Florida reported a record-breaking 15,299 coronavirus cases Sunday, marking the highest daily total that any U.S. state has recorded in the pandemic so far. The previous record was set by New York on April 4, when it reported 12,274 cases.
Florida has so far reported just under 270,000 coronavirus cases and more than 4,200 deaths, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard. More than 18,000 Florida residents have been hospitalized. The new record reflects a new surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. in recent months, as the epicenter has shifted away from New York and towards other states, including Florida, Texas and Arizona. On July 4, Floridians accounted for more than one-fifth of all new COVID-19 cases in the country.
Florida was quick to re-open and came out of lockdown in early May, but recent coronavirus surges have led some local authorities to re-impose curfews and issue a mandate on the use of face masks. This, despite assurances from Gov. Ron DeSantis that schools can reopen amid the pandemic. “If we can do Walmart, we can do schools,” DeSantis said Thursday, according to CNN.
As of now, the Republican Party still plans to hold its 2020 GOP national convention in Jacksonville, Fla., beginning on Aug. 24. The party changed the location from its initial choice of Charlotte, N.C., which refused to budge on safety measures that would have limited crowd size.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom also reopened Saturday in Florida, with more Disney Parks set to open next week.
Florida has also come under fire from a data scientist who was previously managing the state’s coronavirus information dashboard. Rebekah Jones has accused the state of hiding important information and she created her own competing coronavirus dashboard last month after being fired in May. Her dashboard, which relies on and highlights state data — some of which is not easily available — points out that more than 7,400 people in Florida are currently hospitalized because of the coronavirus and that 45 new deaths were reported Sunday.
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