ORLANDO, Fla. – Medical experts have said all along that as the community reopens and people start to move around again, there could be an uptick in new coronavirus cases -- and there has been.
On Thursday, Florida health officials reported 1,698 new cases of COVID-19, the largest number of new infections in a single day since the state started tracking the virus in March.
[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]
The second-highest day was last Thursday, when there were 1,419 cases.
The increased numbers come three weeks after the state entered “full phase one” of Gov. Ron Desantis’ reopening plan, and just days after phase two of the reopening process began.
Dr. Antonio Crespo, with Orlando Health’s infectious disease team, said the jump in the number of cases isn’t all that shocking.
“People have started to go out more, so it’s not unexpected to see an increase,” Crespo said. “We are seeing a slow increase in the number of cases from the last few days. We’re monitoring that situation very closely,” he said.
The state’s peak for new cases was April 5th -11th, according to state data.
Cases had gone down until the state started reopening on May 4 and since then, we have seen a steady increase, the data shows.
Dr. Ali Mokdad is with the Institue for Health Metrics and Evaluation. His COVID-19 projections are used around the world, even by the White House.
“It’s very important for us to open our country but let’s do it correctly,” Mokdad said.
Florida has already seen 2,848 deaths, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Mokdad projects there could be 6,559 deaths by October. That could mean thousands more lives lost if the community is not careful about transmission.
[INTERACTIVE MAP: Coronavirus cases in Florida]
“The virus is still out there and it’s circulating so you have to be extra careful. We shouldn’t let our guards down,” Mokdad said.
The best thing to do is take precautions by maintaining social distance, according to experts.
Medical experts say there is more and more evidence that some type of face covering also reduces transmissions rates.