Florida Deaths Hit a Record Without Statewide Plan to Stop Covid

Florida reported records in both Covid-19 deaths and new hospitalizations Thursday.

The state had 120 deaths among residents, compared with 48 the previous day. Cumulatively, deaths among Florida residents climbed by 3.1% to 4,009, according to the report, which includes data through Wednesday.

The report is the clearest sign yet that the wave of new Covid-19 infections that started among younger residents has expanded and begun to have dire clinical consequences. Governor Ron DeSantis has repeatedly ruled out a sweeping mask mandate or taking the state back into a lockdown to stem the virus, although local governments have acted on their own.

While deaths typically lag infections by weeks, the report gave no indications that cases are abating.

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Florida reported 232,718 Covid-19 cases Thursday, up 4% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 5% in the previous seven days.

But the rate of people testing positive for the first time jumped to 18.4% for Wednesday from 14.1% the day before. DeSantis has said he relies on the positivity rate, because it helps adjust for the impact of increased testing on positive-case counts.

Cumulative hospitalizations of Florida residents rose by 2.4%, or a record 409, to 17,167.

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