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This State Has More COVID-19 Cases Than Most Other Countries

The Southern state is being hit the hardest.
The scenic road where ocean meets city view to Downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida.

Florida, a state called "the world's new epicenter for COVID-19," is setting records for COVID-19 deaths, with 120 last Thursday, the most deaths reported in a single day, and 35 on Monday. The state's total case count is 270,000 with 4,241 deaths and counting. "Officials in Miami spoke in alarming terms about the novel coronavirus outbreak on Monday, as Florida reported another record-high average of new infections over the past week," reports the Washington Post. "'Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic,' said Lilian Abbo, an infectious-disease specialist from the University of Miami Health System. 'What we were seeing in Wuhan six months ago, now we're there.' Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) told Good Morning America that 'there is no doubt that our death rate is going to go up after the next week or two,' a day after the state shattered the single-day infection record for any state with 15,300 new cases."

"Painful Coughing, Suffering, Shaking."

The one-day deaths record on Thursday came as the virus is tearing through the state, with everyone from migrant farmers to news anchors catching coronavirus. "Many of our employees are quarantined at home, including anchor Nicole Perez, her husband reporter Roy Ramos, and anchor Louis Aguirre," said the editors at news channel Local 10. "Roy is suffering the most of those on our staff. He's experiencing very painful coughing and shaking and he's likely to be hospitalized today because his symptoms are getting worse." 

All eyes are on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who expressed extraordinary confidence that a hasty reopening of the state—which included restaurants, salons, gyms, and even spectator sporting events, albeit with reduced capacity—was a good idea. 

In April, at the Oval Office, DeSantis said: "When you look at some of the most draconian orders that have been issued in some of these states and compare Florida in terms of our hospitalizations … I mean, you go from D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois — you name it — Florida has done better."

He appears to remain confident that there's nothing to see here. "In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, like [Texas governor] Greg] Abbott, has encouraged masks and social distancing. But unlike Abbott, he has refused to issue a statewide mandate, insisting that new action isn't necessary," reports CNN. "He has wiped out funding for coronavirus treatment in prisons and for online learning services, while insisting schools will reopen in the fall. And he is downplaying the spike in cases in his state, saying that those contracting the virus are younger."

"There's no need to be fearful," DeSantis said last week.

Reopening Will Continue, Says the Governor

Although he is encouraging social distancing and face masks, DeSantis is expressing confidence that some things need to start up again. "Even as the state continues to set records for new cases, and deaths, Mr. DeSantis continued to press for schools to reopen, which Mr. [President] Trump has made a priority," reports the New York Times

"If fast food and Walmart and Home Depot—and I do all that so I'm not, like, looking down on it—but if all that is essential, then educating our kids is absolutely essential," he said. "And they have been put to the back of the line in some respects."

As for staying healthy yourself, and protecting others: Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had advice for every American, Floridians included: "Avoid crowds," he said. "If you're going to have a social function, maybe a single couple or two—do it outside if you're going to do it. Those are fundamental, and everybody can do that right now." So no matter where you live, avoid those crowds, wear your face mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

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