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Florida COVID-19 cases rise most ever; hospitalizations jump

Jonathan Levin and Michael Smith

Florida reported its biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases ever Wednesday and new hospitalizations jumped the most in a month.

The record numbers reflect the virus’s inexorable spread into states that were lax in enforcing lockdowns and that have been hurrying to restart their economies. With all states reopened to some degree, Arizona, California and Texas have each set records for new cases this week.

Eric Rodriguez, co-owner of Disinfectant Firm, Tampa, disinfects a map of Florida using Proxitane AHC at The Galley tavern in St. Petersburg, Fla., Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

Governor Ron DeSantis has said he doesn’t plan to roll back the reopening of the state’s economy, arguing in part that the virus is affecting younger Floridians and having muted clinical consequences. He has largely deferred to local governments on matters including mask rules, saying that the pandemic isn’t uniform, and many cities have begun to implement stricter requirements on facial coverings.

On Wednesday, the state reported 109,014 COVID-19 cases, up 5.3%, or 5,508, from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 3.7% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 3,281, an increase of 1.4%. The rate of people testing positive for the first time surged to 15.9% for Tuesday, from 10.8% a day earlier.

Cumulative hospitalizations rose by 256, or 1.9%, to 13,574, the biggest single-day increase in a month.

On a rolling seven-day basis, new cases totaled 26,295, about six times the rate when the state started reopening on May 4.