FLORIDA — During Florida’s current COVID-19 surge, driven largely by the spread of the omicron variant, most people living in the state are likely to become infected, according to biostatisticians at the University of Florida.
A new report from UF shows that a significant number of Floridians will become infected with the virus during this omicron wave, WFLA reported. UF says the omicron is twice as infectious as the delta variant and also spreads faster.
“So you combine those two things and you get a very fast, large epidemic,” Ira Longini, UF professor and researcher, said. “Probably 70 to 80% of the state will either get infected in this wave or have been infected in a prior wave.”
The current surge in cases is expected to peak by mid-January, according to the UF report.
Researchers also said that despite the increase in omicron cases, they believe this wave will cause one-third the number of deaths as this summer’s delta surge.
It’s also likely Florida will never know the exact number of cases in the state.
“Due to limitations in testing capacity, milder infections in vaccinees and reduced sensitivity of some tests to the omicron variant, we believe that a smaller fraction of omicron infections will be detected as cases compared to previous waves,” the UF report read.
In its latest COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report, the Florida Department of Health said that the state saw nearly 400,000 cases reported between Dec. 31 and Jan. 6.
The state also saw a 31.2 percent new case positivity rate during this period. This means more than one in three COVID-19 tests taken in the state were positive.
Florida also broke its single-day reporting record for new cases for the sixth time in two weeks when 76,887 new cases were reported Friday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 69,914 new cases were reported in Florida Friday.
COVID-19 related hospitalizations have doubled in the state over the last seven days with 8,548 confirmed Friday, the Florida Hospital Association tweeted. One week earlier, on Dec. 31, there were just 4,485 hospitalizations reported.