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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 10, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 20 hours, 40 minutes ago

COVID-19 News - United States: Florida See Rise In COVID-19 Infections And Hospitalizations As JN.1 Spreads

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COVID-19 News - United States: Florida See Rise In COVID-19 Infections And Hospitalizations As JN.1 Spreads
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 10, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 20 hours, 40 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: The Sunshine State is currently grappling with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, marking a concerning trend in the ongoing battle against the pandemic. South Florida, in particular, has witnessed a noticeable uptick in weekly admissions, though medical professionals emphasize that the severity of illness seems to be comparatively lower than in previous waves. As the healthcare system navigates this surge, the rise in infections is accompanied by the onset of cold and flu season, prompting health officials to recommend precautionary measures such as mask-wearing and booster shots.


COVID-19 Infections And Hospitalizations Rising In Florida
 
Hospital Admissions and Health System Response
According to data from the Florida Department of Health, the state has reported 7,414 new COVID-19 cases in 2024 thus far.
https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsDashboards/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=Covid19.Dataviewer
 
In a recent statement to local COVID-19 News outlets, Dr Hany Atallah, Chief Medical Officer at Jackson Memorial Hospital, revealed a doubling of COVID-19 admissions. While this might sound alarming, Atallah clarified that the increase is from 15 to approximately 30 patients admitted due to COVID-19. Across the entire healthcare system, the total number of patients has risen from 35-40 a few weeks ago to the current 75.
 
https://www.local10.com/health/2024/01/09/covid-19-flu-cases-are-rising-in-south-florida-heres-what-you-need-to-know/
 
Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, health experts attribute the changing dynamics of infection severity to heightened immune protection levels induced by vaccines or prior infections. Broward Health officials have also reported a slight increase in COVID-19-positive patients, reflecting a shift in the relationship between infection rates and the seriousness of illness.
 
The Impact of Seasonal Factors and Viral Variant JN.1
Complicating the situation further is the concurrent rise of respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV) during the cold and flu season. Dr Atallah recommends mask-wearing, especially for those at risk, and underscores the importance of getting COVID boosters, flu vaccines, and, for individuals over 65, the RSV vaccine.
 
A significant contributing factor to the surge is the emergence of the JN.1 variant, a new strain of COVID-19. Initially comprising 20% of new cases in the U.S. in early December, JN.1 now constitutes around 60% of cases, according to federal health data.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
 
Health officials are concerned about its potential for increased transmissibility and its ability to evade immunity, although ther e is currently no evidence suggesting it causes more severe illness than other variants.
 
Recommendations and Vaccination Efforts
Dr Jason Salemi, a professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida, points out that the dominance of JN.1 is attributed to reduced protective effects from prior infection or vaccination, especially for those who haven't been infected or received boosters recently. The U.S CDC and health experts are urging individuals to get the updated vaccine, authorized in 2023, to enhance protection against this variant.
 
National and local trends indicate an overall increase in COVID-19 cases post-holidays, with a 20% rise in hospitalizations nationally.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#maps_new-admissions-rate-county
 
In Florida, COVID-related hospitalizations have increased by 22% from the previous week, reaching 1,744 admissions.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#maps_new-admissions-rate-state
 
While this is considerably lower than past peaks, officials stress the importance of continued precautions such as mask usage, social distancing, and staying updated on vaccinations.
 
Looking at the broader context, U.S. CDC data reveals a 1% to 8.9% increase in COVID case rates across the region encompassing Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Florida's vaccination rate is around 80%, aligning with the national average, but only 12% of the population is up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, highlighting the need for renewed efforts in vaccination campaigns.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#maps_positivity-week
 
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccination-states-jurisdictions
 
Conclusion
As Florida grapples with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the state faces a complex challenge exacerbated by the JN.1 variant and seasonal factors. While the severity of the current surge is relatively lower than previous peaks, health officials emphasize the importance of proactive measures, including mask-wearing, vaccination, and adherence to public health guidelines. As the situation evolves, continued vigilance and a coordinated response from healthcare authorities and the public are essential to mitigate the impact of this latest wave and protect the well-being of the community.
 
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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