By Christina Maxouris and Holly Yan
The Florida Department of Health reported 15,299 new Covid-19 cases Sunday, the highest number of new cases reported in a single day by any state since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The previous record — also set by Florida — came on July 4, with 11,434 new cases reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The test positivity rate in Florida is 19.60%, according to JHU statistics.
With coronavirus cases climbing across the US, local and state leaders have found themselves at odds over the types of restrictions that should be in place to move forward effectively.
In Florida, Rep. Donna Shalala said the virus is still out of control and places like Miami are edging closer to shutting down fora second time.
“It’s out of control across the state because our governor won’t even tell everybody to wear masks. At least in Miami-Dade county, everyone must wear a mask when they’re outside,” she told CNN Saturday night.
“This is an American tragedy,” she added.
In the past weeks, the state broke multiple records of single-day highs in new cases and reported another 10,360 new infections Saturday. Around 40 hospitals across the state have no ICU beds available and more than 7,000 patients are hospitalized statewide with the virus, state data showed Saturday.
But Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted implementing a state-wide mask mandate, saying last week the state has “stabilized where we’re at.” On Saturday, he suggested Florida would not be moving on to the next reopening phase for now, saying “we want to get this positivity rate down.”
In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp slammed the Atlanta mayor’s decision to move the city’s reopening back to phase 1, saying the action was “merely guidance — both non-binding and legally unenforceable.” Phase 1 includes an order for residents to stay home except for essential trips. The mayor, who has tested positive for Covid-19, defended her decision saying the state opened recklessly and residents were “suffering the consequences.”
“As clearly stated in my executive orders, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide,” Kemp wrote on Twitter.
The debates are part of nationwide efforts by US leaders to control a now rapid spread of coronavirus without having to force residents into a second lockdown. More than half of US states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans in hopes of slowing down new cases. But both mandates and suggestions for face masks by officials still face heavy backlash by many Americans — even as experts warn they’re the most effective way to prevent further spread of the virus.
Now deep into the coronavirus crisis, the US is reporting more than 3.2 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s more than the individual population of 21 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico, according to US Census Bureau data. At least 134,814 Americans have died.
How states are trending
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, at least 33 states are recording an upward trend in new cases, compared to the previous week.
Those states are: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Fourteen states are trekking steady: Alaska, Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington state and Wyoming.
Three states are reporting a decline: Delaware, Maine and New Jersey
Americans hit the road on 4th of July
Even as cases surge in many parts of the country, a new analysis of cell phone data across 10 coronavirus hotspots suggests even more people hit the road over the July 4 holiday than during the Memorial Day weekend.
Mobility is one of the drivers of transmission of the virus, experts have said, but it could be weeks before there is — if there is — an increase in cases linked to the July holiday.
The analysis comes from data shared with CNN by Cuebiq, one of the private companies the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses to track general movement in the US. It included data from Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, Orlando, Tampa, Charleston, Miami and Atlanta areas.
Travelers tended to visit cities in their own state or region, but some traveled further. About 3.7% of visitors to the Miami area came from New York, and nearly 4% came from the Atlanta area. Of the people who visited Phoenix, 16.3% came from just three metro areas in Southern California — including Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego. Others came from areas around Chicago and Dallas.
The travels come despite guidance from health officials who urged Americans to skip traditional celebrations, adding residents who may be feeling well could also be carrying the virus.
The CDC now estimates 40% of people infected with coronavirus show no symptoms. The percent of asymptomatic cases in the country remains uncertain, the agency said.
The fiery debate around school openings
As the country grapples to get ahold of the crisis, the president announced last week he’s pressuring governors to reopen schools in a push to return the country to business as usual.
Despite a surge in cases in the state and cries of protest from educators, Florida’s education department announced it will require schools to reopen in the fall.
Other state leaders have stopped short of announcing any changes just yet, but some local decisions have pushed the beginning of fall semesters back. The CDC has released guidelines for parents and administrators, but the agency’s head, Dr. Robert Redfield, said the decision for the safest course ultimately lies with the districts.
But internal documents from the CDC warned fully reopening K-12 schools and universities would pose the “highest risk” for spread of the virus, according to a report by The New York Times.
The 69-page document obtained by the Times marked “For Internal Use Only” was among materials for federal public health response teams deployed to coronavirus hotspots to help local public health officials handle the outbreak, the newspaper reported.