Healthcare worker Dante Hills, left, passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site outside Marlins Park in Miami on July 27, 2020.

Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

Florida reported 186 coronavirus fatalities on Tuesday, breaking its own daily record for deaths.

The state has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases since mid-June and is now the second most-impacted state in the country.

Hospitalizations among children increased by over 20% over an eight-day period in July, but Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to push for schools to reopen at least five days a week from August.

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Daily coronavirus fatalities in Florida hit a new high on Tuesday with 186 new deaths.

That bumps the total number of fatalities up to at least 6,117 in the second worst-hit state in the US. More than 441,970 people have been infected by the coronavirus in the Sunshine State, up 9,243 on Tuesday, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Florida overtook New York’s coronavirus caseload last week and both trail California, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

The state’s stay-at-home order expired on April 30 and, with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ blessing, some businesses resumed operations on May 4, albeit with coronavirus-related restrictions.

Florida’s COVID-19 cases began to escalate in mid-June. The state’s count crossed 2,000 new cases on June 13, 5,000 cases on June 24, 9,000 cases on June 27, and 11,000 on July 4. The state’s highest single-day jump — 15,300 cases — occurred on July 12, per Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that Florida broke its April 28 record of 83 new deaths with 120 new fatalities on July 9. Now Tuesday marks the highest daily increase in COVID-19 deaths.

State data shows that young people between 15 and 44 make up more than 51% of Florida’s coronavirus patients, while the overall test positivity rate is 12.68%. Miami-Dade and Broward counties have been the hardest hit.

Hospitalizations among children in Florida jumped by over 20% over eight days in July, the Hill reported. On July 16, 246 children below 18 had tested positive for coronavirus, but that number had reached 303 by July 24.

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Even so, DeSantis issued an emergency order that public and charter schools must open for at least five days in a week starting in August, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“Our kids are at the least risk from this virus,” the governor said on July 22. “Our kids also play the smallest role in transmission of the virus. Yet, it is our kids who have born the harshest burden of our control measures.”

Several school districts have since announced that they will not be able to reopen safely and the Florida Education Association has sued DeSantis, according to The Times. The American Federation of Teachers on Tuesday threatened to organize “safety strikes” if teachers are forced into situations where their health is compromised, The Washington Post reported.

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