Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.
The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.
- Hospitalizations and deaths from the virus among the unvaccinated are increasing.
Of note: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has taken a stand against local authority restrictions, announcing in May that he would pardon "any Floridian" who faces "outstanding infractions" for violating COVID-19 guidance like mask mandates and social distancing.
- On Friday, he issued an executive order that bars local school districts from requiring students to wear masks when they return to the classroom next month.
By the numbers: The new cases record released by the CDC occurred on Friday. The surge comes one day after the state recorded 17,093 new cases the previous day, according to the CDC.
- "The previous peak in Florida had been 19,334 cases reported on Jan. 7, before the availability of vaccinations became widespread," AP notes.