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Florida Case Count Surpasses That Of New York, The Country's Original Epicenter

As the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus shifts from the Northeast to the Sun Belt, Florida's total case count has officially surpassed that of New York.
Chandan Khanna
AFP via Getty Images
As the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus shifts from the Northeast to the Sun Belt, Florida's total case count has officially surpassed that of New York.

Florida has recorded more coronavirus cases than New York. Only California, the most populous state in the country, has more.

As of Sunday afternoon, data from Johns Hopkins University shows 423,855 people in Florida have tested positive for the coronavirus, compared to 411,736 in New York. California leads with 450,242 cases.

New York, once the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., managed to bring the number of deaths and hospitalizations under control in late spring, as cases began to surge in many Western and Southern states.

Earlier this month, Florida reported 15,299 new resident cases in one day, marking the largest single-day increase in any state since the start of the pandemic and overshadowing a record New York had set in April. It has recorded more than 9,000 new cases per day since then.

And its death toll is starting to catch up. On Thursday, Florida reported 173 new deaths, its largest increase in a single day.

Florida logged 9,338 new cases among residents and 77 new deaths on Sunday, while New York's latest daily numbers reflect 536 new cases and three deaths.

Leaders in each state have dealt with the pandemic using starkly different strategies.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gradually lifted New York's stay-at-home order on a regional basis in May, with New York City becoming the last region to enter Phase One of reopening in early June. New Yorkers have been under statewide orders to wear face coverings in public since April, and the state will decide next week whether to reopen schools in the fall.

In most of Florida, businesses such as restaurants and retail stores could open starting in May, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted calls to impose a statewide mask mandate and other restrictions as cases surge.

He has allowed local leaders to implement measures of their own, with officials in hard-hit South Florida recently tightening restrictions and imposing nightly curfews. On Thursday, President Trump canceled the portion of the Republican National Convention that was set to take place in Jacksonville at the end of August.

Still, the state's education commissioner ordered schools statewide to open for in-person instruction in the fall, a move that Florida teachers are suing to block.

Coronavirus cases are surging in much of the U.S., with an NPR analysis indicating that they are on the rise in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 64,582 new cases and 929 new deaths nationwide.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.