FL surpasses 400,000 COVID-19 infections; death toll rises to 5,653

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

Florida reached the 400,000 mark for COVID-19 infections on Friday, with 402,312 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The swift rise in cases came after the state reported just over 300,000 infections on July 15. Ten days later, infections surpassed 400,000.

The death toll also has risen, with 5,653 deaths of Florida residents reported Friday, compared to 4,521 on July 15. Of the total deaths reported Friday, 2,559 were from residents and staffers of long-term care facilities.

The increasing numbers have created concerns — particularly as millions of schoolchildren prepare to go back to school — and Gov. Ron DeSantis has tried to allay those fears, even as the Florida Education Association has filed a lawsuit over the reopening of brick-and-mortar schools.

Miami-Dade County, which has the largest enrollment of public school children in Florida, reported 98,430 COVID-19 infections on Friday — the largest number in the state. Broward has 46,576 infections, and Palm Beach, 29,004, according to the state health department. Those three counties have been at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the Phoenix reported, more than half of Florida school districts have delayed their first days of school for the 2020-21 academic year, or are seriously considering it. Children across Florida will be returning to classes somewhere between August 10 and August 31, depending on the district.

An analysis by the New York Times shows that Florida is 3rd in the number of COVID-19 infections, but 5th when it comes to infections per 100,000 people. But the rate of those infections has been climbing throughout the Times’ analysis.

In the number of COVID-19 deaths, Florida is 8th among the 50 states. But Florida ranks 24th when it comes to deaths per 100,000 people. That means Florida is far behind in deaths compared to states such as New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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.