With some of the first cases of the omicron variant recently being detected in different parts of the U.S., it seems like the pandemic is not coming to a complete end anytime soon. There's still much that is unknown about the latest COVID variant, but the country and most of the world are familiar with this situation — especially a state like Florida.
This isn't the Sunshine State's first rodeo. It seems like whenever there is a surge in new cases, Florida is constantly at the epicenter of it. However, during those periods in between, data shows the state seems to fair pretty well.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida is among the states with the lowest rate of COVID cases in the country. A map showing transmission rates in each state shows Florida and Hawaii with some of the lowest transmission rates.
The CDC map classifies Florida as a "moderate" level of transmission, meaning there are anywhere between 10 to 49 cases per 100,000 people over the course of seven days. Florida, according to the CDC, has had 46.4 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days. The positivity rate for the state also ranged from 3 to 4.9 percent over the last week.
Looking closer at the state, the CDC shows community transmissions are "substantial" in southern counties like Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. Here in the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough, Citrus and Sarasota counties had "substantial" amounts of community spread. The lowest amounts of community spread were in Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf and Okeechobee counties.
Omicron could throw a wrench into all that good news, however. The variant is classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern” as scientists work to determine how it may compare with the predominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity. Scientists also are studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.
So, right now it's a waiting game, and with Florida seeing an influx of international travelers on a daily basis, mathematical modelers say the state could be at "high risk" of seeing another wave.
Editor's Note: Hawaii had a lower transmission rate than Florida, as of Dec. 3. This story previously said Florida was lowest. It has been updated to make clear Florida is among the lowest.