Thursday's new record topped the 2,783 cases reported just two days earlier by the
There now have been 85,926 coronavirus cases reported in
"We're not shutting down, we are going to go forward, we are going to continue to protect the most vulnerable," DeSantis said, adding, "the negative effects" of shutting down again would be much worse than "any gains you're getting."
The Republican governor has attributed the rise in cases to the state's expanded testing, along with clustered outbreaks involving farmworkers and at nursing homes, where residents and staff have been undergoing increased testing.
"We have a growing epidemic in
Longini added that the leap in daily caseloads should not be considered a resurgence of the virus – a factor some public health experts warned could be expected later in the year, particularly during fall and winter flu season.
Instead, he said this increase is still part of the first wave of the illness, and is driven in part by state economic reopening and a lack of effective contact tracing to find and isolate people that may have come in contact with someone testing positive.
"You can't argue that this big increase in cases is entirely due to more tests," Longini said.
After lagging in testing for most of March, April and May, the state has now been regularly topping the public health-recommended level needed to control the virus which, based on population is 31,800 daily tests in
That mark has been surpassed 10 of the past 14 days, records show.
Several health care advocacy organizations led by
Marta Wosinska, a public health expert at
She acknowledged that
The tracking project also found that
Last week, DeSantis touted plans to reopen schools on campus in the fall, announced that
The decision came after President
Longini at the
The governor has pointed to the reduced risk of hospitalization or death among younger or middle-age people who test positive for the virus.
Still, 20% of the state's population is at least age 65, and older Floridians' fear of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19 is certain to hold down the state's economy, even with reopening, Longini added.
"You don't want to start seeing this kind of almost exponential rise," he said. "It can easily get completely out of hand again."