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COVID-19 update: Florida reports 71,742 new cases as hospitalizations hit four-month high

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Florida reported 71,742 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as hospital patients with COVID-19 increased to their highest level since Sept. 12, according to federal data.

On Tuesday, 11,386 patients in Florida hospitals had COVID-19, up 41.8% from the previous Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The number includes patients admitted with the virus and those who tested positive while hospitalized.

The number of intensive care beds in Florida occupied by COVID-infected patients was 1,439 on Tuesday, a 60% increase from a week earlier.

Miami-Dade County still had the highest per-capita rate of daily COVID-19 cases of any county in the U.S. on Tuesday — excluding counties with low populations — with a rolling 7-day average of 4,065 cases per 100,000 population. Broward County’s rate per 100,000 was 2,573 on Tuesday and Palm Beach County’s was 1,947. Overall, Florida ranks fifth-highest among states for average daily per-capita cases.

The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases increased to a record high of 65,660.

COVID-related death reports have remained low in Florida during the omicron surge, and the state has the fourth-lowest in the U.S. with a rolling 7-day average of 0.18 deaths a day per 100,000 population. Florida increased its death count by six on Tuesday, bringing the state’s 7-day average to 40, according to a Sun Sentinel analysis of CDC data.

As of Tuesday, at least 4,878,524 Floridians have been infected by COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and at least 62,819 have died in total.

The number of vaccine doses being administered in Florida has declined this week, falling on Tuesday to an average of 70,509 per day over the past seven days. About 63.9% of Floridians are fully vaccinated and 34.3% have received booster shots.

Here are the key statistics in Florida to watch:

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Polk deputies shoot man suspected in assaulting mother

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Polk County deputies fatally shot a man Sunday afternoon who was suspected of assaulting his elderly mother by pressing a pillow on her face to smother her.

The woman escaped and called 911, resulting in three deputies responding to the call, sheriff’s spokesperson Carrie Horstman said in a statement Sunday night.

“When the deputies arrived, the suspect barricaded himself in an upstairs bathroom,” Horstman said. After the suspect refused to come out, the deputies entered the bathroom and the suspect charged at them with a knife, stabbing a deputy on the top of his head.

After that deputy attempted to use his Taser the other deputies “were forced to shoot the suspect,” Horstman said. The suspect was a felon on probation and has a criminal history in Virginia. Further details are to be provided Monday. The injured deputy is expected to make a full recovery.

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Tom Brady’s return to the Bucs next season isn’t a lock

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — If Tom Brady played the last game of an unprecedented career, he ended with one of his toughest losses after a stunning comeback.

Bloodied and battered by the Los Angeles Rams, the 44-year-old seven-time Super Bowl champion rallied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back from a 27-3 deficit, only to see the defense surrender a big play in the final minute to set up Matt Gay’s winning 30-yard field goal.

The Rams’ 30-27 victory Sunday sent Los Angeles home to host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game next week. They ended Tampa Bay’s bid to become the NFL’s first repeat champions since Brady led New England to consecutive titles following the 2003-04 seasons.

Have the Rams also ended Brady’s career?

Brady is under contract for 2022 but his return isn’t definite.

He said in late September he plans to play at least one more season, but he’s indicated several times since that returning will be a family decision.

Asked last month when he’ll know it’s time to retire, Brady said:

“That’s a good question. I don’t know. I think I’ll have to just, after every year, think about what the situation looks like for me, personally and professionally. Obviously, I love playing; I don’t think my love will go away. I think I’ll be able to do it, it’s just the other things are kind of happening in my life, in regard to family situations. My kids are not getting younger, and I want to make sure that they get what they need, too.”

Brady’s agent, Don Yee, told The Associated Press last week he doesn’t know when Brady will hang it up.

“He can do it as long as he wants, because his intangibles really are very much off the charts,” Yee said for an upcoming episode of the AP Pro Football Podcast. “I’ve been around professional athletes since 1974 and I’ve seen a lot of different types of athletes. And I think all the very best will tell you the intangible part is critical. There are a lot of great, physical specimens, but to keep trying to do something for a long period of time and to do it well, you have to have other intangibles. … you have to want to get up every morning to be great.

