Florida reported almost as many COVID cases among its residents in the first two weeks of July as it did over the previous three and a half months.
The newly-infected population has trended younger, which is an encouraging sign. Those aged 15 to 54 account for more than two-thirds of all infections. That has helped reduce the percentage of infected patients who fall seriously ill and cut the ratio of deaths to reported cases.
Seniors made up less than 12% of cases reported after June 28. Before that, they represented 16%. It could be a sign that the most vulnerable are taking effective precautions to avoid infection. Seniors also make up a smaller percentage of recent deaths.
But daily hospitalizations and deaths are nevertheless rising, and some counties are facing strains in their intensive care unit capacity. The percentage of deaths among adults under 65 has grown.
State officials should consider implementing policies to protect hospitals from surges in COVID-19 patients.
In a Heritage Foundation paper published last month, professor Amy Anderson and Dr. Daniel Johnson urged policymakers to designate certain facilities for pandemic patients. Florida already has designated COVID-only nursing homes. A similar policy should be considered for hospitals.
State officials might also consider surging public health measures to contain the hot spots,