Florida broke the nation’s covid-19 single-day case record on Sunday, reporting 15,299 new infections, the most new cases ever reported by a state during the pandemic. The news underscores the raging state of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., proving once again that the virus will not simply “sort of just disappear,” as President Donald Trump believes it will.
Per the New York Times, the previous record of single-day new covid-19 cases was held by New York, which registered more than 12,000 cases in a day in April. That was also during the worst part of the outbreak in New York, which also had limited testing capacities at that time. Nonetheless, as the Times notes, Florida is reporting far fewer deaths than New York.
Currently, there are 269,811 total covid-19 cases in Florida. There have been 4,242 deaths.
Florida’s alarming new infection count came as Walt Disney World, specifically the Magic Kingdom park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, reopened its doors to the public on Saturday.
The state, led by Republican Ron DeSantis, isn’t exactly doing all it can to help itself reduce new infections. DeSantis, for instance, has refused to require people in the state to wear masks, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using to reduce the spread of the virus.
On Friday, DeSantis said Florida’s rise in new cases was due to the fact that the virus has been in Florida longer because of a “flatter curve,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“When you have a flatter curve, which Florida has — I mean if you look at the Northeast, they went boom ... Florida, Texas, we’re just much flatter,” DeSantis said. “It means it goes on longer, and so you know we said you wanted a flatter curve but this is drawn out over a longer period of time.”
It’s unclear how DeSantis can possibly defend his eyebrow-raising statements considering that Florida has gone from roughly 1,000 new cases per day at the beginning of June to more than 10,000 cases per day in July.
Texas, which DeSantis has claimed also has a so-called “flat curve,” isn’t exactly a model example right now, either. The state reported 10,351 new cases on Saturday, breaking its own record for single-day infections. Unlike Florida, however, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate at the beginning of July in an effort to reign in the virus.
Abbott said on Friday that if the state does not slow the spread of covid-19, “the next step would have to be a lockdown.”
Per the New York Times, the increase in new infections in Florida puts added strain on hospitals. In Miami-Dade County, six hospitals have reached capacity, which led the mayor to backtrack reopening by imposing a curfew and forbidding indoor dining.
“We’ve definitely had a sharp increase in the number of people going to the hospital, the number of people in the ICU, and the number of people on ventilators,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. “We still have capacity, but it does cause me a lot of concern.”