Over the last week, Florida saw a 50% increase weekly in new cases, as the state reported 110,477 cases from July 23 to July 29, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health.
Florida also reported 409 deaths last week. This brings the total state's death toll to over 39,000 since March 2020, when the pandemic started. Mid-August 2020 saw the state's highest number of deaths, with 1,266 people dying in seven days.
Florida has been identified as a new epicenter of the virus. CDC data indicates that Florida is home to nearly a fifth (and growing) of all new cases. This is due to the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus delta variant.
The Governor Resists Mask Mandates
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opposes making mandatory masks across the state, as well as vaccine requirements. DeSantis and the state legislature have limited the power of local officials to enforce restrictions public health officials believe would stop the spread COVID-19.
The new order will allow parents to decide whether their children will wear masks in the classroom, despite the fact that the CDC has released guidelines that suggest everyone within K-12 schools wear a mask.
The Big State Theme Parks are Bringing Back Masks
Florida's theme parks are taking additional measures to ensure the safety of their visitors and staff.
SeaWorld Orlando Resort and Universal Orlando Resort have updated the requirements for masks. Visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, are asked to wear masks indoors and practice social distance if they can.
"We encourage all guests - regardless of vaccination status - to wear face coverings while indoors," according to Universal Orlando Resort's updated safety guidelines.
SeaWorld posted on its website that it was recommending that visitors follow the recently updated recommendations given by CDC to wear face coverings while indoors. Disney World in Orlando this past week also brought back an indoor mask mandate.