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Florida passes 850k coronavirus cases

Florida passes 850k coronavirus cases
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Florida surpassed 850,000 total coronavirus infections on Tuesday with 4,353 new cases, according to data from the state’s health department

With a population of about 21.5 million, approximately 1 in 25 people in the Sunshine State have now been infected with COVID-19.

This comes as the Florida Department of Health recorded 69 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 17,248. 

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Infection rates in Florida had been on the decline after the state became a coronavirus hot spot over the summer, with its single-day increase rate reaching as high as more than 12,000 cases in July. 

In the past week, Florida recorded 36,485 new cases and 332 deaths. However, this week’s reported number of deaths is the lowest it has been in the state since July 5. 

As of Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded a total of more than 9.9 million infections in the United States with 105,142 new cases recorded Tuesday. The agency reported more than 490 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 237,037. 

The new numbers come after Florida Rep. Mike Waltz (R) announced late Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19

Waltz, who won his reelection bid last week, said he most likely contracted the virus while attending public meetings with voters or while dining at a celebration for Republicans in Daytona Beach, Fla., following Tuesday's election.

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This came as fellow Florida Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTrump, allies raise pressure on Senate GOP ahead of impeachment Cheney spokesperson on Gaetz: 'In Wyoming, the men don't wear make-up' Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency MORE (R), a top ally of President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE, revealed Saturday that he was carrying coronavirus antibodies while denying a Politico report that said he had told multiple people on Capitol Hill and in the White House that he had tested positive for the virus himself. 

After experiencing declining infection rates following statewide and local shutdown measures imposed on businesses and other activities, Florida has seen cases slowly start to climb again since Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida makes bid for Olympics if Tokyo backs out Florida scientist who accused state of manipulating coronavirus data tests positive for COVID-19, turns herself in Overnight Health Care: Testing capacity strained as localities struggle with vaccine staffing | Health workers refusing vaccine is growing problem | Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February MORE (R) in September lifted all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and bars, while also prohibiting local governments from closing businesses or imposing any restrictions without justification.

DeSantis said at the time that if a local government wanted to put in place capacity restrictions between 50 percent and 100 percent, officials would need to provide certain economic and health justifications. 

The governor added in September that the pandemic was still a concern, but said that governments should not be forcing businesses to close.

"We're prepared if we see an increase," DeSantis said. "We're not closing anything moving forward. We have the tools in place."

The GOP governor and Trump ally was criticized in October after high-fiving people and not wearing a mask at the president’s campaign rally in Sanford, Fla. just days after Trump had been released from the hospital after suffering from COVID-19.