Nearly 143,000 people were tested in Florida on Saturday with 11.25% positive results for the coronavirus. This is the lowest rate of positive results in Florida since the end of June, as more and more people are getting tested. On Wednesday, the percentage of people who tested positive for the virus was much higher at 18.35%.
As the virus spreads, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended on-site alcohol consumption in bars, but has rejected calls for a statewide mask warrant. Local authorities such as the governments of the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward, the two most populous counties in the state, intervened and imposed masks in all public spaces.
Even though Florida continues to report record infections, the state is expected to host the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville next month and has demanded that schools reopen in August for at least five days a week.
Disney has also started a gradual reopening of its theme parks in Florida, the leadership benefiting from new security measures and modified operations.
The state’s supply of tests is low, and some local officials fear that hospitals with an influx of patients may soon reach full capacity. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told CNN on Sunday that “it won’t be long” before hospitals in his county reach full capacity.
Florida has become a major epicenter of the epidemic in the United States, as most of the outbreaks are in the southern and western states.
Florida, Arizona, California and Texas, all hotspots for the virus, have seen their average daily death toll hit records in recent days, and health experts warn that deaths will continue to rise over the next few weeks.
In an interview with CBS on Sunday, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted that southern states will likely experience a peak in the next two to three weeks, and warned of an “extended plateau ” after that.
In the United States, at least 134,000 people have died since the start of the epidemic, and more than 3 million cases have been reported across the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.