MIAMI — Florida is in the grip of its deadliest wave of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, a disaster driven by the highly contagious delta variant.
While Florida’s vaccination rate is slightly higher than the national average, the Sunshine State has an outsize population of elderly people, who are especially vulnerable to the virus.
It also has a vibrant party scene; and a Republican governor who has taken a hard line against mask requirements, vaccine passports and business shutdowns.
AP reports that Cristina Miles, a mother of five from Orange Park, is facing more than one loss at a time. Her husband died from COVID-19 and then two weeks later lost her mother-in-law as well.
“I feel we are all kind of in a weird dream state,” she said to AP, adding that her children are going through the grieving process in different ways.
There does seem to be a positive trend as the state's weekly average for cases reached its lowest point in over a month.
But according to US News, Florida is trying to vaccinate its senior citizens but University of Florida Professor Dr. Kartik Cherabuddi says the number of elderly people who have not gotten the vaccine is still large.
“Even 10% is still a very large number, and then folks living with them who come in contact with them are not vaccinated,” Cherabuddi said to AP. “With delta, things spread very quickly.”
AP reported that most of the deaths this summer, just like last summer, come from the elderly population.
Nurse Practitioner Pat Seemann who works with nearly 500 elderly, homebound patients said to AP, “[The virus is] still going after the elderly.”
On the other hand, the number of people who are under the age of 65 dying of COVID-19 has grown by a lot, which health officials think stems from a lower vaccination rate, AP reports.