ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Compared to the other 49 states, Florida has the highest number of cases right now.
If you account for population and look at daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000, the state is still near the top, a close second to Louisiana.
“It is extraordinary,” said local data scientist Eric Solomon. “If you count the initial surge that we got when the virus first came out, this is our fifth surge.”
The spike now is similar to what we saw last summer, with more than 10,000 cases recorded a day.
But why is Florida different from everyone else?
Dr. Cindy Prins, an epidemiology professor at the University of Florida, said the state’s vaccination rate is a “major contributor to why Florida is seeing the surge.”
About 50% of the state is fully vaccinated, which falls in line with the national average, but it’s still low and too many people remain unprotected.
“This is a surge that is almost entirely (the) unvaccinated population,” Solomon said.
Doctors said unvaccinated people have joined those who are fully vaccinated in taking off their masks and going back to normal.
Prins said tourists aren’t necessarily contributing much to the spike.
“I think that there can be some contribution, but I think that really, largely, we’re dealing with a problem within the state,” she said. “It’s related to just overall behavior of Floridians in a place where we’re not vaccinating enough.”
Last week the state saw a 7% increase in the number of vaccinations in the state, Solomon said.
But the situation will likely get worse before it gets better.
“We’re not in a good place at the moment,” Prins said. “And unfortunately, I think we’re going to continue on that trend for a while.”
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