COVID cases surging in Florida as families gather

Coronavirus

MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — With Christmas two days away, families are gathering all over the country. However, with the omicron variant surging and proving more contagious than delta, there are fears they’ll be bringing more than gifts to holiday celebrations.

In the last few weeks in Miami-Dade County, new cases of COVID-19 have gone from a trickle to a flood, NewsNation reporter Ileana Diaz said. Florida just hit its largest single-day increase since the summer, with 20,000 newly reported cases in one day. The most populous county, Miami-Dade, is the biggest hot spot.

At Jackson Health in Miami, doctors say omicron has overtaken Delta as the dominant variant. “This Omicron variant has been shown to be two to four times more transmissible than the delta variant.  That’s a really important factor as it relates to community transmission risk,” said Dr. Peter Paige, chief clinical officer with the Jackson Health System.

When omicron was first detected in Miami on Dec. 2, Jackson had 41 COVID-19 patients. Now there are 112, and most of those are unvaccinated. It’s reminiscent of the darkest days of the delta surge.

This time, however, hospitals are expecting to see fewer patients. “On the positive side, it appears that a lot of the people that are testing positive are either asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms.  There are some obviously they’re sicker, but those numbers are a little bit smaller,” said Paige.

Paige said a lot of patients are coming in with other complaints and being found to have COVID after they’re checked in, and the cases are mild.

One problem is that many treatment sites don’t have enough monoclonal antibody doses, so they’re turning away patients. Researchers say the expect the problem to worsen until at least February. However, with South Africa showing it’s hit its peak with omicron, there is light over the horizon.

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