Florida surpassed 400,000 total coronavirus cases on Friday, one day after Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state had “clearly stabilized with the cases.”
As of 9:25 a.m. ET Friday, Florida had recorded some 402,312 cases of COVID-19, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health. The state logged an average of 10,700 cases per day over the last seven days.
In all, some 5,653 people have died of COVID-19 in Florida, according to the state health department.
The somber milestone follows the U.S. topping 4 million confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide. The South, Sun Belt and parts of the western U.S. are grappling with recent alarming surges in coronavirus infections.
DeSantis, a first-term Republican, in recent days suggested that conditions were improving in his state. During a news conference at a medical center in the city of Melbourne on Thursday, the governor said the state was heading in the right direction.
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“If you look at what we're seeing on the ground in places like Brevard County, I think that we're seeing some positive momentum,” DeSantis said. “I do think that we are going to head in a better direction here shortly.”
“I would much rather be in a plateau than be in an escalation,” DeSantis added. “We clearly stabilized with the cases. We're definitely trending in a better direction. We're trending much better today than we were two weeks ago.”
The majority of COVID-19 infections appear to be clustered in South Florida, where municipal officials have reinstated restrictions on bars, eateries and other public places in an effort to halt the spread of the deadly virus.
Florida ranks third on the list of states with the greatest number of infections. California leads the nation with more than 433,000 confirmed cases as of Friday morning, followed by New York, with nearly 416,000 cases.
The worsening health conditions in the Sunshine State clearly got the attention of President Trump's re-election campaign. Trump said Thursday that he will no longer hold a large, in-person Republican convention in Jacksonville, Florida, because of the coronavirus but that he will hold virtual events and still give an acceptance speech.
Trump told reporters it was “not the right time” for a big convention, adding that he had “to protect the American people.”
However, DeSantis is expected to visit the White House on Friday afternoon, a White House official confirmed. He will be at the president’s 3 p.m. ET signing of an executive order aimed at lowering prescription drug prices.
“President Trump is excited to have Governor DeSantis joining the drug pricing event today as reducing drug pricing is a shared priority of the president and the governor,” the official said. “We also appreciate the ongoing partnership with Florida leaders on responding to COVID-19.”
Here's an overview of other coronavirus developments making headlines Friday:
— The World Health Organization reported a record single-day increase in global coronavirus cases: 284,196 in 24 hours, according to Reuters. The agency also logged the largest single-day increase in coronavirus-related deaths: 9,753.
— As schools decide whether to reopen, Dr. Deborah Birx — the White House coronavirus task force coordinator — told NBC News' Savannah Guthrie it's unclear how much young children spread the coronavirus.
— Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced stringent new travel guidelines that all people coming into the state must follow.
The order mandates that people entering the state, residents and visitors alike, must fill out a travel form and quarantine for 14 days unless they're coming from a state where the virus risk is lower, or they have a negative test result that's no more than 72 hours old. Those who don't comply with the new rules, Baker's office said in a statement, are subject to a $500 daily fine.
— McDonald's will require customers to wear masks or face coverings when entering its roughly 14,000 locations nationwide beginning on Aug. 1, the fast food chain said in a statement.
“In those situations where a customer declines to wear a face covering, we’ll put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly, expedited way,” the company added.