On 10 days this month, the state has logged more than 100 deaths from the virus.
Statewide, 8,937 people were hospitalized because of COVID-19, according to the
But at AdventHealth Orlando, DeSantis was told the hospital's COVID-19 patient count had peaked at 515 on
The state's grim statewide death toll was not brought up by DeSantis during his briefing at the hospital. But when asked by a reporter about how he could square his upbeat assessment with the mounting death toll, the Republican governor gave a nuanced response.
"These are tough things to see, when you see fatalities come in," DeSantis said. "Obviously, we're working hard to protect the long-term care facilities; we still have fatalities related to long-term care.
"And obviously, to have families lose someone, that's a big deal. And every one...matters," he said.
DeSantis, though, said the deaths are "reflective of infections and hospitalizations that happened in the past. It's more of a lagging indicator."
DeSantis also concluded there are signs – at least at AdventHealth – that suggest fewer people are being hospitalized with the virus. "As you have fewer COVID-positive patients in the hospital, you'll see mortality decrease as well. And obviously, we want to get there."
The state's positivity rate for the 90,220 coronavirus tests reported Tuesday was 11.7%, the fourth straight day it was below 12% and a decline from earlier this month when the statewide average was soaring to 18% on some days.
With 8,974 people hospitalized for COVID-19,
With DeSantis and his political mentor, President
DeSantis on Tuesday attempted to distance himself from his administration's order, but said he supports giving parents the option of having their children attend in-person classes.
"That's something that's with the commissioner of education; he's really been the lead on this," DeSantis said. "What's clear to me is that parents want to be able to control their kids' destiny and to have a meaningful choice.
"So for me, if parents believe that the distance-learning is the way to go, they're not comfortable in a face-to-face environment for their kid, then I think they have that right," DeSantis said.
DeSantis said that by the middle of August, virus trends could be moving in a better direction.
"I recognize that every district in the state, all 67, you're not going to have the same model apply in all 67," DeSantis said.