Florida has, once again, broken its single-day record for new coronavirus cases.
According to the Washington Post, officials reported an additional 11,458 cases on Saturday, breaking its previous single-day record that was set just two days ago. The alarming figure puts Florida on track to possibly surpass New York's catastrophic one-day peak (April 15) of 11,571 cases. The Sunshine State has now tallied more than 190,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 3,700 virus-related deaths, 18 of which were reported on the Fourth of July.
The surge comes more than a month after Florida kicked off its multi-phase reopening plan, which has since permitted gyms, restaurants, amusement parks, and other establishments to resume operations under certain restrictions. Many have called on state officials to reinstate restrictions to help mitigate the spread of the disease; however, Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he does not want to see the state go back to "closing things."
"I don't think that that really is what's driving it, people going to a business is not what's driving it," the Republican governor said this week. "I think when you see the younger folks, I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that's natural. Obviously, you had a lot of different activities going on in different parts of the state. So that's just the reality."
Several other states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama, each reported new daily highs of coronavirus infections Friday, and Texas have reported record-high hospitalizations. Elected officials and many health experts have urged the public to take precautionary measures when celebrating the Fourth of July. Carlos A. Giménez, the mayor of Florida's Miami-Dade County, recently ordered all casinos, movie theaters, and other venues to remain closed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. beginning on Fourth of July weekend.
"This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly," Giménez said in a statement. "I also want to remind everyone that there can be no gatherings of more than 10 people, and that all must be wearing masks and practicing social distancing of at least 6 feet ... I do not want to go back to closing all but essential businesses, but the only way to avoid that is for everyone to take COVID-19 seriously. That means every generation - every one of us, no exceptions."