Florida records record number of coronavirus deaths

Florida recorded 120 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, a record high for the state that is seeing one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S.

More than 4,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Florida, according to the state’s health department. 

Still, Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisMarlee Matlin: 'Unfathomable' that White House doesn't have sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Florida sheriff bans deputies from wearing masks after refusing to enforce order DeSantis rules out 2024 White House run: 'Total garbage' MORE (R) has touted the state’s death rate as relatively low compared to other states like New York, noting that while case numbers are spiking, more of the new infections are in young people who are less likely to die than the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.

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Experts had warned, however, that the death rate in Florida is ticking upward and that death rates are a lagging indicator of an outbreak since it can take several weeks to die after becoming sick. 

The state reported nearly 9,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 233,000. 

“I expect unfortunately that in the days and weeks ahead we are going to see increases in the number of people dying from this virus,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told reporters Monday. 

“Death always lags hospitalizations by a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that we will not ever get to a point where we have the level of deaths that we saw in the worst days in New York, partly because we've gotten better at treating the disease, but I am worried that we're going to see an increase.” 

At the height of the outbreak in New York, 800 deaths were reported in a single day. 

People can also become seriously ill with COVID-19 and need hospitalization or ventilation. The long-term health effects of infection are unknown. 

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci defends voting by mail if 'you don't want to take the chance' in person Museum unveils new Fauci bobbleheads after previous edition sells out Marlee Matlin: 'Unfathomable' that White House doesn't have sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings MORE, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, warned Tuesday that it is "a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death."

“There's so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus, don't get yourself into a false complacency,” he added.