Florida surpasses New York with more than 414K COVID-19 cases

Miami, Jul 25 (efe-epa).- Florida is the US state with the second highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, after California, having surpassed New York on Saturday with more than 414,000 cases since March, while the Empire State has 411,000, according to figures provided by state and federal authorities.

A total of 12,199 confirmed virus cases were detected in Florida on Saturday, and 124 people died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the state’s caseload to 414,511 and the local death toll to 5,894 since March 1.

The figures released on Saturday by Florida’s Department of Health show that the trend from last week remains intact, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases and more than 120 deaths each day.

Hospitalizations in Florida for Covid-19 have totaled 23,730 to date and more than 3.3 million virus tests have been performed on the state’s 21 million residents, with 12.41 percent of those tests coming back positive for the coronavirus.

The main focus of Covid-19 remains the southeastern corner of the state – specifically the populous counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach – where certain cities are maintaining significant restrictions on public movement and activities with curfews, fines for people refusing to use face masks and permission being given to restaurants to seat diners only in open-air sections.

Of the more than 414,000 confirmed virus cases in Florida, almost 180,000 have been concentrated in those three counties.

Miami-Dade, at last count, had exceeded 100,000 cases – with 101,854, along with 1,379 deaths – while Broward has 48,187 cases and 580 deaths and Palm Beach 29,707 cases and 752 deaths.

In addition, central Hillsborough County – where Tampa is located – had tallied 24,550 cases as of July 21, along with approximately 118 deaths, and Duval County (that is, the county-wide city Jacksonville), where the Republican Party was going to hold its national convention until President Donald Trump cancelled it late this past week, has registered 19,288 cases and 138 deaths.

Trump, who has seen his approval ratings plummet among likely voters, even in Florida, a state he won in 2016, announced that he was cancelling the in-person Republican National Convention after numerous sectors – including health authorities, law enforcement and local officials – displayed continuing reluctance to holding it due to the rapid spread of the pandemic in Florida over the past month after the state tried to reopen its economy.

In Florida, the first reopening phase was launched on May 4, with non-essential businesses like restaurants, retail stores, museums, gyms and libraries being allowed to serve the public once again, albeit with reduced seating or attendance capacity and adherence to hygiene measures and social distancing.

Phase two was implemented in early June, with bars, movie theaters and bowling alleys being allowed to reopen at half-capacity in 64 of the state’s 67 counties, but in the middle of June Covid-19 cases began skyrocketing in the state, where the hospital system is now on the verge of being overwhelmed.

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