With the United States grappling with the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, Florida hit a grim milestone Sunday, shattering the national record for a state’s largest single-day increase in positive cases.
In Florida, 15,299 people tested positive, for a total of 269,811 cases, and 45 deaths were recorded, according to state Department of Health statistics.
California had the previous record of daily positive cases — 11,694, set on Wednesday.
The numbers come at the end of a record-breaking week as Florida reported 514 fatalities — an average of 73 per day. Three weeks ago, the state was averaging 30 deaths per day.
Deaths from the virus have also been rising in the US, especially in the South and West, though still well below the heights hit in April, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
“I really do think we could control this, and it’s the human element that is so critical. It should be an effort of our country. We should be pulling together when we’re in a crisis, and we’re definitely not doing it,” said University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins.
Adm. Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, called mask-wearing in public, which has been met with resistance in some US states, “absolutely essential.”
Giroir, the assistant secretary at the Health and Human Services Department, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that “if we don’t have that, we will not get control of the virus.’’
President Donald Trump wore a mask in public for the first time Saturday, something Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday showed he has “crossed a bridge.”