Is Florida’s latest COVID-19 wave over?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

COVID in Florida, small businesses hit with back rent, the Peace Corps, why your summer hotel room might be falling apart and more in today's edition of the Florida Coronavirus Watch Newsletter. The newsletter comes out every Monday and Thursday or as urgent news dictates.

Here's what's happening

- Is Florida’s latest COVID-19 wave over? Maybe, according to the state's numbers. We saw a big drop in new infections reported from the state last week: 67,807 new COVID infections documented, about 7,000 fewer new cases than the week before (this does not include positive cases from at-home tests). It’s a sign that the latest COVID wave, driven by mutations of the coronavirus’ omicron strain, may be crashing. The highly transmissible, airborne pathogen has caused more than 6.5 million infections statewide since the start of the pandemic.

However, Florida also reported more COVID-19 deaths than anywhere else in the U.S. since June 1, according to CDC data. Health officials documented 1,271 deaths, followed by California, the nation’s most populous state, at 1,076.

In the latest week COVID-19 cases in Florida were at 113% of what the CDC says is a high level of community transmission. A Sunday report said the state had 3,988 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds, up from 3,732 a week earlier.

Florida is a retirement haven, with an average resident older than people from other states. COVID is especially deadly to the elderly, who account for most of its fatalities. At the same time, Gov. Ron DeSantis has discouraged vaccinations, banned inoculation requirements in businesses and governments and fought the Biden administration’s immunization mandates for medical staff, including nursing home workers.

Elsewhere COVID cases are still on the rise. Eighteen states reported more cases in the week of June 30-July 7 than in the week before, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, with hospitals in 40 states reporting more COVID patients than a week earlier. Thirty-eight states had more patients in intensive care beds, and 17 states reported more deaths than a week earlier. Here's an update on the state of the pandemic in the U.S., and what's going on with the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

- Jobs are coming back after the worst of the pandemic, but small businesses aren't out of danger yet. Landlords were lenient about rent payments during the first two years of the pandemic. Now, many are asking for back rent, and some are raising the current rent as well. (How's the job market right now? Unemployment is holding steady just above a 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday. USA TODAY has a chart on how well the U.S. has recovered from COVID job losses for its subscribers.)

- Another thing coming back? The Peace Corps. Atlantic Beach resident Katherine "Kaydee" Gavron will be among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s COVID-19 evacuation in March 2020. The agency suspended global operations and evacuated about 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries.

- Some hotels are in desperate need of a post-pandemic upgrade. After a long pandemic, many hotels are run-down and in desperate need of renovation. If you aren't careful, you could stay in one this summer. Here's what hotel owners should be doing, and what you should do if your room is unlivable. But even if the building is in good shape, it may be a mess because...

- Since the pandemic many hotels stopped daily housekeeping, and housekeepers are paying the price. Industry insiders say the move away from daily cleaning, which gained traction during the pandemic, is driven by customer preferences. But others say it has more to do with profit and has allowed hotels to cut the number of housekeepers at a time when many of the mostly immigrant women who take those jobs are still reeling from lost work during coronavirus shutdowns.

What do you want to know about COVID-19? You ask, we'll try to answer

From a reader: "I've had two boosters of the Moderna vaccine. Now Walgreens has notified me that I'm eligible for another booster on August 2nd. I have not seen anything about a third booster shot. Is this recommended?"

I haven't seen anything about a third booster. If you're getting Moderna, the CDC still recommends one booster for people 18 and older at least five months after completing your initial vaccination series, and a second booster at least four months after that for adults 50 and older or people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. No mention of a third, yet, and nothing yet on when or if that booster age eligibility might be expanded. (The Walgreens page on booster shots doesn't mention a third booster, either.)

Now, people who are immunocompromised should get a third dose during the initial vaccination instead of the two shots, but that's not a booster, that would be considered part of their initial vaccination. And vaccine manufacturers are working on reformulated boosters for the fall to specifically target omicron variants such as BA.4 and BA.5, so there may be more boosters coming. Maybe Walgreens' notification system is on automatic? If anyone has heard differently, please let me know and I'll pass it on.

Anything you'd like to know? Ask your questions here.

COVID info center




Thank you for reading! We appreciate you trusting our statewide journalists to keep you safe and informed. If you are encouraged by our work and want to support your local journalists, please consider subscribing. Know someone who would benefit from this newsletter? Forward this email so they can sign up.

Chris' note of the day: How was your weekend? Between the rain, the regular afternoon thunderstorms freaking out my dog and the heat keeping me inside and lethargic, our yard has gotten more jungle-like than ever. Which is fine. We've always strived to have the home in the neighborhood that the kids avoid and tell each other stories about.

In other personal news, the cat seems to be recovered from having chunks cut off her (she had a tumor, which turned out to be breast cancer, removed) and is much happier we stopped making her wear an infant onesie to keep her away from her incisions. Dignity is important, to a cat.

Here's what else is happening with the coronavirus in Florida today.

— C. A. Bridges,

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Is Florida’s latest COVID-19 wave over?