California, Florida report record numbers of daily deaths

California and Florida reported record numbers of daily coronavirus fatalities Thursday, as the total number of infections in the U.S. surpassed 4 million.

California’s 157 deaths on Wednesday continued a week of coronavirus records in the state that had once been considered a COVID success story.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday said 12,807 new coronavirus infections had been reported statewide in 24 hours, a record high. 

Thursday brought another day of more than 12,000 new infections reported, though the daily numbers reported Thursday were slightly less than Wednesday. 

The 14-day statewide rate of positive tests has ticked up slightly, and is now 7.6 percent. It’s a far cry from the nearly 50 percent positivity rate in early April, but still up from the lowest rate of about 4 percent at the end of the same month. 

Cases began rising after Newsom lifted the stay-at-home order and let the state’s individual counties reopen businesses in May. In many instances, experts said, that flexibility likely allowed local governments to rush ahead and reopen before they were ready.

Newsom has been reimposing some of the restrictions, and has shut down all indoor non-essential businesses in most of the state. Still, it will take weeks before that impact is seen on cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday continued to downplay the severity of the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, even as health officials reported a record 173 new deaths among Florida residents. 

The 173 new COVID-19 deaths increased the state’s cumulative total to 5,518. In the past seven days, Florida has confirmed just under 1,000 resident deaths related to COVID-19. 

DeSantis on Thursday said he would not consider imposing a statewide mask requirement, even though many cities, towns and counties statewide have done so. 

During a news conference, he said the record number of deaths is deceiving, since they did not all occur in the past 24 hours. Deaths are reported when they are confirmed.

“When the state reports that, that’s not saying that those deaths occurred last night,” DeSantis said.

He also said the state is seeing numbers moving in the right direction, claiming hospitals have the capacity to deal with the rising numbers of infected people, and the state’s positivity rate has stabilized.

According to Johns Hopkins University figures, the state’s seven-day positivity rate has essentially plateaued at 18.6 percent. 

Tags California Coronavirus Florida Gavin Newsom Ron DeSantis

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