HHS tracks total daily hospital levels in all the states dating back to Jan. 1, 2020. If you take the average daily total hospitalization levels in Florida for the fourth quarter of 2020, you will find an average (some days are more, some are less) of 43,150.
Naturally, I wondered what the levels were in previous years, because the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration publishes quarterly data of hospital censuses for several recent years. I started with the first quarter of 2018, which included the harshest flu season we had in a decade. If you average the total hospital census over the 90 days from Jan. 1 to March 31, it works out to 41,094 people in the hospital on an average day. Adjusting for the population at the time, that would be 1,972 hospitalizations per 1 million people. That is compared to 1,998 per 1 million for this past quarter of 2020 with COVID as the predominant illness.
As you can see, although the hospital numbers for the fourth quarter of 2020 were about 6%-8% higher than in the fourth quarter of the previous two years, it was barely higher than the first quarters of every year. The reason it is fair to compare to the worst months of previous years is because it has become clear that the flu is gone for this year and that COVID-19 is this year’s version of the flu. Thus, with flu cases down 98.8%, it is reasonable to assume that the January census will not grow as it typically does during peak flu season.
With no lockdown or mask mandate, Florida has roughly same hospitalization level as 2018 flu season
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