COVID-19 infections reach the 2 million mark in Florida

This is a new image of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The virus is now creating mutations that are spreading in the United States and elsewhere. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Lab

The Florida Department of Health on Saturday reported 2,004,362 COVID-19 infections, a 2 million mark that only two other states have reached: California and Texas.

Florida’s 2 million figure comes following a year and about two weeks after March 1, 2020, when Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Florida had two coronavirus cases.

While Florida ranks 3rd in the nation for the number of COVID-19 infections, the rate of infections per 100,000 people is far lower than other states, according to a New York Times tracker. In that analysis, Florida ranks 29th of the 50 states.

The state health department on Saturday also reported 32,713 resident deaths from COVID-19 and 624 non-Florida resident deaths.

Those data points, however, have generally been overshadowed by the race to get millions of residents vaccinated to ward off the virus.

That said, the situation remains of concern because so-called COVID-19 variants have been spreading across Florida and the country.

At least three major variants — the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil stains —are more contagious than the original virus, and Florida has more of those variant cases combined in the nation, according to the CDC data.

The state health department’s report on Saturday showed that Miami-Dade County has 433,452 COVID-19 infections, more than any other county in the state. Broward is next with 207,580, and Palm Beach, 127,830.

Those three counties have been at the epicenter of the pandemic since the start, though two other counties now have more than 100,000 infections — Orange County, at 119,871, and Hillsborough, 117,769.

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.