After a record high number was reported 24 hours earlier, Florida saw 2,610 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and 25 additional deaths.
With that increase, the statewide case total now sits at 82,719 while the death toll is at 3,018. Total hospitalizations, up by 183, now stand at 12,389 since the virus was first detected in the state on March 1.
On Tuesday, Florida saw the largest increase of new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day with 2,783 newly reported cases. Wednesday saw the second-largest increase of newly reported coronavirus cases on record for the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed the recent spike in cases Tuesday evening, brushing off the swelling numbers to increased testing and clusters within certain communities, including inmates and farmworkers.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried came out hours before that saying the governor had “lost control of Florida’s COVID-19 response,” adding that she thinks he “recklessly” reopened the state before the curve could be flattened.
Fried’s department also cried foul on DeSantis’ claim that farmworkers who are “packed like sardines” on school buses are responsible for spreading COVID-19.
DeSantis also said the state is doing more testing -- about 30,000 tests per day compared to around 10,000 in April -- and seeking out asymptomatic people in known hot spots, including at a Central Florida airport where 260 workers were diagnosed.
Here’s how the numbers break down locally:
Both statewide and in Central Florida, health leaders have noted that patients are trending younger as bars and restaurants begin to reopen. These patients are less likely to suffer from severe symptoms that would require hospitalization.
In Oviedo, the mayor posted a message to Facebook urging younger residents to take precautions to keep from spreading COVID-19 to older populations who are more likely to become critically ill.
The city is currently at the center of the county’s hot spot with a local health official noting they’ve seen cases in bars located by the University of Central Florida in the Oviedo area. At least a few restaurants and bars locally, and even more statewide, have closed after reporting COVID-19 positive customers or employees.
On top of that, records from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation show that 278 complaints were received thus far during the pandemic. They range from reports that businesses were operating after they were ordered to be closed and concerns about a lack of social distancing measures.
Despite the concern, DeSantis said he has no plans to shut down the economy once again.
“So no, we’re not shutting down, you know, we’re going to go forward we’re going to continue to protect the most vulnerable,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “We’re going to urge, continue to advise, particularly our elderly population, to maintain social distancing, avoid crowds and, you know, the masks we’ve basically said from the beginning, if you can’t social distance or if you’re in a face to face, then the masks are recommended.”
As nations grapple with new outbreaks and spiking death tolls from the coronavirus, a commonly available drug appeared Tuesday to offer hope that the most seriously ill could have a better chance of survival, the Associated Press reported.
The drug, called dexamethasone, reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20% in those only needing supplemental oxygen, researchers in England said. It did not appear to help less-ill patients.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the drug was the “biggest breakthrough yet” in treating the coronavirus, and top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called it "a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have.”
As far as a vaccine goes, trials could begin in just a few weeks but there’s no guarantee it will offer immunity.