Triple-Digit Heat Hits Florida, Driving People Inside as COVID Spikes

Heat indexes hit triple digits in some parts of Florida on Monday, driving some people inside as COVID-19 cases surge in the state due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

In Orlando, the heat index peaked at 102 degrees just before 2 p.m. The actual temperature was 92, according to the National Weather Service. The heat index stayed in the low 100s or high 90s before cooling to 85 by the mid-afternoon. Tampa experienced similar conditions.

The heat index in Miami peaked around noon at about 106 degrees and remained in the 90s for much of the day.

The warm temperatures are expected to continue throughout the week, according to the weather service's forecast. They are expected to remain in the 90s and may again hit 100 on Thursday in Orlando.

In Miami, the heat index is forecasted to remain in the low 100s during the afternoon throughout the week.

During hot weather, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying "in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can," according to its website.

The high temperatures come as COVID-19 cases in Florida surge. On Friday, the state had a 7-day average of 15,818 new cases. At the end of June, just over a month earlier, the state had a 7-day average of 1,578 new cases.

Monday, the 7-day average of new cases was 27,681, compared to 2,241 one month earlier on July 2, according to data from John Hopkins University.

On Sunday, Florida reported its highest single-day COVID-19 case number since the start of the pandemic with 21,683 new cases, topping its previous high of 19,334 on January 7.

Vaccinations have also been trending upward in Florida, according to the John Hopkins data. The 7-day vaccination average Monday was 69,766 new vaccinations per day, compared to 46,499 two weeks earlier on July 19.

Due to the significant increase of COVID-19 cases across the nation, the CDC now recommends that people, including those who are vaccinated, wear face masks in areas of substantial or high transmission."

"Preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others," the CDC's website says. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has rejected the idea of reinstating a mask mandate amid the surge.

"I just want to say, in Florida, there will be no lockdowns. There will be no school closures. There will be no restrictions, and no mandates in the state of Florida," DeSantis, a Republican, said Friday.

Newsweek reached out to the CDC for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Heat indexes in Florida are expected to be in the triple digits this week, as the Delta variant causes a surge in new COVID-19 cases. Above, a healthcare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine in Miami on July 26, 2021. Joe Raedle/Getty Images