Florida is seeing an increase in COVID-19 again, accounting for 1 in 5 new cases in the United States.
Hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are also reporting an uptick in COVID patients and are beginning to limit visitations as they prepare for another potential surge of cases.
So, what’s causing the increase?
Health experts have told the Miami Herald the new cases likely have to do with a variety of factors, including:
▪ Hotter and wetter weather driving more people indoors
And while cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain far below last winter’s peak, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky says most of the new cases in the country are among people who have not been vaccinated.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky said at the White House last Friday.
That’s similar to what South Florida hospitals are seeing.
“The overwhelming majority are unvaccinated individuals and they do appear to be younger than before,” said Dr. Marc Napp, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare in South Broward.
About eight million people in Florida who are eligible for a shot are not vaccinated. Almost one million are 65 and older, a population considered to be high risk for severe COVID complications and death.
So far, more than 9.7 million Floridians have completed the two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or have completed Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.
Tips to help prevent COVID-19
Whether you’re fully vaccinated or not, the CDC still recommends washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, or about how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday,” to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
You should also clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, including tables, doorknobs, phones and toilets. This is especially important if you or someone you live with has tested positive for COVID-19. Everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, are also still required to wear a mask inside buses, taxis and other public transportation.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, here are some other CDC tips:
▪ Get vaccinated. Pfizer, Moderna and J&J’s COVID-19 vaccines are all effective in helping to prevent hospitalizations and death. Pfizer’s vaccine is for people 12 and older. Moderna and J&J are for people 18 and older.
▪ Wear a mask inside stores, movie theaters and other indoor public places. While masks are not needed outside, the CDC still recommends wearing one if you’re in a crowded area like at a concert or protest.
▪ Stay at least six feet away from others. This doesn’t apply to people you live with, unless one of them is ill with COVID-19.
Miami Herald staff writer Daniel Chang contributed to this report.