spokane sometimes sang it in music class, but mostly kids don’t sing in music class any more (and certainly not old folk songs when the do; I’m an anachronism 🙁 ).

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: A smarter sales person keeps one in his pocket so he can put it on just before you notice him. 😉

  46. liberal capitalist says:

    I tried to communicate to my Floridian neighbors… Almost to a person: brick wall.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  47. dazedandconfused says:

    Indeed, but we have symptomatic and asymptomatic to describe the infected.

  48. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: ” I waited until I was the only passenger. One night it took me more than 20 mins waiting for an empty elevator.”

    Are there actually buildings in Arkansas so tall it would take more than 20 minutes to go up the stairs?

  49. Roger says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I believe the first verse started “What did Tenna see boys” but I don’t remember what the answer was.

    I’m old enough to know she saw what Arkan saw.