“And so he still possesses all of that and more. And so I don’t. … It’s going to be his decision, and I would never, ever speak on his behalf on this issue. But he clearly is still performing very well.”

Brady was playing at an elite level until running into the Rams. He didn’t complete a pass on his first two drives for the first time in his 47 playoff starts, going 0 for 4.

He got called for the first unsportsmanlike penalty of his career in the first half for arguing a call after a hit busted his lip.

Brady misfired on several passes, had two turnovers and was sacked three times. But his 55-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans with just over three minutes left got the Buccaneers within 27-20.

After the Rams lost their fourth fumble, Brady drove Tampa to the tying score as Leonard Fournette ran in from the 9.

But defensive breakdowns allowed Matthew Stafford to lead the Rams in position to win it.

Brady finished 30 of 54 for 329 yards and one TD, but the offense got going far too late.

Brady overcame losing two of his top three receivers, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown,- and top two running backs, Fournette and Ronald Jones, down the stretch and didn’t need them last week against Philadelphia. But losing All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs last week was a huge problem Sunday. Fournette returned this week, still the Bucs had no answer for Aaron Donald, Von Miller and L.A.’s ferocious rushers without Wirfs.

After leading the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title in his first season in Tampa after 20 years with New England, Brady led the NFL in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719) while guiding the Bucs to their first NFC South title since 2007.

Coach Bruce Arians told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday that he would be “shocked” if Brady didn’t return for another season based on the fun he’s having playing the game and practicing all week.

Rob Ninkovich, who played with Brady on the Patriots from 2009-16, created a stir this week when he said it “wouldn’t surprise” him if Brady called it quits after this season.

“Tom is playing at a high level. I’ll leave it at that,” Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said Thursday in response to a question about Ninkovich’s comments.

Brady is the NFL’s all-time leader in many categories, including yards passing (84,520) and TDs (624). He’s the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and was MVP of the Super Bowl five times.

Brady led the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit to beat Atlanta in the Super Bowl following the 2016 season. His defense didn’t give him a chance at the end to do it again.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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‘Spider-Man’ comes back swinging, takes No. 1 from ‘Scream’

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(AP) — After spending one weekend in second place, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” proved it still had some fight left. Sony’s superhero juggernaut swung back to first place in its sixth weekend in theaters and became the sixth highest grossing film of all time, globally.

The film topped the North American charts with $14.1 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Globally, it’s now grossed nearly $1.7 billion, passing the total earnings of both “Jurassic World” and “The Lion King.” And in North America its $721 million make it the fourth biggest release ever.

Peter Parker also stole first place back from “ Scream,” which fell about 59% — a typical drop for a horror— in its second weekend with an estimated $12.4 million in ticket sales. The Paramount release has grossed $51.3 million so far.

Universal and Illumination’s “Sing 2″ landed in third place in its fifth weekend, with $5.7 million. The animated title has earned $241.2 million worldwide.

There was little competition for the holdovers to contend with this weekend. The only two fresh offerings nationwide in theaters were comparatively lower-profile releases: “The King’s Daughter,” a fairy tale with Pierce Brosnan that was filmed in 2014 and held until now (it bombed with $750,000 from over 2,000 locations), and “Redeeming Love,” a faith-based historical romance with Nina Dobrev that cracked the top five with $3.7 million.

“This is a very slow weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “January is typically not a big month for box office. It may be a while before we have another big breakout hit, but once we do the floodgates may open.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” $14.1 million.

2. “Scream,” $12.4 million.

3. “Sing 2,” $5.7 million.

4. “Redeeming Love,” $3.7 million.

5. “The King’s Man,” $1.8 million.

6. “The 355,” $1.6 million.

7. “American Underdog,” $1.2 million.

8. “The King’s Daughter,” $750,000.

9. “West Side Story,” $689,000.

10. “Licorice Pizza,” $683,357.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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