Florida cemented its status as one of the hardest-hit states in the US’s new Covid-19 outbreak by reporting a record one-day increase in coronavirus deaths, tallying 133 fatalities just days after it saw the country’s largest jump in infections.
The new high comes less than a week after Florida set its previous one-day record at 120 and follows weeks of steadily declining fatalities — a sign the month-long outbreak could replicate the grim death toll of the outbreak’s earlier wave in the US north-east.
Florida on Sunday reported the highest one-day increase in new cases of any US state since the pandemic began with 15,300, though on Tuesday its new cases were up 9,194, down from 12,624 the day before.
The White House has insisted that the new spike in cases in the west and south of the country is not as lethal than April’s outbreak centred on New York because it is infecting a larger percentage of younger patients, who are more likely to survive.
But the new Florida data come just days after other hard-hit states, including Texas and California, set their own one-day records. Arizona on Tuesday reported 92 deaths, which is also a record for the state; last week it recorded 117 fatalities in one day, but that included 52 older cases added when the state changed the way it recorded data.
Arizona’s health department reported an increase of 4,273 new cases, a large jump from the day before but short of its one-day record tally.
Despite the dip in new cases on Tuesday, Florida’s seven-day average sits at about 11,100. About 15 per cent of all tests in the state came back positive, according to Florida’s health department.
The so-called positivity rate, which is closely watched to see if the outbreak is spreading, was up from 11.5 per cent a day earlier, though the state recorded fewer tests. Florida’s infection rates have levelled off in recent days.
Hospitalisations were also higher, with the number of people being treated rising to 8,197, according to the state agency overseeing hospitals.
Only Texas has more people in hospital. Miami-Dade County in south-eastern Florida and neighbouring Broward County accounted for 37 per cent of the state’s hospitalisations.