FL is closing in on 800,000 COVID-19 infections as Election Day looms; 3rd in the nation for number of cases

Early voting in the state capital, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. Credit: Diane Rado

The Florida Department of Health on Monday reported 782,013 COVID-19 infections, up from more than 3,300 the day before. If those numbers continue daily, Florida is likely to hit the 800,000 mark in less than a week — and just before general Election Day 2020 on Nov. 3.

If that happens, Florida would be the 3rd state in the nation to reach 800,000 COVID-19 infections by Election Day. Only California and Texas have higher numbers, and both of those states have already reached the 900,000 mark, according to a New York Times analysis.

Florida is a major swing state in the 2020 presidential election, and some voters will be going to polling places on Nov. 3, even during the continued COVID-19 pandemic. (Thousands of voters have already been mailing in ballots and casting votes at early voting places.)

From the beginning of the pandemic, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have had the highest number of infections.

As of Monday, the state health agency reported 182,523 infections for Miami-Dade; 83,962 in Broward and 50,816.

Other counties with large counts include Hillsborough, Orange, Duval and and Lee counties.

The state health agency on Monday also reported 16,449 resident deaths in Florida. The state’s Surgeon General, Scott Rivkees, earlier announced that it will review all deaths following concerns about how some death cases have been languishing for weeks to months before the state has published the data.

The New York Times analysis ranks Florida 3rd in the nation for numbers of infections but ranks 7th in the rate of infections, meaning COVID-19 cases per 100,000.

As to the death tolls, Florida ranks 4th in the number of deaths across the nation, and 10th in the category of death rates. New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Louisiana have the highest death rates from COVID-19, according to the Times’ analysis.

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.