Welcome to today's edition of the Florida Coronavirus Watch Newsletter. Let's get you up to speed with the latest news of the day from the USA TODAY Network — Florida.
The week in review
Case and vaccine reporting is made available on a weekly basis. Here's a look at the Florida Department of Health's weekly report with data from Nov. 26 to Dec. 2.
Total cases last week: 10,892
Cumulative cases: 3,697,523
Total deaths last week: 35
Cumulative deaths: 61,701
Series completed vaccinations last week: 88,605
Cumulative series completed vaccinations: 9,568,305
Additional doses last week: 308,217
Cumulative additional doses: 2,957,193
Percentage positivity last week: 2.5%
Cumulative percentage positivity: 20.5%
Here's what's happening around the state
Vaccinations soar as omicron looms: As news of the coronavirus' omicron variant spread after Thanksgiving, more unvaccinated Floridians got their first shots in the following week than at any time since late August. Between Nov. 26 and Friday, 39,022 Florida residents received their first doses of the vaccine, the state Health Department reported Friday. That's the biggest weekly increase since Aug. 20. About 1.9 million people are awaiting their second shots.
Florida has fewer tools to fight new variant: As the newest mutation of the coronavirus travels across the U.S., local governments in Florida have fewer weapons to fight the pathogen because the state stripped them of powers to slow its spread when it may have the ability to slip past the defenses of a vaccine. The Palm Beach Post has the story for subscribers.
Staffing up for the holidays: Faced with a tight labor market, pressing supply chain issues, high demand and an economy that favors less consumer-facing jobs now, retailers are offering higher wages, signing bonuses and other perks in order to stand out.
Planning to fly into the U.S. soon? Be prepared for more stringent testing requirements. The CDC has shortened the window all international air travelers have for a pre-departure test from three days to one.
Back together in person: Florida Democrats gathered in person for the first time since the pandemic began at the Leadership Blue conference in Orlando ahead of the 2022 elections.
Spring training cannot catch a break: For the third consecutive year, spring training sites across the country could face interruptions or major adjustments during what typically is baseball's season of renewed hope coming out of the cold, dark winter. But it's not COVID-19 this year — it's a work stoppage.
Latest fact checks
The good news
How a five-second YouTube clip sold University of Florida AD Scott Stricklin on Billy Napier: Kindness wins, always. While researching new Florida coach Billy Napier, a post-game interview — and interaction — caught the eye of athletics director Scott Stricklin.
He created a program behind bars to help inmates. Now he wants to launch it in Pensacola: Ken Bonner spent 28 years in prison helping inmates get ready for the outside world. Now, after recently moving to Pensacola, he hopes to teach a similar program for those outside of prison. "Everybody in prison has a get out of prison plan. But very few people who come out of prison have a stay out of prison plan," Bonner said.
Anything else you want to know? Ask your questions here. And finally, thank you for reading. We appreciate you trusting our statewide journalists to keep you safe and informed. If you are encouraged by our work and want to support your local journalists, please consider subscribing. Know someone who would benefit from this newsletter? Forward this email so they can sign up here.
Megan's note of the day: Hope you had a restful weekend! Another Monday, another dog video. This one made me smile today.
Here's what's happening with the coronavirus in Florida today.
— Megan Kearney, email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Florida has fewer tools to fight omicron. Here's why.