As states across the nation push to reopen their economies that have been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment numbers continue to hit record highs.
Many Floridians wait eagerly for word from Gov. Ron DeSantis on when more businesses may reopen and operation capacities can expand under phase two of his reopening plan.
While talks of bolstering local economies grow, so do cases of COVID-19 in the state. As of Thursday morning, the Florida Department of Health reported 808 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, as well as 48 new deaths as a result of the respiratory illness since approximately the same time Wednesday.
These new statistics bring the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida since it was first detected in the state on March 1 to 43,210 as well as a total of 1,875 deaths.
The FDOH does not provide statistics on those who have recovered from the illness.
Nearly 8,000 people have been hospitalized due to the respiratory illness since March 1. The state does not report current hospitalization numbers.
FDOH also reported Thursday a total of 609,574 Floridians had been tested for COVID-19 since the beginning of March, and a total of 565,627 people tested negative for the disease.
[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]
Here’s how COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations break down in Central Florida by county:
|County||Total cases||Total hospitalizations||Total deaths|
The Department of Labor released new statistics Thursday detailing the devastating hold the coronavirus pandemic has on the nation’s workforce and economy.
Nearly 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid in the two months since the coronavirus first gripped the nation and forced millions of business closures and layoffs.
According to the Associated Press, an additional 842,000 people applied for aid through a separate federal program set up for the self-employed and gig workers, bringing last week’s total to 3.8 million.
The same DOL report said the nation’s unemployment rate soared to 15.7%.
To read the entire DOL report, click here.
Here is a breakdown of weekly unemployment claims in the state of Florida:
While it remains unclear as to when the governor will allow phase two under his reopening plan to begin, DeSantis said in a news conference Wednesday that he is taking a measured approach to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
DeSantis said that the state would be conducting surveillance testing, especially in vulnerable communities like a nursing homes and long-term care facilities, to get a representative sample of coronavirus infections in these populations.
“There is surveillance testing that is going on that is a way to identify a trend or a blip, you’re not testing everyone when you’re doing surveillance, you’re trying to test representative samples and figure out if we see any flair ups in any of these facilities,” DeSantis said. “We think that’s the only way that we can get to a sustainable point where we’re minimizing risk to the vulnerable population.”
In the same news conference, DeSantis said he would welcome professional sports teams to come to the state to resume practices.
Major League Soccer is considering hosting all MLS games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World and resuming its season this summer, according to a report from The Associated Press.
“The one thing I am going to do, probably this week, is all professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing,” DeSantis said Wednesday in a news conference. “Now, we’re not going to necessarily have fans, but there’s been reports that Major League Soccer may want to have their season in Orlando. Do it. We want to have ya’ here."