Florida reports record one-day jump in deaths but new cases ease
Peter Wells and Matthew Rocco in New York
Florida reported a record one-day increase in deaths on Tuesday but new cases in the state rose by fewer than 10,000 for the first time in five days.
A further 133 people in Florida died from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, the state health department revealed on Tuesday morning, up from 35 yesterday and surpassing the previous record on June 9 by 13.
In one of the more encouraging signs for the state, which has emerged as one of the new hotspots for the virus in the US, new cases were up by 9,194 over the past day, down from 12,624 on Monday. Until today, Florida reported more than 10,000 cases a day for four consecutive days, including 15,300 on July 12, which was the biggest increase for any state during the pandemic.
A common trend for US states during the pandemic is that figures on Monday tend to be lower than other days of the week owing to delayed reporting over the weekend, but tick back up on Tuesday.
Despite the dip in new cases on Tuesday, Florida’s seven-day average sits at about 11,100. Yesterday, it became the first state to notch an average rate of more than 10,000 coronavirus cases a day, something even early hotspots like New York and New Jersey avoided earlier on during the depths of their crisis.
The number of people who tested positive equalled 15 per cent of all tests, when excluding those who had previously tested positive, according to Florida’s health department. The so-called positivity rate was up from 11.5 per cent a day earlier, as the state recorded fewer tests.
Florida’s infection rates have levelled off in recent days. The positivity rate over the past seven days was down more than 1 per cent compared with the previous week, which followed a 17.7 per cent jump, based on Financial Times analysis of figures from the Covid Tracking Project.
Hospitalisations were also higher, with the number of people currently being treated rising to 8,197, according to the state agency overseeing hospitals. Only Texas has more people currently hospitalised.
Miami-Dade county and neighbouring Broward county represented 37 per cent of Florida’s hospitalisations. The state reported on Monday that a total of 8,088 patients with a primary diagnosis of Covid-19 were in hospital.