COVID vaccination rates need to double to stop recent spike in Florida cases, USF research shows

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing in Florida.

USF Health experts predict another surge this fall. Professor Edwin Michael told 8 On Your Side that vaccination rates need to double in Florida to slow down the recent spike.

“Vaccination rates to get like 80%, 85% of the population equals herd immunity,” Michael said.

Until then, he said we can expect to see a continuous surge.

“It is the further slackening of vaccinations. The almost complete relaxation of social measures alongside the slackening. And then the delta variant,” he said.

His data shows there was a 70% drop in vaccination rates since April in Hillsborough County. Experts predict cases could hit more than 2,000 a day by this fall, which could overwhelm hospitals.

“There’s 70 individuals in Tampa General right now with COVID. That is reaching the peak of 80 to 95 which we saw (at) the peak of the pandemic. Ninety percent have not been vaccinated,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Local leaders, like Mayor Castor, continue to push vaccinations and the education behind them.

“People are going to lose their lives because of their hesitancy to be vaccinated.”

Michael also encourages everyone to wear their masks. He said herd immunity could take time, so we should follow COVID precautions in the meantime.

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