Florida is reporting close to five times the number of COVID-19 cases that it had a little more than a month ago when Gov. Ron DeSantis greenlighted Phase Two of his plan to reopen the Sunshine State.
As of Tuesday morning, 291,629 cases had been identified across Florida. On June 3 when the governor made the announcement that bars and pubs could reopen at 50 percent capacity inside and full capacity outside – as long as social distancing and sanitization rules were being followed – the state was reporting 58,764 COVID-19 cases.
Under Phase Two, bowling alleys, movie theaters, arcades and auditoriums also were allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. But a portion of that plan proved to be short-lived, as DeSantis reversed his decision on bars and ordered them closed again on June 26 when the state was reporting 122,960 cases, which marked an increase of 8,942 in a 24-hour period. On that day, the state also was reporting 3,366 deaths and 13,987 people being hospitalized.
In The Villages, the reopening of movie theaters also proved to be short-lived. The Old Mill Playhouse in Lake Sumter Landing and the Barnstorm Theater in Brownwood both reopened on June 17 and closed again 19 days later. The Rialto Theater in Spanish Springs was closed for renovation prior to the onset of the Coronavirus.
When the announcement was made that the two theaters would close on July 5, it was blamed on the lack of new movies being released and not the soaring number of Coronavirus cases in Florida. The Villages said the theaters would open again “based on when new content returns to the industry.”
Throughout the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, DeSantis has pointed out that the majority of new patients are asymptomatic younger people – many of whom have ignored social distancing orders and have been out in large groups. Earlier, the governor had blamed the continued spike on more testing and new cases among migrant farm workers who live and work in close quarters, as well as cases in jails and prisons.
DeSantis’ reasoning still doesn’t explain a disturbing trend in the Sumter County portion of The Villages. On June 3, there were 77 cases in The Villages, where the majority of residents fall into the category of those most vulnerable to COVID-19. Of those, 67 were in Sumter County, nine were in Lake County and one was in the Marion County portion of the sprawling retirement community.
As of Tuesday morning, those numbers had ballooned significantly. There are now 274 cases in The Villages, with 256 being identified in Sumter County, 16 in Lake County and two in the Marion County section of the community. Across the tri-county area, there are now 5,283 cases – 681 in Sumter County, 2,783 in Lake County and 1,774 in Marion County.
The breakdown by day of COVID-19 cases across the state, beginning the day after DeSantis’ Phase Two announcement, is as follows:
- Thursday, June 4: 60,183, increase of 1,419;
- Friday, June 5: 61,488, increase of 1,305;
- Saturday, June 6: 62,758, increase of 1,270;
- Sunday, June 7: 63,938, increase of 1,180;
- Monday, June 8: 64,904, increase of 966;
- Tuesday, June 9: 66,000, increase of 1,096;
- Wednesday, June 10: 67,371, increase of 1,371;
- Thursday, June 11: 69,069, increase of 1,698;
- Friday June 12: 70,971, increase of 1,902;
- Saturday June 13: 73,552, increase of 2,581;
- Sunday June 14: 75,568, increase of 2,016;
- Monday June 15: 77,327, increase of 1,759;
- Tuesday June 16: 80,109, increase of 2,782;
- Wednesday June 17: 82,719, increase of 2,610;
- Thursday June 18: 85,926, increase of 3,207;
- Friday, June 19: 89,748, increases of 3,822;
- Saturday, June 20: 93,797, increase of 4,049;
- Sunday, June 21: 97,291, increase of 3,494;
- Monday, June 22: 100,217, increase of 2,926;
- Tuesday, June 23: 103,503, increase of 3,286;
- Wednesday, June 24: 109,014, increased of 5,511;
- Thursday, June 25: 114,018, increase of 5,004;
- Friday, June 26: 122,960, increase of 8,942;
- Saturday, June 27: 132,545, increase of 9,585;
- Sunday, June 28: 141,075, increase of 8,530;
- Monday, June 29: 146,341, increase of 5,266;
- Tuesday, June 30: 152,434, increase of 6,093;
- Wednesday, July 1: 158,997, increase of 6,563;
- Thursday, July 2: 169,106, increase of 10,019;
- Friday, July 3: 178,594, increase of 9,488;
- Saturday, July 4: 190,052, increase of 11,458;
- Sunday, July 5: 200,111, increase of 10,059;
- Monday, July 6: 206,447, increase of 6,336;
- Tuesday, July 7: 213,794, increase of 7,347;
- Wednesday, July 8: 223,783, increase of 9,989;
- Thursday, July 9: 232,718, increase of 8,935;
- Friday, July 10: 244,151, increase of 11,433;
- Saturday, July 11: 254,511, increase of 10,360;
- Sunday, July 12: 269,811, increase of 15,300;
- Monday, July 13: 282,435, increase of 12,624; and
- Tuesday, July 14, 291,629, increase of 9,194.