Florida had its highest number of new coronavirus cases Thursday in a record-breaking week in terms of new case count, which Republican Gov. Ron Desantis blames on increased test capacity, as others worry it could be because the state aggressively reopened for business.
On June 11, Florida had 1,698 new coronavirus cases—its highest yet—after breaking records on June 10 with 1,371 new cases during its worst week on record for novel diagnoses, according to New York Times data.
Cases in the state have largely trended upwards since May 28, after the state began reopening on May 4.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis blames the uptick on increased testing capacity: “As you’re testing more, you’re going to find more cases;” the Miami-Herald analyzed public and private Covid-19 data and found that increased testing capacity cannot be the sole cause of the spike, reporting that reopening likely increased the disease spread.
Deaths, though, have trended downward since May 1, with 47 reported Covid-19 deaths on Thursday.
The University of Washington’s predictive model, often cited by the White House, suggests that news case count will stay relatively flat this summer in Florida before spiking in September.
Florida’s southern tip has the highest concentration of cases, with cases in Miami-Dade accounting for about 30% of the state’s infections, and 50% of agricultural workers in Palm Beach, Martin and Collier counties testing positive, reports Politico.
It’s unclear how the hospitals are faring as the state does not release information on hospitalized coronavirus patients.
Jacksonville, where cases remain on the rise per New York Times, will be the spot where Trump plans to announce his acceptance of Republican presidential nomination in August. This will happen in front of a 15,000 person crowd at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Trump was originally holding this rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, but reportedly endured heated negotiations with the city’s democratic governor who wished to comply with coronavirus regulations, which do not recommend having a 15,000 person indoor event.
Florida was one of the earliest states to reopen, allowing restaurants to resume operations with outdoor seating and 25% capacity restrictions. Miami-Dade County reopened hotels and beaches on June 1 with the former allowed to fill 100% room occupancy, though major tourist attractions like Orlando’s Walt Disney World are not set to open until July.
Florida Coronavirus Map and Case Count (New York Times)