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Florida still tops increased COVID cases despite Gov. Ron DeSantis ending emergency orders

39 COVID-19 deaths recorded Monday was 2nd in nation
Contact tracing remains important line of defense against infectious disease
Posted at 6:25 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 11:01:13-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — On the day Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order suspending all local emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including mask mandates, Florida's coronavirus cases continue to be the highest in the country.

Florida led the nation with increased cases for the 12th day in a row Monday, 3,075, and had the second-biggest increase in deaths for one day, 39, which was second to New York with 65.


The decision by the governor brought swift criticism from U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., saying the pandemic is still an issue.

"I strongly disagree with Governor DeSantis stripping local governments of the powers they need to keep their communities safe," said Frankel in a written statement. "The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Vaccine hesitation and the refusal to wear masks and social distance by too many people still prevents us from getting back to normal. It's too early to stop using every tool we have to protect Americans from COVID-19."

Palm Beach County Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth said Monday that local officials will probably accept the governor's judgment and drop the county mask mandate.

However, infectious disease specialist Dr. Larry Bush of Wellington said with vaccination rates slowing, masks may still be needed even if the mandates go away.

How do Florida's COVID cases rank with other states?

A few hours after the governor's order, Florida reported an additional 3,075 cases, which is the least since 1,613 on April 12, and one day after 3,841. Michigan reported 5,035 but it was for two days of data. The only states with single-day increases of more than 2,000 were Michigan with 2,383, New York with 2,200, Illinois with 2,049.

Florida has the third-most cases overall in the nation, 2,245,853, including a daily record 20,015 on Dec. 31, with only No. 1 California, No. 2 Texas and No. 4 New York also reporting more than 2 million. California leads the nation with more than 3 million.

Over seven days, cases have risen by 33,756 for an average of 4,822. The previous week the increase was 38,959 for an average of 5,566 The average since the first case was reported March 1, 2020, is 5,235 per day in 429 days.

Florida, which has the third-largest population in the U.S. behind California and Texas, is sixth in the nation in the seven-day cases rate per 100,000 at 156.5, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Michigan is No. 1 at 251.5.

Deaths in Florida rose by 395 over one week compared with 441 the previous week and more than 1,200 several weeks ago. Palm Beach County, which reported four deaths Monday and none for two days, increased by 23 over seven.

In deaths per 100,000 over seven days, Florida is seventh at two with New York City first with 3.1. The state of New York is separate with one.

Florida has the fourth-most deaths in the nation, 35,507, including a daily record of 276 on Aug. 11, behind California, New York and Texas. The total numbers of deaths including nonresidents passed 36,000 at 36,009.

The state reported Monday there are currently 3,112 hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19, which is an increase of 36. It reached as high as 7,762 on Jan. 14. The high of 9,520 was on July 21 though the state didn't begin posting data until July. In all, there are around 57,000 hospital beds in the state.

Also Monday, Florida's first-time positivity rate is above the 5.0 target at 6.14 percent. Palm Beach County is at 5.91 after two days under 5.0 -- 4.76 and 4.82.

In vaccinations, 29.6 percent of the total population of 21,480,000 has been totally vaccinated and 41.5 percent at least one dose. Among adults, 51.9 percent have had at least one shot and 37.0 percent are completed among a population of 17,171,000 million. The total number of doses is 14,704,166.

DeSantis based his order partially on the distribution of vaccines.

"I think that's the evidence-based thing to do," DeSantis said. "I think folks that are saying that, they need to be policing people at this point. If you're saying that, you really are saying you don't believe in the vaccines."

Note: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect percentage of vaccinations 18 an older based on older population data.