Florida reports 10,000 coronavirus cases for 1st time

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida reported more than 10,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases for the first time Thursday, a milestone that is six times higher than where the daily record stood less than a month ago.

The state also reported 67 deaths Thursday for the second time in a week, as the seven-day average for daily fatalities is now back over 40, a 30 percent increase from two weeks ago. The state’s death rate peaked at 60 per day in early May, but had declined to 30 by June 1 before it began creeping up two weeks ago as case numbers began spiking.

Since March 1, the state has seen more than 169,000 confirmed cases and 3,718 deaths. Before June 11, the state’s worst day for reported cases had been 1,601, set in mid-May. That number has been eclipsed every day for the last three weeks.

Later Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Ron DeSantis are scheduled to visit a medical training center at the University of South Florida in Tampa and meet with reporters to discuss the coronavirus situation. The visit came after Pence canceled a campaign “Faith In America” tour in Florida and other states because of recent spikes in cases.

Before the visit, Florida Democrats held a conference call criticizing the coronavirus response from the White House and DeSantis as inadequate and needlessly endangering lives by opening up too soon and declining to mandate safety measures such as wearing of masks.

“In their rush to reopen, they have put politics ahead of public health,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, who was Health and Human Services secretary under President Bill Clinton. “Why are we in this situation? Because we didn’t do the right thing at the beginning. We needed at the beginning to hit this virus with a hammer, to starve it all the way down.”