Florida’s Delta Surge Slows Towards a Peak

Florida’s Delta surge appears to be peaking. The chart below (from this very useful site) shows that, as of the week ending August 12th, the weekly increase in the percentage of Covid tests coming back positive has slowed almost to zero, meaning it should begin to drop soon. Indeed, the positive rate and new reported cases have already begun to fall in the north east of the state.

Since Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has refused to impose any new restrictions at all during this surge, having allowed the state of emergency to end in June, the Sunshine State looks set to confirm once again that coronavirus surges are self-limiting and it is not necessary to impose draconian restrictions on the population to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed or ‘hundreds of thousands’ of deaths.

Having had a very low infection rate throughout the spring despite imposing no restrictions, Florida has seen a large surge in infections during the summer since the arrival of the Delta variant, adding to evidence that surges are primarily driven by new variants which disrupt the previously established herd immunity by partially evading the immune response. The end of the surge after a few weeks of renewed spread therefore corresponds to the restoration of herd immunity. If this is correct, we should see new infections drop quickly across the state in the coming weeks.

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