WASHINGTON, DC — As Florida remains open and almost all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, the White House delivered sobering news to the Sunshine State Friday: twenty percent of all new COVID-19 infections are in Florida.
"Just four states accounted for more than 40 percent of all cases in the past week, with 1 in 5 of all cases occurring in Florida alone," White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Friday.
Cases of COVID-19 are rising in all 50 states the White House and CDC said Friday, especially in Florida. According to TheHill.com, the seven-day moving average of cases in Florida is above 5,500 and the positivity rate stands at roughly 10 percent. The Hill also reported Florida is reporting an average of 29 new infections for every 100,000 people per day, four times the national average.
Zients said the nation will likely continue to see an increase in COVID-19 cases in the weeks ahead, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.
Governor Ron DeSantis has previously said he will keep the state open and his campaign has even taken to insulting the work of public health officials working on the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, DeSantis’ campaign team began selling merchandise that said “Don’t Fauci My Florida,” referencing Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top White House adviser. DeSantis has been critical of Fauci’s advice which has changed as the understanding of COVID-19 has developed over the last year.
DeSantis has banned businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, though that is being challenged in court. The Florida governor has also banned local governments from enacting mask mandates.
Looming on the horizon of the growing spread of COVID-19 in Florida is the start of school in less than a month. Current CDC guidance recommends but does not require, students under 12 to wear masks.
While Florida may not act, Los Angeles put a mask mandate back in effect for all people, including those who are vaccinated, on Thursday.