Record-setting spikes of COVID-19 infections continue, with the number of cases heading to 100,000

Novel coronavirus SARS CoV2, which causes COVID-19. Microphotography by National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Florida Department of Health on Saturday reported 93,797 COVID-19 infections in Florida, up from 89,748 the day before. That’s a spike of 4,049 new cases.

The death toll is now up to 3,144. Of the deaths, the health department reported that 1,653 were at long-term care facilities.

With sizeable increases of infections reported daily, it’s likely Florida will soon hit the 100,000 mark in COVID-19 infections.

On Sunday, March 1, DeSantis announced two coronavirus cases, at a time when no one knew yet how dramatic the numbers would be. The word pandemic had yet to be used at that time.

Only a half a dozen states have reached the 100,000 mark for infections, according to tracking by the New York Times. Those six states are New York, California, New Jersey,  Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts.

That said, based on an analysis of infections per 100,000 people, Florida remains far below many other other states.

On Friday, during a news conference in Miami that capped a week of bad news on the COVID front, the governor reiterated that he saw the rise in caseloads as a result of increased testing, and not his policy of reopening businesses including bars, restaurants, and fitness clubs.

But with big events such as the Republican National Convention and the Junior Olympics games scheduled to be in Florida this summer, the infection numbers are likely to raise concerns for at least some Floridians.

Miami-Dade County now has 25,080 infections, according to the health department data, the largest number in the state. That follows Broward, with 10,837, and Palm Beach, 10,506. Those three counties have been the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hillsborough is at 5,319 infections and Orange, 4,569.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.