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Florida among 4 states fueling latest COVID-19 wave as new cases nearly double

COVID-19 vaccines continue to be the most effective way to limit the spread of the virus.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The number of new COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida is about double than what was reported the previous week.

According to the Florida Department of Health, there were 45,604 new cases during the week of July 9-15. The percent positivity for new cases — 11.5 percent — climbed to a high not seen for months.

The previous week's percent positivity was 7.8 percent, with 23,562 cases reported.

But the more serious indicator of how coronavirus is spreading also is raising alarms. There are about 3,200 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across Florida — a 73-percent increase since June 14, when 1,845 people were hospitalized, according to The Associated Press.

An increasing number of hospitalizations throughout the pandemic has shown actual case counts are likely to climb in later reports.

There were 59 deaths related to COVID-19 during the most recent week.

   

Florida's recent spike in new COVID-19 cases is mostly among younger people who are less likely to be severely affected, Dr. Shamarial Roberson, the state’s deputy health secretary, told the AP. But it is Florida and four other states, including Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada, that are driving the country's latest wave of new infections, according to the White House COVID-19 Team's latest report.

Health officials fear the more infectious delta variant and gaps in vaccinations across the state could lead to more people falling ill. Just over 66 percent of adults in Florida have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All of the vaccines currently available "are effective against these current variants, [the U.K. and delta variants]," Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees told pediatricians earlier this week, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The pandemic is now "one that predominantly threatens unvaccinated people," White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Friday, the AP reports.

People 12 and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people 18 up. Visit the Florida Department of Health's website to find a vaccine location near you.

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