Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the pandemic’s inception, according to federal health data released Saturday.
As the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus spreads, the state has become the new national epicenter for the virus, accounting for roughly one-fifth of all new cases in the United States.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has opposed mandatory mask and vaccine mandates, and he and the state legislature have curtailed local governments’ authority to apply COVID-19-prevention regulations.
DeSantis issued an executive order on Friday prohibiting school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.
The most recent figures were collected on Friday and published on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.
The data demonstrate how swiftly the number of cases in Florida is increasing: only a day ago, the Sunshine State reported 17,093 new daily cases. Before immunizations became widely available, the previous high in Florida was 19,334 cases reported on Jan. 7.
This week, the state reported 409 deaths, bringing the total to more than 39,000 since the program’s inception in March 2020. The state’s high point occurred in mid-August 2020, when 1,266 people died in a seven-day period. Deaths usually occur a few weeks after an increase in hospitalizations.