Florida COVID Cases Are Rising Faster Than Any Other State

COVID-19 cases in Florida are rising faster than in any other U.S. state, days after the first cases of the Omicron variant were discovered there.

According to data from The New York Times as of Monday, the sunshine state saw a 185 percent increase in average daily COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days. It now records on average 1,941 cases a day.

This compares to a nationwide increase in average daily COVID infections of 43 percent over the last two weeks.

On average, it is seeing 1,404 people hospitalized with COVID-19 each day, according to the New York Times data. This number has increased by six percent over the last 14 days.

Florida has been the subject of some of the United States' most devastating COVID-19 waves over the course of the pandemic. More than 62,000 people have died of the disease there.

Florida is 62 percent fully vaccinated, according to the Times data. It is one of a small handful of states that ensures that if someone refuses a vaccine, they remain eligible for unemployment benefits if they lose their job over their views.

Governor Ron DeSantis has repeatedly tried to thwart vaccine mandates.

On December 2, Florida Republicans led by DeSantis escalated their fight against President Joe Biden's coronavirus vaccine mandate for businesses by saying that they will offer taxpayer dollars to businesses that defy the mandate.

Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19 discovered by South African scientists that seems to be more transmissible than previous strains of the virus, was detected in Florida last week. The variant has been detected in at least three people in the state, according to local news reports.

The highly-mutated strain of the virus has been found at least 30 states and 69 counties. New York Times data as of December 12 shows that the variant has been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The data shows that globally, Omicron has been found in 68 countries.

South African scientists have suggested that Omicron might be milder than Delta in terms of the severity of the disease it causes, but scientists including World Health Organization COVID lead Maria Van Kerkhove have warned that it's too soon to know for sure.

The UK recorded the world's first known death from the Omicron variant on Monday, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people should "set on one side" the idea that the new variant is milder than other variants and instead focus on its high rate of transmission.

Florida woman gets COVID vaccine
A woman receives a shot of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination center at the beach, in South Beach, Florida, on May 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases in Florida are rising faster than in any other U.S. state. Eva Marie Uzacategui/Getty