Florida set a weekly record of nearly 500 coronavirus-related deaths, a roughly 16 percent increase from the last highest weekly mortality rate reported in May.
The state’s Department of Health reported 95 new deaths Saturday, bringing the weekly total to 496 fatalities, which is an average of 71 deaths a day, reports Fox News.
Florida’s weekly mortality average three weeks ago stood around 30 fatalities before the state started seeing spikes — reaching their current daily record of 120 deaths reported Thursday.
The state reported 10,383 new cases Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 254,511 cases and 4,200 deaths.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned earlier this week that the global community should expect to see a rise in deaths, following weeks of spiking coronavirus cases.
“In April and May, we were dealing with 100,000 cases a day,” WHO health expert Dr. Michael Ryan said during a press briefing Tuesday. “Today, we’re dealing with 200,000 a day.”
The previous weekly record for average daily cases reported was 60, set on May 8. Florida then saw a drastic drop in cases, but health experts do not believe that this pattern is reoccurring.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allowed parts of the state to initiate Phase One of reopening on May 4, and by May 18 the entire state — including the hardest-hit areas of Miami-Dade — was allowed to start reopening restaurants, offices and manufacturing, though Miami-Dade was the only county required to limit restaurant capacity to 50 percent.
Ryan explained that the sharp rise in cases is not strictly due to an increase in testing, adding: “This epidemic is accelerating.”
Testing has vastly increased, but the ratio to people being tested and testing positive has increased. In early June, the daily percentage of positive tests hovered around five percent, but the daily rate of positive cases over the last week has surpassed 19 percent.
Health experts have said the death rate increases two to four weeks after infection rates have spiked.
“So I don’t think it should be a surprise if the deaths start to rise again,” Ryan said Tuesday.
President Trump has expressed his frustration with health experts’ warnings, taking to Twitter Thursday to say: “For the 1/100th time, the reason we show so many Cases, compared to other countries that haven’t done nearly as well as we have, is that our TESTING is much bigger and better.”
“We have tested 40,000,000 people. If we did 20,000,000 instead, Cases would be half, etc. NOT REPORTED!,” Trump added.