COVID-19 cases are increasing around the world, in the USA, and in Florida. In Florida, cases have been rising for the last 5 weeks albeit at a slower rate than many northern states as temperatures have cooled and activities have moved indoors slowly in the Sunshine State. In Florida, the push to reopen the economy and especially schools have exacerbated the problem. Since schools have reopened in August it is clear that kids can get infected and high school kids are as likely to get infected as the general population (see graph below).
College kids and young adults are nearly twice as likely to get infected since they are more mobile and are less risk-averse in general. While younger kids appear to be less contagious than older kids, their infection rates have been going up with the general population and for kids of elementary school age (5 – 10) it is now about 45% that of the average population. Even though kids (<18 yrs old) are unlikely to die from COVID-19 (in fact none have died in the last month), a significant portion does get sick. 107 out of 10.7k kids (<18), or 1.0%, have been hospitalized in the last month. 69 FL kids (<18) have been diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome for children (MIS-C) so far this year. Perhaps more concerning is that the asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases go on to silently infect others (parents, grandparents, and teachers) – increasing the hospitalization and death toll in the community. We are beginning to see this in the recent increase in the median age of those infected from a low of 35 years old touched at the beginning of September to 39 recently (see figure below). A similar transfer from young to old occurred this past summer and led to a record surge in deaths.
This shift to the older generation has resulted in a 24% increase in currently hospitalized from a low of 2,005 reached 10/18 to 2,489 on 11/4 (see figure below).
Death counts are currently near a 4-month low near 40 cases per day (see figure below). However, the increased case counts and hospitalizations have led us to forecast death counts will increase soon for the third time this year. All this happening before the start of the truly cold weather season bode ill for Florida in the coming months.