Why Pandemic Experts are Eyeing Florida for COVID-19

Why Pandemic Experts are Eyeing Florida for COVID-19


Florida has shattered its previous record for the number of new coronavirus infections recorded in a day, roughly two weeks after the state transitioned into the second phase of its reopening plan.

The Florida Health Department reported 3,207 new cases on Thursday, marking the largest daily increase since early March. The previous record occurred on Tuesday, with the announcement of 2,782 new cases. 

As of Thursday, Florida has recorded over 85,000 cases and at least 3,061 deaths. The recent spike in infections has some experts worried the state could become the next major hotspot for the virus.

“Florida has all the makings of the next large epicenter,” scientists at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “The risk there is the worst it has ever been in our projections.”

Roughly 4 million people who are 65 or older live in Florida. That population is particularly vulnerable to the virus.


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Olga Karamalak puts the finishing touches on a Mother's Day flower arraignment at Relles Florist in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Florists are among the retail businesses that Gov. Gavin Newsom said might be eligible to open before the end of this week under upcoming state guidelines on the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

MTA officials work on trains for the disinfecting operations at the Coney Island Stillwell Avenue Terminal Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Employees wait to hear President Donald Trump speak after a tour of a Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A shopper in a face mask looks over cuts of beef piled up in a cold room for purchase at a Costco warehouse store Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in west Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Bhagirathi Savage pays the cymbals at 7 o'clock, Tuesday evening, May 5, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York. She is part of a community of devotees of the late Indian guru Sri Chinmoy that gathers each evening to salute those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A fisherman casts into the surf Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Huntington Beach, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration gave approval Tuesday to plans by Huntington Beach and two smaller cities to reopen beaches that fell under his order shutting down the entire Orange County coast after a heat wave drew large crowds to the shore. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Emory Hospital RN Aisha Bennett takes a nasal swab at a pilot large scale drive-through COVID-19 testing site in the Georgia International Horse Park on Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Conyers, Ga. Testing is by appointment only and open to anyone in the general public who believes they are ill with COVID-19. According to Chad Wasdin, communications director for the Gwinnett Rockdale Newton Health Departments, due to increased testing capacity 400 appointments are scheduled for anyone who thinks they may be ill with the virus. While the Health Department requires a scheduled appointment to test individuals, referral from a doctor is not necessary. There is no charge for the testing, and those tested do not need to provide health insurance information. "We look forward to piloting this large-scale test site," said Dr. Audrey Arona, district health director and CEO of Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments. "This is a fantastic collaboration between Rockdale and Newton county governments, their EMAs, and the Health Department. Testing will provide individuals in the community an opportunity to learn if their illness is consistent with the COVID-19 virus, and it will help us improve our plans for providing large-scale testing. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/04/21: People wearing face masks as a preventive measure, line up at one of NYC new testing tents outside Gotham Health in East New York amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio announced new testing facilities in low income communities where the coronavirus has hit the hardest. (Photo by Braulio Jatar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A woman looks to get information about job application in front of IDES (Illinois Department of Employment Security) WorkNet center in Arlington Heights, Ill., Thursday, April 9, 2020. Another 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the US Department of Labor, as American workers continue to suffer from devastating job losses, furloughs and reduced hours during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/04/21: Oculus mall and transportation hub stays virtually empty because of COVID-19 pandemic at World Trade Center. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, UNITED STATES - APRIL 21, 2020: Health workers speak to a man with a bicycle after testing him for COVID-19 at a mobile testing site at the Apostolic Church of Christ in a historic black neighborhood in Seminole County. State and county health officials are offering free tests at six historic black neighbourhoods to help residents who are unable to drive to a health clinic or may be unable to afford health insurance.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/ Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Volunteers at the Islamic Society of Central Florida distribute food from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to needy families during a drive-thru event on April 9, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. The food bank has seen record demand for assistance in the Orlando area due to job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

USS Intrepid is seen with blue lights on April 9, 2020 in New York City, USA., Landmarks across the United States are Illuminated In Blue To Honor Essential Workers with the hashtag "Light it Blue" (Photo by John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 09: Some residents are attempting to bring some Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by dressing as the Easter Bunny and walking the Lakeview neighborhood in preparation for Easter on April 09, 2020, in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: A Building in Times Square, displaying a thank you message to those fighting for our lives, is reflected in a puddle amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 9, 2020 in New York City. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming 96,000 lives with infections at 1.6 million people. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Geoff Gilbert (left), Madhvi Venkatraman(CQ)(center), and Megan Macaraeg, help undocumented immigrants who are in need of help during the pandemic covid19 in Columbia Heights in Washington, DC on April 09, 2020.
(Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 7: Empire State Building lights up like an ambulance to honor emergency healthcare workers responding to the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City, United States on April 7, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 7: Three medical workers wearing gloves and face masks stand at the entrance to the Maimonides Medical Center in the on April 7, 2020 in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. New York City has more than 74,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 3,500 deaths, according to published reports. (Photo by Pablo Monsalve/VIEWpress via Getty Images)"n

NEW YORK, New York - APRIL 07: A view of the "Police Line- Do Not Cross" tape marking the parameter of a temporary field hospital to treat covid-19 patients set up in Central Park by "Samaritans purse" a charitable organization working with Mount Sinai. on April 07, 2020 in New York City, United States. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 80,000 lives with over 1.4 million infections. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - APRIL 7, 2020: Hospital workers wheel out bodies to be stored in a portable morgue outside Brooklyn Hospital. New York had its highest 24 hour death toll with 731 people dying of the corona virus, however hospitalization seems to be going down.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Braulio Jatar / Echoes WIre/ Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Braulio Jatar / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

WEST COVINA, CA - APRIL 07: Karina Pantoja, left, community home dental coordinator along with Dentist Dr. Rosette El Rehab screens people during Coronavirus testing by the city of West Covina and AltaMed in West Covina on Tuesday, April 07, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 8: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at a press briefing on the city's efforts battling the coronavirus pandemic outside City Hall in Boston on Apr. 7, 2020. He wore a New England Patriots protective face mask. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)