WUSF Public Media – WUSF 89.7 | By Mark Schreiner Published August 6, 2021
Chris Persaud Tallahassee Democrat
Florida once again broke its record Saturday for newly reported coronavirus infections in a single day.
The state’s COVID-19 case count spiked by 23,903 on Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Saturday, more than any other state and accounting for one in five new infections nationwide.
It was the biggest single-day increase the state has ever recorded. The second-largest rush happened Thursday, when the state reported 22,783 new infections to the CDC.
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The CDC collects and reports daily data from Florida. The state stopped publishing daily reports June 4. The Florida Department of Health said at the time the slowdown was warranted in part because the spread of new infections slowed as vaccinations proliferated. That was before the highly infectious delta variant of the airborne pathogen became the dominant viral strain nationwide.
Meanwhile, hospitals across Florida are filled with more COVID-19 patients than ever, 13,750, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Saturday. Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration stopped publishing daily hospitalization numbers on June 4. But the state still reports the numbers to the federal government.
Florida’s hospitals admitted a total of 2,165 new adult patients who had caught the deadly respiratory illness, HHS reported, the most ever recorded.
Florida added 93 more people to its COVID-19 death toll Friday, the CDC reported Saturday, more than any other state, and accounting for about one in seven new fatalities nationwide.
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As the airborne virus infects, hospitalizes and kills more people across Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has said there’s nothing much his administration can do about it. He called the summer swell a “seasonal” trend, a claim disputed by epidemiologists.
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“You have some politicians who say, ‘I’m going to eliminate the virus. I will defeat it,’ ” he said, using a Darth Vader voice, Friday at a news conference in Port St. Lucie. “Unfortunately, government can’t just end it. These waves ebb and flow. It’s not something government can control.”
Florida has recorded more new infections so far this month, 117,753, than California and Texas combined. And with 598 new deaths logged this week, Florida accounted for one in five new fatalities nationwide.