At 27 new infections per 100,000 people, Florida now has the second lowest rate of COVID-19 infection in the entire country. Since the August 25 peak, the number of estimated infections by Nowcasting (covidestim.org) has decreased 95.9 percent. The reproductive transmission number (Rt) statewide is at 0.49 from a peak value of 1.45 on July 15.
At 4.8% positivity rate over the past 7 days, Florida would now be considered “low transmission” according to CDC guidance. Cases on a 7 day average have fallen 77 percent in the past month alone. The number of cases reported yesterday was the lowest since July 5.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are down to 4,562. This is a decrease of 73% since the August 22 peak, and more than 40 consecutive days of decline. According to HHS data updated today, just 8.45% of inpatient beds in Florida hospitals are being used for COVID-19 patients. This is lower than the national average of 9.71%.
NEW PEDIATRIC CASES:
New COVID-19 cases for children ages 5-17 – the vast majority of the school-aged population – have decreased 79% in the month of September, in the 54 Florida counties where school districts have no masking policy or are following state law by honoring the parental opt-out rule.
For comparison, COVID-19 cases for children 5-17 in the 13 districts that imposed forced-masking in schools have decreased 77%, on average.
The 54 districts with opt-outs or no mask policy have seen an average decrease of 65% in positivity from week ending Aug. 19 (when school started) to the week ending Sep. 30.
The 13 districts that broke the law to impose forced-masking have seen an average decrease of 67%.
That is to say, the data for this school year to date shows no impact of forced masking in schools on pediatric COVID-19 prevalence. This is not surprising, since there were no statistically significant differences in case rates in forced-masking versus mask-optional schools during the 2020-21 school year in Florida.