Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Florida is now topping its worst COVID-19 infection and hospitalization numbers of the pandemic

The Florida Hospital Association reported 10,389 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday, the highest statewide number of the pandemic, two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Florida had registered more than 21,000 new coronavirus infections on Friday, the state's highest one-day total. Florida's previous hospitalization record, set July 23, 2020, was 10,170, the hospital association said.

The Delta variant is driving the sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases in Florida and across the U.S. Florida accounts for roughly 20 percent of new U.S. cases.

About 95 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, says Mary Mayhew, chief executive of the Florida Hospital Association. And with the age of sick COVID-19 patients dropping amid the Delta surge, "we have to convince 25-year-olds, 30-year-olds that this is now life threatening for them," she told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday. "That is not what they saw and what we experienced last year."

The average age of Floridians hospitalized with COVID-19 is now 42 years old, NBC News' Vaughn Hillyard reported Monday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and his representatives point to the lower age of infected Floridians as proof of the wisdom of getting the large majority of people 65 and older fully vaccinated first. 

DeSantis "has been at the forefront of the Republican effort to find a middle ground between his party's stated opposition to measures aimed at containing the virus and keeping case totals low," and "he has been more vocal than many about the need for widespread vaccinations," Philip Bump writes at The Washington Post. "If there is a silver lining here, it's this: The surge in cases may be doing what DeSantis wasn't able to. Since June 21, the state has recorded an increase in daily vaccinations." Also encouraging is "the fact that — so far, at least — the increase in cases and hospitalizations hasn't led to significant increases in deaths," Bump adds. 

But aside from the jump in vaccinations, Florida "is trending in the wrong direction in almost every other measurable COVID-19 category," Politico reports. "Last week, Florida reported 110,477 new cases, which is a nearly 600 percent increase from the 15,998 new cases reported just four weeks earlier. Over the past month, the statewide positivity rate has jumped from 5.3 to 18.1 percent," even as DeSantis "has maintained a strict 'no-mandate' approach" to COVID-19. 

PBS spoke to one frustrated Miami-area doctor on Monday's NewsHour.