Florida has set a new record for the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in one day. New data released over the weekend showed that the state had 21,689 new Covid-19 cases on Friday - the highest number ever recorded for a U.S. state since the pandemic began.
The new figure surpassed the previous record of 19,334 cases set in January, which was the worth month of the pandemic in the country. Over the past week, infections in Florida increased by more than 50%. From July 23 to July 29, more than 110,477 new Covid-19 have been reported.
Florida, home to about 6.5% of the entire country's population, now accounts for roughly one in every five new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. As of today, the state's positive test rate stands at 18.1%, roughly double the national average of 7.8%.
Florida International University infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty said the numbers are "unbelievably frieghtening." She added that Florida is likely now the country's highest risk state.
Florida has largely been opposed to the implementation of strict movement restrictions and social distancing rules. Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new executive order that barred schools from requiring students to wear masks inside classrooms. DeSantis said the wearing of masks should be up to the parents and not school officials.
While DeSantis has been calling on all residents to get vaccinated, he has largely been opposed to re-imposing virus restrictions. The potential 2024 Republic presidential candidate previously said that he does not Florida to go into another lockdown.
DeSantis assured residents last week that the state will not be going into lockdown and schools will not be closed. He said that Florida residents will be free to choose what it best for them and their families.
Critics, including former President Donald Trump's homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, slammed Florida officials for their lack of action. Bossert said it is now "too late" for local officials to do anything to prevent the Covid-19 surge in the state. He said Florida is now in "uncharted territory" and it needs to brace for the impact of the surge in infections on its already stressed health care system.