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Florida reports 10,000 more coronavirus cases, 92 deaths

That brings the total number of cases in Florida to 360,394 since the state’s first cases were made public March 1.
Teachers and supporters demonstrate Tuesday for a delay in the start of school at the Pinellas County School District headquarters in Largo.
Teachers and supporters demonstrate Tuesday for a delay in the start of school at the Pinellas County School District headquarters in Largo. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Jul. 20, 2020
Updated Jul. 20, 2020

The Florida Department of Health reported 10,347 coronavirus infections Monday — the sixth consecutive day Florida’s cases have grown by more than 10,000 and the 12th day since the Fourth of July. Ninety-two deaths were attributed to the highly contagious respiratory virus.

The Monday numbers bring total cases in Florida to 360,394 since March 1. The statewide death toll, including residents and people who died from the virus while visiting, is 5,183. Last week, Florida reported 740 fatalities, shattering its previous record of 511 set the previous week.

Testing was down Monday by roughly 37,000. The number of positive tests hit 14.7 percent, the highest since last Monday’s 15 percent.

The coronavirus data released each day by the state Department of Health does not necessarily show what occurred during the previous 24 hours. For example, a recent figure from the state on the number of tests conducted included several days of results.

Gov. Ron DeSantis came face-to-face with growing frustrations among Floridians when he spoke Monday at a news conference in Orlando. The governor was drowned out by a group of protesters who yelled and banged on doors as they were escorted from the room.

“Shame on you, Ron DeSantis. You’re lying to the public,” one yelled. “You have blood on your hands,” yelled another.

DeSantis chuckled and shook his head.

“And we won’t be defunding the police,” DeSantis said. “Don’t worry about that.”

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How fast is the number of Florida COVID-19 cases growing?

What’s the picture statewide?

While the number of infections is growing, a declining rate of positive tests has provided hope in recent days that the state could soon meet its target threshold of 10 percent per day.

In the past two weeks, Florida’s daily positivity rate dropped from 18.5 percent to 11 percent. The past 24 hours turned the streak around with a positivity rate of 14.7 percent for the 78,993 tests reported.

To date, nearly 3.1 million people have been tested in Florida for the virus. The highest number of tests processed in a single day was 142,965 on July 11.

The coronavirus data released each day by the Department of Health, however, does not necessarily show what occurred during the previous 24 hours. For example, a recent figure on the number of tests conducted included several days of results.

Monday’s numbers bring Florida’s death rate, calculated as a seven-day rolling average, to about 114 deaths per day, higher than in late April and May.

DeSantis had pointed to the lower death rate as a sign that infections were rising among younger people with milder symptoms. But on July 2, the rolling average crept up to 40 deaths per day, and on Friday, the daily average topped 100 for the first time.

The death rate is increasing as coronavirus infections pick up again among elderly and vulnerable populations. The median age for Florida’s coronavirus cases has held steady for days at 41. The median age declined from the mid-50s near the end of April to the early 30s through May.

According to Monday’s report, 2,400 residents and employees of long-term health care facilities have died from COVID-19. That’s 30 more deaths than reported Sunday.

Hospitalizations are also climbing across the state, records show. Since March 1, hospitals have treated 21,263 coronavirus patients.

According to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, Florida’s hospitals were treating 9,508 coronavirus patients Monday — an increase of 160 patients over Sunday’s number. More than 2,000 of those patients were in Miami-Dade County, records show, and 1,266 were in Broward.

South Florida is responsible for roughly 43 percent of all coronavirus cases in Florida, records show.

• • •

Is Florida’s coronavirus outbreak still growing?

What’s the picture in Tampa Bay?

Twelve of the deaths reported Monday were in Pasco County, which has reported 5,050 total infections and 57 lives lost to the virus since the pandemic began.

Another nine deaths were in Pinellas County, which reported 13,705 cases and 325 overall deaths, and eight were in Hillsborough, which reported 24,135 overall cases and 246 deaths in Monday’s update.

Two deaths were reported Monday in Polk County, which reported 9,877 cases and 177 deaths, and one death each was reported in Hernando and Manatee counties. Monday’s report brings the number of cases reported in Hernando to 1,207 and the number of deaths to 15. Manatee County has reported 6,738 cases and 146 deaths, and Citrus County has reported 855 total cases and 17 deaths.

• • •

Florida coronavirus cases by age group

Doctors say older people are at a greater risk to developing severe symptoms from COVID-19, which makes Florida especially vulnerable.

What’s the picture nationwide?

Across the globe, the coronavirus has infected more than 14.5 million people and killed more than 606,000, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.

No where has the virus’ toll been higher than in the United States, where health officials on Monday reported more than 3.7 million COVID-19 infections to date and at least 140,541 deaths tied to the virus. The number of fatalities reported in the U.S. dwarfs every other country on earth, according to the resource center. The countries closest to reaching America’s death toll are Brazil, which has reported more than 79,000 deaths; the United Kingdom, which reports more than 45,000 deaths; and Mexico, which reports more than 39,000 deaths.

Despite recent surges in Texas, Florida and California, New York is still the deadliest state in America for the coronavirus, with at least 32,187 deaths as of Monday. New Jersey has reported the second-highest number of coronavirus deaths, with 15,706, followed by Massachusetts with 8,431.

How deadly is the coronavirus, really?

If no one else died from the coronavirus in Florida, the disease would still be one of the leading causes of death tracked by Florida’s Department of Health, according to the agency’s website. At its current rate, the respiratory virus is killing three times more Floridians each day than the flu, pneumonia, AIDS and hepatitis combined, state health records show.

More Floridians have died from the coronavirus than died in all of 2019 from either suicide, car crashes, liver disease, kidney disease, influenza, Parkinson’s disease or homicides. The state attributed 2,703 deaths to influenza and pneumonia in 2019.

The state’s 5,183 coronavirus deaths so far, just over half-way through the year, would have ranked the disease No. 8 as a cause of death in 2019, right behind diabetes, records show.

At the current rate of 114 deaths per day, coronavirus would have ranked No. 3 in 2019, records show. Heart disease killed an average of 199 people per day and cancer an average of 142 people per day, the Health Department said.

Across the nation, states have reported a sharp increase this month in the number of coronavirus patients who die from the virus. In July, Florida has logged 1,533 coronavirus-related deaths — more deaths than the state has recorded in any month with 11 days still left.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

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