(C) Reuters. Spike in new coronavirus cases as Miami-Dade County eases some of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
By Lisa Shumaker
(Reuters) – Two of California’s largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, will be online only in the new term, and Oregon is mandating masks outdoors as local leaders scramble to curb a rising number of coronavirus cases nationwide.
Despite nearly 28,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last two days, Florida has announced no new measures such as a statewide mask mandate, and Disney World in Orlando remains open for business.
President Donald Trump demands schools reopen nationwide for in-person learning in the autumn. His campaign views reopening schools as necessary for economic recovery, allowing working parents with young children to be more productive.
Trump trails his presumptive Democratic opponent in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election, Joe Biden, in opinion polls both national and in swing states that decide elections.
Florida along with Arizona, California and Texas have emerged as the new U.S. epicenters of the pandemic. Infections have risen rapidly in about 40 of the 50 states over the last two weeks, according to a Reuters analysis
Linda Stuart, 70, a lifelong resident of Orlando, Florida, said she and her family were staying at home except to go to the grocery and were “painfully aware” how quickly cases are rising.
“But sadly, too many people aren’t listening,” she said. “This should be terrifying them, but it isn’t. Not enough people are even wearing masks.”
The rise in Florida cases emerged hours after Trump took swipes at health experts in his government leading the U.S. response to the pandemic and his relationship further frayed with infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. [nL2N2EK15X}
On Sunday, Florida reported a record increase of more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours. If Florida were a country, that would rank it fourth in the world for the most new cases in a day, behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis.
Florida’s Disney World welcomed the public on Saturday for the first time since March with guests required to wear masks, undergo temperature checks and keep physically apart.
Walt Disney Co (N:DIS) faces a starkly different response in Hong Kong where the government has ordered the Disneyland theme park to close due to rising coronavirus cases.
Hong Kong recorded 52 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing total cases to 1,522. In Florida’s Orange County, home to Disney World, cases rose by 623 to a total of 18,624, the fifth highest outbreak in the state’s counties.
With over 7.5 million residents, Hong Kong has more than five times the population of Orange County.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called the state’s rise in cases “a blip” and told residents not to be alarmed.
Florida recorded more than 500 deaths this past week, compared with over 300 the prior week. It is one of about two dozen states where deaths have risen in the last seven days compared with the prior seven days, according to a Reuters analysis.
The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Florida is quickly rising, with over 500 new patients in the past 24 hours raising to 8,000 the number in hospitals, according to a state agency. Across Florida, 47 hospitals reported their intensive care units (ICUs) were full, including eight hospitals in the Miami-Dade County hot spot.
Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are calling on Trump, a Republican, to invoke the Defense Production Act to expand the capacity of labs to process tests for the novel coronavirus, citing processing delays and shortages of chemical reagents and other supplies.
In some hard-hit states, residents are waiting up to 10 days to get their test results, according to numerous posts on social media.
The law, which dates to the Korean War of the 1950s, grants the president broad authority to “expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base” in emergencies.