Nearly 1 in 422 Floridians has died of COVID-19 as the state’s overall COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 50,000.
As of Friday, September 17, Florida has reported 50,811 COVID-19 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state’s health department. Because the state has approximately 21,480,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, that means that roughly one in 422 Floridians has died due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
On September 16, the state reported 1,554 COVID-19 deaths, its highest-ever daily toll. In September alone, the state has had three days where its daily number of COVID-19 deaths has surpassed 1,000.
As of the same date, Florida has the highest COVID-19 death rate out of any state in the United States, The New York Times reported.
Florida has reported 6,250 COVID-19 deaths since the start of September. That means that, since the start of the month, about 15 people in the state have died of COVID-19 every hour.
The state’s daily death toll has steadily risen since the start of July. Previous to then, the state’s highest daily death toll was 272 on January 22. Since the start of July, the state has broken that record 19 times.
In late August, Christina Pushaw, the press secretary of Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, noted that the state’s increase in COVID-19 infections coincided with a rise in infections nationwide caused by the virus’ Delta variant.
She also said that DeSantis had repeatedly promoted the COVID-19 vaccine in over 50 public appearances in 27 state counties.
“Governor DeSantis is committed to ensuring Floridians have access to the clinically proven tools that save lives from COVID-19: Vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments. There is no single policy priority that Governor DeSantis has devoted more time to this year than promoting COVID-19 vaccination,” Pushaw wrote Newsweek in a statement.
However, over the course of the pandemic, DeSantis has opposed certain mitigation measures which could help slow the virus’ spread.
On May 3, DeSantis signed legislation forbidding businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from consumers. On July 30, DeSantis has passed an executive order banning mask mandates in schools. Despite this, businesses and schools have defied DeSantis.
In response, DeSantis pledged to withhold the paycheck of district school board members that approved mask mandates. He also threatened to fine businesses $5,000 for requiring proof of vaccination.
As of September 17, Florida ranks fourth amongst U.S. states with the highest overall number of COVID-19 deaths. As of the same date, the state ranks third amongst U.S. states with the highest overall number of COVID-19 cases. The state has reported over 3.47 million cases since the start of the pandemic.
Newsweek contacted DeSantis’ office for comment.