ORLANDO, Fla. – President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden fought over how to tame the raging coronavirus during the campaign’s closing debate Thursday.
Trump and Biden have taken dramatically different approaches to the pandemic. Trump, who developed a coronavirus infection himself that required hospitalization, is inconsistent about wearing a mask. He also appears at large rallies. Biden routinely wears a mask and his campaign events are limited in number and socially distanced.
With the final debate in the books, each candidate is now in a dead sprint as Americans continue to vote early and mail in their ballots.
Part of Trump’s strategy is visiting areas in Florida that supported him in 2016. He will hold a campaign rally Friday in The Villages.
Political expert and UCF professor Jim Clark says there is a reason Trump continues to come back to the smaller counties in Central Florida. He said looking at the president’s margins, he won big in Lake, Marion and Sumter counties.
“Those three counties gave him what he needed to carry Florida,” Clark said.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases since Sept. 1]
Below is a breakdown of the most recent data provided by the Department of Health.
The Florida Department of Health reported 3,689 new cases on Friday, bringing the state’s overall total to 771,780 cases since March.
The Florida Department of Health on Friday reported 74 people have recently died from COVID-19. As of Friday’s coronavirus report, 16,544 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 204 non-resident deaths in Florida.
State health officials have always maintained that virus fatalities are often delayed in being reported to the FDOH, with some deaths not reported for a month or more.
Currently, there are 2,117 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
The state reported 188 new hospitalizations on Friday, meaning the state has seen a total of 47,953 patients admitted to a hospital since March in relation to COVID-19.
The percent of positive results ranged from 4.42% to 9.23% over the past two weeks and was 4.78% Thursday.
[SEE YESTERDAY’S REPORT: South Florida reports rising COVID-19 infections in schools as state reports 3,662 new cases]
Below is a Central Florida county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 for Oct. 21.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story