We’re committed to keeping our readers informed.
We’ve removed our paywall from essential coronavirus news stories. Become a subscriber to support our journalists. Subscribe now.
Florida reported 15,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, smashing the record for the highest number of daily cases in any U.S. state since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic — which is now continuing to worsen across wide swaths of the country. According to the New York Times, the previous daily record of 12,274 cases was set by New York on April 4 (albeit amid a scarcity of testing in the state). Sunday’s total in Florida reflected record numbers of daily cases in the counties that include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Pensacola, and Sarasota. And while the state has reversed some of its reopening and some counties and cities have issued face-mask mandates, other parts of the state have continued to reopen, like Disney World this weekend.
In the last two weeks, Florida has reported more than 10,000 daily cases six times, and more than 11,000 three times — on July 4, 10, and on Sunday. All told, nearly 70,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in in the state over the past week, along with 312 new deaths from the coronavirus, amid nearly 375,000 tests. All three numbers are weekly records for the state. Over the past two weeks, Florida has reported a daily positivity rate between a range of 18.35 percent (a record, on Thursday) and 11.25 percent (on Sunday, from a new daily record of more than 99,000 tests).
As of Sunday, 7,542 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, and more than a third of the counties in the state reported available hospital capacity of 25 percent or lower. In Miami-Dade County, hospitalizations have increased by at least 74 percent over the last two weeks. Statewide, less than 19 percent of hospitals’ ICU beds remain available. The daily coronavirus death toll, which typically lags spikes in the number of cases by a few weeks, has also been rising in Florida — up to an average of 73 people per day over the past week from 30 deaths per day three weeks ago. And according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal, as of two weeks ago, Florida was also one of the Sun Belt states seeing a surge of cases in nursing homes — where the coronavirus has proved most deadly throughout the country. Per the Journal:
[Long-term care facilities] in the Houston and Tampa metropolitan areas marked a nearly 800% cumulative increase in new cases among residents from the last week of May through the week ended June 28, the most recent period available, with more than 400 new cases during that period in both cities. In Phoenix, the increase topped 900%, more than three times the national increase, as nursing homes reported 545 new cases. Data from Miami and San Antonio nursing homes showed fast growth in cases as well.
The virus is currently spreading faster in Florida than any other state except Arizona. Florida’s nearly 270,000 total cases currently ranks fourth in the U.S. (behind New York, Texas, and Arizona) and surpasses the number of cases of all but seven foreign countries. Its new daily record on Sunday surpasses the total number of cases in South Korea for the entire pandemic (13,417).