Cocoa Beach is packed with Memorial Day weekend beachgoers, May 23, 2020.
Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
The Florida Department of Health on Friday reported 3,822 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the biggest single-day increase in the state to date.
Experts have warned that the state could be the pandemic’s next epicenter as residents continue to take advantage of open beaches and bars.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday that the average age of people infected was “plunging,” but added that he wouldn’t issue a statewide order requiring masks.
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Florida set another record Friday, with the health department reporting 3,822 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the highest number the state has seen in a single day.
The previous record was set on Thursday, when the department said there were 3,207 new cases.
Florida’s total is nearing 90,000 infections, according to state data.
The news follows some experts’ warnings that the state could become the next epicenter of the pandemic, as residents and visitors continue to enjoy open restaurants, bars, shops, and beaches, many without practicing social distancing or wearing masks.
Related Video: How Long Will Social Distancing Last? It’s Complicated.
According to a report released Wednesday by scientists at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, “Florida has all the makings of the next large epicenter … the risk there is the worst it has ever been in our projections.”
A woman wears a face shield as she wades in the ocean off South Beach on June 10, 2020, in Miami Beach.
Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images
Earlier this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the continuous increase in cases was a result of expanded testing and surges among farmworkers and nursing-home residents, Fox 13 reported.
But during a press conference Friday, DeSantis said another demographic was emerging: young people.
The median age of confirmed infected people has “plunged” to 37 statewide, he said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. In Orange County, the median age was 29. In Seminole County it was just 26.
Kat Layton is one of those young people who tested positive. She’s among the group of 16 friends who all became infected after visiting a pub in Jacksonville on June 6. She told CNN’s Chris Cuomo she hoped others learn from her mistakes.
“We want to tell people it’s really not ready for what we thought it was ready for — it’s too soon,” she said.
Still, on Friday, DeSantis said he would not issue a statewide order requiring mask-wearing, the Sentinel reported.
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