COVID-19 virus numbers increasing around the holidays

Early data and wastewater surveillance indicate an increase in the COVID-19 virus in Florida and across the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports a rise in virus activity nationwide and specifically in Florida. Wastewater surveillance data in the state suggests that Florida may be headed for virus levels not seen since August.

While some Florida counties have not submitted recent wastewater data, the majority of those with data from November and December showed an uptick in virus activity. Counties such as Alachua, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Seminole all reported an increase in the virus starting in November and continuing to rise after Thanksgiving weekend, based on data submitted to Biobot.

In the nation at large, states further north, including West Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Montana, are experiencing the highest levels of virus activity and the steepest increases in hospital admissions due to the virus.

The predominant strain of the COVID-19 virus detected in wastewater sites continues to be EG.5. This strain has been dominant for at least four months, with patients exhibiting symptoms similar to past Omicron variants, including a sore throat, cough, congestion, and runny nose. The latest COVID-19 booster vaccine has been deemed effective in reducing symptoms and protecting against the latest variants of the virus. However, CDC data suggests that only 17 percent of the population has received their COVID-19 booster shots.

Historically, COVID-19 has had significant impacts on public Health and the economy. It has led to widespread illness, hospitalizations, and fatalities, as well as disruptions in education, employment, and daily life.

For the latest information on COVID-19 and its impact on Florida and the nation, stay tuned for updates.

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