MIAMI (AP) — Florida is reporting its deadliest peak in daily death rates since the start of the pandemic, surpassing previous coronavirus surges in the state, according to federal data published Thursday.
Data provided by the state to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that at least eight days in August produced more daily deaths than during the last peak of the pandemic in August 2020. The typical lag times in the reporting of deaths means the true toll of the pandemic can take weeks to emerge. .
The data became available on Thursday after the state reported to the CDC more than 1,338 new deaths that occurred over several days or weeks.
The figures show the seven-day average in daily deaths reached 244 last month, as compared with their highest previous rate of 227 in August 2020. The numbers for mid- to late August of this year could still rise as the Florida Department of Health reports more data to the federal government.
Overall, 45,909 people have died in Florida, according to the CDC numbers.
The state has 87% of its seniors vaccinated and has raised its vaccination rate from 61% to 68% in the past month.
Hospitalizations hit record highs last month, with hospitals reporting census of over 7,000 more COVID-19 patients than they had in the previous peak. Both hospitalizations and new cases leveled off and began dropping in the past week.
Last week the state reported infections among children and teenagers had increased by 28% over the week before with some children’s hospitals noticing an uptick in admissions as well in the first few weeks back at school.
A dozen of Florida’s 67 districts, representing about half of the state’s 2.8 million public school students, have defied Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring schools from requiring masks over parent objections. A judge last week ruled that DeSantis did not have the authority to issue the order. The DeSantis administration filed a notice of appeal Thursday.
On Tuesday, an elementary school in Sarasota was placed on a temporary, limited lockdown after a parent threatened to leave his job and confront an assistant principal for telling his children they couldn’t come to school without being masked. The Sarasota County is among the school districts requiring masks.
Christopher Kivlin was met by police officers outside Ashton Elementary School. No charges were filed but he was ordered not to come back to the school without calling first and getting permission.
An incident report said Kivlin showed up to the campus saying the school was violating the law by not allowing his children to attend school.
Kivlin told television station WFLA that he had no intention of harming anyone but just wanted to talk to a school official. He apologized for frightening anyone and said “it was just emotions built up.”
“I found out after the fact that the school had to go into lockdown, I was like, ‘That’s horrible,’” Kivlin said. “I feel like I might have scared other parents.”