June 21 (UPI) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that he plans to more closely monitor businesses not following coronavirus guidelines as the state has experienced a surge of new cases.
The state reported 3,494 additionalcases during a 24-hour period ending Saturday night as total cases in the state rose more than 49 percent in the past two weeks to 97,291, the seventh most in the United States. The record was 4,049 Saturday. Florida has also reported a total of 3,161 deaths, the ninth highest death toll in the nation, including an additional 17 on Sunday after a rise of 40 Saturday.
The United States has reported a total of 2,260,972 cases of COVID-19 and 119,762 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
DeSantis also said the median age in new COVID-19 cases has begun to show a trend of infections among people between the ages of 25 and 30.
“Our cases are shifting in a radical direction younger,” DeSantis said Saturday. “Much of the spread is in the younger populations and we are going to deal with that. Even hospital admissions have skewed younger and less acuity.”
The median age for cases is down to 44. In addition, the overall positive test rate has risen to 9.2 percent from 5.2 percent last week as testing has become more widespread without criteria on who can be tested. On Saturday, 38,055 tests were reported as total ones passed 1.6 million.
DeSantis said he planned to increase inspections of bars, restaurants and hair salons by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. He also encouraged Floridians to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on wearing masks in public but declined to issue a mandatory mask order as states such as California have done, saying he trusts people to make good decisions. Some counties have mandated masks.
“I’ve not pre-empted locals from doing what they think is right. At the same time, you have to enforce that and you have to make a decision about what penalty is appropriate,” he said.
Amid conflicting opinions and policies surrounding the use of face coverings, including regular refusals by President Donald Trump and members of his administration to wear them, a CDC official told CNN the agency is reviewing whether masks are not only good for preventing the spread of the virus but also for helping to prevent individuals from contracting it themselves.
New York, which leads the nation in coronavirus cases and deaths, reported 664 new positive cases for a total of 387,936 and 15 new deaths for a death toll of 24,725. Including probable deaths in New York City, the total is 31,213.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who on Saturday weighed quarantining visitors from Florida amid its surge in cases, warned of a second wave of infections in the nation after states faced political pressure to lift restrictions put in place to prevent the spread.
“There was a desire to reopen, reopen, reopen, And you know where we are now? Dow Jones tumbles again, fear of second wave. That’s what happens when you reopen and you don’t do it intelligently, you do it politically,” Cuomo told CBS Sunday Morning as New York City prepares to enter the second stage of its reopening plan on Monday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state reported 411 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday for a total of 169,142 — third highest in the United States — in addition to 17 new deaths for a death toll of 12,870, trailing only New York.
Massachusetts had reported the third-highest death toll in the United States with 7,858 and 107,061 for fifth in the nation. Illinois had the nation’s fourth-highest death toll at 6,647 and the fourth most cases with 136,762, while Pennsylvania ranked fifth in deaths with a toll of 6,423 and eighth in cases with 85,918.
California ranked behind only New York in positive cases after reporting4,515 new infections on Saturday for a total of 173,824 in addition to 5,495 deaths, seventh in the United States.
Arizona and the Carolinas have also experienced a recent surge in cases. Arizona reported 2,592 new cases on Sunday for a total of 53,390 and 1,339 deaths.
North Carolina reported 1,412 new cases on Sunday for a total of 52,801 and 1,220 total deaths, while South Carolina reported 907 new cases for a total of 24,66 with a death toll of 653/