The Florida Department of Health reported 2,488 deaths from COVID-19 over the last seven days – the highest weekly figure since the pandemic began.
But there was also a glimmer of hope for the Sunshine State, as weekly COVID cases dropped by nearly 30,000, sparking hopes that the Delta variant may be on the wane.
The state previously reported 129,202 cases between August 27 and September 2. But figures from Johns Hopkins University released Friday state reported 100,249 cases between September 3 to September 9, News 8 reported.
Johns Hopkins figures put Florida’s total deaths at 2,448 between September 3 and September 9. Florida state’s report revealed that 353 deaths occurred in the past seven days, although the Sunshine State – which has released figures weekly instead of daily since June – often adds on deaths at a later date.
In the last seven days, on average, the state has added 339 deaths and 15,633 cases to the daily cumulative total, according to the Miami Herald’s calculations of a separate set of data from the Centers for Disease Control.
This comes as the US continues to see spikes and drops in daily COVID-19 cases amid the Delta variant, which brought record number of daily cases throughout August, peaking at 322,934.
The U.S. neared the peak again on Friday as Johns Hopkins University & Medicine reported about 262,076 new cases and about 4,409 new deaths.
That figure includes the 2,448 weekly deaths recorded by Florida on Friday.
Despite facing record high COVID-19 deaths, Florida has seen its weekly number of COVID-19 cases drop. This latest week saw cases fall by nearly 300,000
The US saw a recent spike of more than 260,000 new cases reported on Friday
America continues to lead the world in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic first began
The first case of COVID-19 in United States was reported 597 days ago on January 21, 2020, and the nation continues to lead among the countries with the highest number of positive cases at more than 40 million reported.
Florida alone has accounted for nearly 3.5 million cases and reported more than 48,000 deaths so far, according to JHU.
Figures show that 75 per cent of eligible Americans have gotten at least one jab of the vaccine.
Around 56 per cent of those eligible in Florida are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, slightly above the national average of 54 per cent of Americans who are fully inoculated.
Vaccinations across the state saw a significant decline as the state reported more than 518,000 doses administered on the week of August 27, but only 349,845 administered the following week.
This comes as Florida Gov. Mike DeSantis continues to butt heads with President Joe Biden on mask and vaccine mandates.
DeSantis had ordered all schools in the state to not impose any masking policies or face budget cuts, much to the chagrin of Biden, who promised to help bring funding to the schools who broke away from the governor’s orders.
Florida’s First District Court of Appeals reinstated the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools on Friday after DeSantis filed an emergency appeal hours after a judge ruled against his executive order for the second time.
‘No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children,’ DeSantis wrote on Twitter after the reinstatement. ‘I will continue to fight for parents’ rights.’
Florida Gov. Mike DeSantis, left, has repeatedly criticized US President Joe Biden’s backing of mask and vaccine mandates
Florida parents protested that they did not want their children to wear masks in school
‘No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children,’ De Santis wrote on Twitter after the reinstatement. ‘I will continue to fight for parents’ rights,’ he then added
The court’s decree means the state can now go after schools financially if they decide to impose mask mandates.
A spokesperson for DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, praised the decision on Twitter.
‘1st District Court of Appeals just granted the State of Florida’s request to reinstate the stay – meaning, the rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents’ rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!’ Pushaw proudly declared Friday.
The ruling comes despite objections from concerned parents who fear DeSantis’ policy could cause ‘irreparable harm’ to their children amid the Delta variant.
Thirteen of Florida’s 67 school districts currently have mask requirements.
In contrast, the state has begun to withhold funds equivalent to monthly salaries of school board members in Alachua and Broward counties, and have begun looking in for other counties that are not playing ball.
‘1st District Court of Appeals just granted the State of Florida’s request to reinstate the stay – meaning, the rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents’ rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!’ DeSantis’ spokesperson Christina Pushaw proudly declared Friday after the governor’s motion went through
The ruling is the latest development in an ongoing saga between the state and several local school districts as some Florida schools are fighting for legal mask mandates after a significant, statewide surge of COVID-19 cases. Pictured are masked students in Florida last month
This all comes the day after President Joe Biden’s administration announcing the creation of a new grant designed specifically to cover any fines or withholding of funds that school districts face because of their mask rules.
Republicans nationwide tore into Biden on Thursday after he announced he’d use an emergency order to force businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID testing.
‘Forcing this and coercing people, I don’t think is the right decision. I’d imagine that you’re gonna see a lot of activity in the courts if they try to do that through an executive action,’ DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday.