Florida reaches grim coronavirus milestone

July 5, 2020 GMT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida health officials say the state has reached a grim milestone: more than 200,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the start of the outbreak.

State statistics released Sunday show an additional 10,000 confirmed cases. The highest number of confirmed cases in one day came Saturday, when more than 11,400 cases were reported. More than 3,700 people have died.

About 43 percent of the cases are in three counties: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said Sunday on ABC News This Week that the high numbers of positive tests both in his county and in the state are “extremely worrisome.”


“It’s clear that the growth is exponential at this point,” he said. “Our county closed down the beaches for the July Fourth weekend in the hopes that all these rules will have an impact — a positive impact. It takes a little bit of time to find out exactly but we’re obviously very closely monitoring hospitalizations and we’re very, very closely monitoring the death rate, which our lagging indicators that give us the impression that we have to take much stricter — much stricter measurements — measures.”

Suarez had the virus in March.

Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday that residents “let their guard down around late May, early June.”

“The virus is not harmless. No, absolutely not,” he said. “If it were harmless, I wouldn’t be taking the steps that we’re taking here in Miami-Dade.”

Gimenez, who closed the beaches this holiday weekend, said young people are fueling the increase in cases in his county.

“We saw a rapid rise in young people in getting - being positive to COVID-19 around mid-June. And I think that that had a lot to do with probably socializing, young kids going to parties, maybe graduation parties at homes, because it’s - it’s been pretty locked down here for some time.”

Florida’s death count is the ninth highest in the country overall and the 27th highest per capita at 17.4 deaths per 100,000 people.

There were 451.9 new reported cases per 100,000 people in Florida over the past two weeks, which ranks second in the country for new cases per capita.

Also in Florida:

— Four Miami Marlins baseball players and a third Miami Heat basketball player have tested positive.

— Four Pinellas County hospitals were without any space in their intensive care units Saturday, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

— People of color have been overwhelmingly and disproportionately affected by the coronavirus on the Treasure Coast, a TCPalm data analysis found. While only a third of the general population’s racial identity is something other than non-Hispanic white, 85% of the coronavirus cases in June were people of color, the paper found.


Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak