State Watch

Florida shatters single-day record with more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases

Florida on Saturday reported 11,458 new coronavirus cases, shattering the single-day record established on Thursday.

The Florida Department of Health has now reported 190,052 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,702 deaths, including 18 new fatalities reported on Independence Day, according to the Orlando Sentinel. There have been an additional 101 deaths of non-Florida residents.

The single-day record was last broken on Thursday, when more than 10,000 new cases were reported.

Florida is one of several states, including Texas, California and Arizona, that have become hot spots for new infections in the U.S.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), however, said the Sunshine State would not reverse course on its reopening.

“We’re not going back, closing things,” he said on Wednesday. “I don’t think that that’s really what’s driving it. People going to a business is not what’s driving it. I think when you see the younger folks — I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that’s natural.”

The climbing cases have prompted fears of further outbreaks over the July Fourth weekend. In response to those concerns, Miami-Dade County announced it was imposing a curfew over the holiday weekend.

The curfew, starting each night at 10 p.m. and lasting until 6 a.m. the next morning, will be implemented “until further notice,” said Carlos Giménez, the county’s mayor.

Miami-Dade County and other localities have closed their beaches for the holiday weekend amid concerns that gatherings will spark further coronavirus outbreaks. 

However, hundreds of beachgoers flocked to the open beaches to celebrate Independence Day. 

Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist who helped write Miami-Dade’s reopening rules, warned that the state is “heading a million miles an hour in the wrong direction” in its handling of the pandemic.

“It’s absolutely the saddest thing, the most unnecessary situation that we’re finding ourselves in,” Marty said. “And it’s behaviorally driven.” 

Experts attribute the rise in cases in Florida and other states to reopening businesses too quickly after a weeks-long shutdown and lax following of social distancing recommendations.

DeSantis initially resisted a statewide stay-at-home order at the onset of the outbreak and was one of the last governors to implement one.

The state began reopening businesses in May, and among the first businesses to open were restaurants, gyms, bars and large outdoor sporting events, with crowd restrictions. Coronavirus cases began spiking in early June.

DeSantis has also resisted a statewide mandate for people to wear masks and has argued that the state has plenty of hospital capacity available to deal with the surging number of cases. 

The governor also has sought to downplay the significance of the rising infections. This week, he refused to take responsibility for Florida’s increase in cases when asked by a reporter.

“Well, do you give credit for Florida for having much lower fatalities per 100,000 than all the states you just praised?” he fired back.

Tags Aileen Marty coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 cases Florida Florida Florida beaches Fourth of July weekend Miami-Dade Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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