Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said an announcement about when he would be reopening the state would be coming on Wednesday. His current stay-at-home order expires Thursday, but the governor has yet to put a hard date on when the state might begin resuming normal activities, saying it will be a methodical approach.
DeSantis made the statement Tuesday during an Oval Office meeting with President Trump, who praised the governor for doing a “spectacular job in Florida.” Trump said DeSantis, who is a strong supporter of the president, "enjoys very high popularity,” according to the White House pool report.
DeSantis said Florida’s fatality rate has been lower than people would have expected and touted the number of tests performed in the state.
The meeting and look ahead to Wednesday’s announcement came as Florida saw the largest single day of reported deaths Tuesday with state numbers from the Department of Health now showing 32,846 positive COVID-19 cases and 1,171 deaths from more than 368,000 tests performed.
That’s 83 more reported deaths since Monday, and the highest single day of reported deaths in Florida since the pandemic began, although that does not mean everyone died on Monday. More likely a lag in fatality reporting from the weekend led to the large increase.
Previously, April 14 had the most reported deaths with 72, but again, those were fatalities spread out over several days reported at once. State data indicates the actual single deadliest day is only 48 victims on April 17.
The U.S. now has over 1 million coronavirus cases with more than 57,000 deaths. Worldwide cases passed 3 million with more than 213,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
Also at the White House meeting, Trump suggested DeSantis would be "cutting off Brazil” from its travelers entering the state, according to the pool. DeSantis replied, “Well, not necessarily.”
Brazil has been identified as one of the new global hot spots, with more than 4,600 deaths and reports of its healthcare infrastructure nearing a breaking point.
“Would you ever want to ban certain countries?” Trump asked DeSantis, according to the pool report. DeSantis said he would let the White House know.
Gov. DeSantis did not respond to a question about why he waited until April to shut down his state, according to the pool.
DeSantis said Florida viewed coronavirus as a “China deal” at the time of Trump’s ban on travelers from China in January, though eventually he blamed New York for bringing the virus to Florida.
Now that Florida coronavirus deaths are approaching 1,200, one model projects state fatalities will climb to just over 1,900 by summer.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation out of the University of Washington, whose models have been used by the Trump administration to help steer its pandemic response, updated its projections showing the state will reach 1,914 deaths by June 25, although its projections fall between an uncertainty of 1,165 and 4,697.
The same model puts U.S. deaths at 74,073 by July 15, but for both the nation and state, the models now show daily fatalities on a downward trend.
The projections, though, are a jump of about 300 more deaths in Florida and about 6,500 more deaths in the U.S. than were projected last week. The model assumes social distancing will be in effect until infections are minimized and containment implemented.