Florida Becomes Third State to Surpass 1 Million Coronavirus Cases

Florida became the third state in the U.S. to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

After reporting an additional 8,632 new infections, the state's total case count rose to 1,008,166. COVID-19 deaths in Florida remain at 18,679, according to a dashboard from the state's health department.

Florida follows Texas and California, which both reported over a million cases earlier this month.

On November 11, Texas became the first state to surpass 1 million confirmed cases, and California became the next just one day later.

All three states saw massive surges in cases over the summer, overtaking the New York-New Jersey area's status as the nation's hot spot. In Florida, cases began rising again in October, but state officials have stopped short in adopting additional restrictions, as they did in the spring and summer.

On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis said he remained opposed to implementing a statewide lockdown or a mask mandate.

"I'm opposed to mandates, period. I don't think they work," DeSantis said during a coronavirus briefing. "People in Florida wear [masks] when they go out, they don't need to be strung up by a bayonet to do it. Fining people is, I think, totally overboard."

In his first news conference in nearly a month, DeSantis also announced that schools would remain open.

DeSantis has avoided doing live briefings since President Donald Trump's loss in the presidential election and has instead turned to video messages about the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

In a video shared ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend, the governor said that once a vaccine becomes available, Florida will first distribute it to its more than 4,000 long-term senior care facilities.

Florida COVID
People line up at a walk-up coronavirus testing site in Miami Beach on November 17. Florida is the third state to surpass 1 million confirmed cases. Chandan Khanna/AFP

Although state hospitalizations had plateaued from summer highs to around 2,000 a day in early October, they have begun to climb back up and are nearly double those from the fall. As of early Tuesday afternoon, 4,279 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals across Florida's 67 counties, according to the state's online counter.

With a population of roughly 21.5 million, one in 21 Floridians has been infected with the virus, compared with one in 24 nationally.

Florida's Miami-Dade County has been hit particularly hard and has the third largest number of confirmed cases among U.S. counties, with 229,618, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

At No. 1, Los Angeles County in California has reported 400,919 infections, followed by Cook County in Illinois, with 306,369 cases.

Newsweek reached out to Florida's Department of Health for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.