With more than 15,000 new daily COVID-19 cases, Florida officially set a new national one-day record on July 12, according to USA Today. And it’s certainly become a pattern as Florida coronavirus cases continue to rise dramatically.
Data from Florida’s Department of Health shows that July 12 was the 19th consecutive day that the state has had more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to almost 280,000. More than 180,000 Florida residents have been hospitalized, and more than 4,000 have died.
Previously, California held the record for the number of daily positive cases, with 11,694 on July 8, according to the Associated Press. Before that, New York held it with 11,571 on April 15. On July 12, Florida recorded 15,299.
Experts do not believe that the increase in positive Florida coronavirus cases is a result of an increase in testing, which doubled in the past month. The Associated Press reports that is because the positivity rate has also increased dramatically from 5% in June to more than 19% in July.
Instead, University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins told the Associated Press that she attributes the ongoing surge to large crowds, gyms, and even illegal clubs and raves in south Florida.
“I really do think we could control this, and it’s the human element that is so critical. It should be an effort of our country. We should be pulling together when we’re in a crisis, and we’re definitely not doing it,” Prins said. “I know people want to live their lives. There have been a lot of other times people have made those sacrifices in order to benefit our society. It’s almost like a war effort. That’s what we need right now.”
In response to the surge in Florida, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey told NPR the city makes its health and safety decisions based on the local health care community.
“While we are trying to take a balance between keeping everybody safe, which is first and foremost our No. 1 priority,” Dailey said, “but also trying to open up our restaurants and retail a little bit, we take it day by day.”
Florida, led by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, still does not have a state-wide mandate requiring face coverings in public. On the same day the state broke the national record for cases, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened in Orlando.
The state planned to host the Republican National Convention’s nomination party for President Donald Trump in Jacksonville in August, but by late July, that plan was officially squashed. Florida also plans to reopen schools with in-person classes next month.
On July 29, it was reported that 51 Florida hospitals had run out of room in their intensive care units. South Florida has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. On Aug. 25, it was reported that almost 9,000 students in the state had tested positive only two weeks into the school year.