The number of coronavirus cases in Florida has jumped 50 percent over the past week, officials said Friday, as the state that already makes up a large chunk of the nation’s total cases sees a surge in new infections.
The Florida Department of Health said there were more than 110,000 new cases recorded this week, a jump from the more than 73,000 reported last week. Case numbers have returned to the level seen in January, before widespread distribution of the vaccine.
Just over 50 percent of Florida’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University, though vaccinations have increased recently.
The number of vaccine doses administered has increased more than 15 percent in a week, from 288,870 to 334,064, according to state health department data.
Federal health officials this week urged local governments to reinstitute indoor mask requirements, even for fully vaccinated individuals, in an effort to curb the spread of the contagious delta variant.
Florida is second nationally in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, behind Louisiana and Nevada, respectively, according to a local NBC affiliate. The Sunshine State has made up about a fifth of new cases reported in the U.S. recently.
“COVID-19 vaccines are very effective, but no vaccine is perfect. In some instances, fully vaccinated people will get COVID-19 and may be contagious,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.
“As the number of people who are vaccinated goes up, the number of breakthrough cases is also expected to increase, even as the vaccines remain highly effective,” it added.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida coronavirus cases jump 50 percent in one week Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate ‘not under consideration at this time’ Publix will require employees to wear masks MORE (R) has urged Florida residents to get vaccinated, but has also criticized the CDC’s masking guidance and signaled he won’t go along with efforts to require indoor face coverings.
The governor on Friday announced he had signed an executive order directing state officials to push to “protect parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks” when school starts this fall.
“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” he said in a statement.
He added during a press conference that his own family would decline to wear masks.
“I have (three) young kids. My wife and I are not going to do the mask with the kids. We never have, we won’t. I want to see my kids smiling. I want them having fun,” he said.