Florida officials announced on Friday the largest single-day increase of new coronavirus cases in the state, eclipsing the previous record set just one day prior by a count of several thousand.
Out of 71,433 tests conducted within a 24-hour period in Florida, 8,942 cases came back positive for COVID-19, a rate of 13.05 percent. Both numbers were higher than the previous day’s announced findings, when 5,508 cases came back positive, representing a rate of 8.72 percent of all cases tested on that day.
Addressing reporters on Thursday, before the new numbers were announced, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the state, which is presently in Phase 2 of its reopening plans, would not move onto the third phase at this time.
“We are where we are,” DeSantis added.
The governor also seemed to put much of the blame for the steep rise in coronavirus cases on his own citizens’ behavior, suggesting that people in the state didn’t realize reopening businesses required them to remain responsible.
“You got into kind of Memorial Day, you had a lot of protests for two weeks, and it kind of fell off the front pages, and I think that folks, you know, thought, you know, ‘Hey, let’s move on to the next thing.’ And I think we know that it’s not something that just goes away,” DeSantis said.
Those comments were a stark departure to what he had said in May, when he appeared to complain about the state’s stay-at-home order lasting too long.
“There are millions and millions of Floridians who may never know anyone who’s been affected by coronavirus, but they’ve sure been affected by these mitigation efforts,” DeSantis said last month.
Florida was among the first states to phase out stay-at-home orders, beginning its process in the first week of May. At the start of June, the state entered into its Phase 2 part of the plan, which allows for 50 percent capacity inside bars and restaurants, as well as the reopening movie theaters.
Florida’s big increase in new COVID-19 cases comes amid a nationwide spike in cases. On Wednesday, 38,115 new cases were reported in the U.S., breaking the nation’s previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25.
Higher numbers are being reported in a number of states besides Florida as well, including Texas, Arizona and California.
On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars to shut back down, and scaled back restaurant capacity to 50 percent. He also banned river-rafting trips and outdoor activities of 100 people or more.
Texas, like Florida, began reopening earlier than most states, with Governor Abbott allowing his state’s stay-at-home order to expire at the end of April. Texas’ reopening process is considered one of the quickest, and earliest, to have happened in the nation.
On Thursday, the state announced 5,996 new cases. It was the second-highest spike in new cases, which was exceeded by the previous day’s numbers, when new cases topped 6,100.
As of 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday afternoon, 2.4 million Americans overall have contracted the disease, and 124,509 have died, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.