Although Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump attribute the majority of new COVID cases in Florida to expanded testing, the numbers don’t add up.
Florida — The troubling upward trend in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues unabated in the Sunshine State. On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health (FDH) confirmed 2,783 new cases of COVID-19. This comes after a weekend that saw more than 4,000 new confirmed cases of the illness. In fact, on Saturday morning alone, the FDH reported 2,581 new cases of coronavirus, which represents a 35% increase over the previous one-day high of 1,902 new cases.
This means that as of Tuesday, Florida has 80,109 new confirmed cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. State residents account for 78,128 new cases, while non-residents account for 1,981. Fifty-five new deaths were reported, bringing the number of fatalities to 2,993.
South Florida, home to 29% of the state’s population, remains the epicenter for the disease. On Tuesday Miami-Dade County saw 544 additional confirmed cases and 21 new fatalities. It now has a total of 22,741 confirmed cases and 847 deaths, the highest in Florida. Broward County reported 412 new confirmed cases and no new deaths, while Palm Beach County had 247 additional confirmed cases and nine new deaths.
DeSantis’ Numbers Don’t Add Up
Republican Gov. Ron De Santis has a theory for the rapidly escalating upward trend.
“As you’re testing more, you’re going to find more cases,” the Trump ally said Thursday during a press conference.
But although the Republican incumbent attributes the majority of new cases to expanded testing, a theory also espoused by President Trump, on closer inspection, the numbers don’t add up.
That is because data shows that the number of tests conducted per day in Florida has remained unchanged, while the average number of cases has more than doubled. On June 1, Florida’s seven-day average stood at 726 cases per day. But as of June 15, it had more than doubled to 1,775. In other words, testing doesn’t explain Florida’s recent increase in new infections.
DeSantis has also attributed the increase in cases to an outbreak among farmworkers and increased testing at nursing homes, not the reopening of the state, which began its phase one on June 1st.
However, a Miami Herald analysis shows that as “bars, gyms, vacation rentals, and movie theaters reopened at partial capacity in all but three South Florida counties, the number and rate of new COVID-19 cases were rising statewide.”
The Show Does Go On
Despite the troubling indication that the disease could be spreading more quickly across the state, during a conference held at City Hall on Monday, Miami and Miami Beach Mayors Francis Suarez and Dan Gelberg said that they are concerned about the spike in new cases and positive test rates in Miami-Dade County. But added that they don’t believe it is necessary to shut down businesses and public spaces that were reopened (some in limited capacity) across South Florida in the last few weeks.
Both officials, as well as Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, also announced that at this time they don’t have plans to reopen additional businesses, such as bars and movie theaters.
At the same time, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced last Thursday that, despite the rising trend in new COVID-19 cases in Florida, President Donald Trump will give his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in his adopted state, on Aug. 27 at Jacksonville’s VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, which holds 15,000 people.