Florida has reached the national record for the largest increase in COVID-19 diagnosed cases daily. The record was reached on Sunday, July 12 with an increase of more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day.
The state is on track to reach higher rates of diagnosed COVID-19 cases as Florida’s Department of Health update on the COVID cases went past the previous high of “12,274 by New York on April 4, by 3,026 or 24.6%. It zoomed past Florida’s previous high, 11,458 on the July 4 report, by 33.5% or just over one-third.”
Previous to the record-breaking that took place on Sunday, the previous week in Florida demonstrated an equally devastating number of cases. With the state reporting 514 fatalities last week with an average of almost seventy-three deaths per week.
As the rates rise dramatically, the state has started to retake serious precautions. Stating that those that travel from Florida to another state must go through a self-quarantine period at home to ensure the virus is caught before being spread to other people.
Inside Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican has ordered only ordered for the states bars to be closed however despite this has not set a statewide mandated wear of masks despite public calls for it.
Reporters and official health workers have demonstrated in the past that a majority of these cases are the result of neglecting the seriousness of social distancing after public spaces have reopened. This is especially concerning when Florida is a popular location for Americans and international tourists. The state is home to popular resorts and tourist attractions like Disney World and popular beach resorts, that would normally draw over a thousand people into crowded spaces.
During this time there have also been reports and accusations of Florida’s COVID-19 data as being “unreliable, confusing and hazardous.”
This was addressed when former Florida data chief, Rebekah Jones, launched her own COVID-19 dashboard after being fired in May for refusing to manually manipulate the data to show lower numbers than recorded per the state leaders’ request.
Despite being told that the original public data was not “ours” to use, she still published the data leading to the public to distrust the state officials even more in this time of great need. The issue becoming ” intensely controversial when the public realized the state’s political messaging didn’t match its own data.”
After news of her firing spread trust in Florida’s Health department went down, however other reliable state agencies still release trustworthy and accurate records of coronavirus numbers.
Weeks after Jones was fired, Scott Pritchard, the lead epidemiologist for Florida’s COVID-19 response since January, abruptly quit after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a full reopening of K-12 schools. Despite working with fifteen years of service, a former health department employee stated Pritchard was afraid DeSantis would use him as a scapegoat once cases start “exploding” despite it being official in the Governors position requesting manipulations of COVID-19 records.
Before this, Florida was praised for its upheld standard in COVID data transparency and public access.
Written by: Brielle R. Buford
Edited by Sheena Robertson
USA Today: Florida’s COVID-19 data is unreliable, confusing and hazardous to our health
FoxNews: Florida shatters largest single-day record of coronavirus infections in US while world sees cases spike
AOL.: Florida reports over 15,000 COVID-19 cases in single-day record
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of The National Guard’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License