With COVID-19 case numbers exploding, some fear a repeat of 2020. Here’s what the numbers say.

ORLANDO, Fla. — As new COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rise once again, many people are wondering if we’re in for a repeat of 2020.

But even as the state ended 2021 breaking case number records, things are different compared to 2020, as more people are vaccinated against the virus.


At the end of 2020 only 211,000 people across Florida had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And at the end of 2021,15 million people – roughly 71% of eligible Floridians – were vaccinated.

“You can really see how vaccines have had a tremendous impact,” said local data statistician Dr. Eric Solomon.

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Solomon said if we were having the same disease rates, with the accelerated number of cases that we’re seeing last week in 2021, we would have had almost 15,000 new hospital admissions due to COVID-19.

And that was not the case. Roughly 4,000 people were hospitalized in Florida for COVID-19 the last week of the year.

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In 2021, though there were record hospitalizations and deaths with the delta variant in Florida, 90% of people hospitalized with that variant were unvaccinated.

Omicron does appear to be milder than delta, but again, more people are vaccinated and even boosted now. There have also been treatment advancements and hospital staff now know what they are up against.

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Solomon said the COVID-19 death rate in Florida at the end of 2020 was nearly 2% – now, at the end of 2021, it is 0.054%.

“With the rate of death that we saw at the end of 2020, last week, we would have seen over 5,000 deaths from the virus compared to the 162 deaths that we saw in reality,” Solomon said.

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So while cases are without a doubt exploding, and thousands of people are out of work with a positive result if they are vaccinated history shows the majority of them will fight off the virus at home.

According to the Florida Hospital Association, there are now more than 6,600 people currently hospitalized in Florida with COVID-19. That’s a 1,300 person increase since Monday. Officials said 169 of those cases are in children.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.