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A man walks past the Aardvark Mobile Health's Mobile Covid-19 Testing Truck in Miami Beach, on July 24.
CHANDAN KHANNA / Contributor

The number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Florida has now passed New York, leaving the Sunshine State with the second-most coronavirus cases in the nation, trailing only California.

As of yesterday more than 414,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Florida, according to a tracker maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Florida’s number passes the 411,000 cases recorded so far in New York. California, the nation’s most populous state, has had the most coronavirus cases since last week; as of Saturday, it had more than 446,000 cases. While COVID-19 cases surged in the northeast early this spring, Florida appeared to have missed the worst impact of the pandemic. However, the state’s fortunes appeared to shift after the state rapidly ended its lockdown in May.

These grim milestones reflect the shift of the epicenter of the pandemic to the Sunbelt. While the spread of the virus in New York and New Jersey dropped in May and have remained low, the virus has spread rapidly in places like California, Arizona and Texas.

As cases have surged in Florida, communities across the state have been forced to roll back some reopening measures to curb the spread of the virus, ordering beaches to close again and imposing mandatory face covering policies, although Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has faced criticism for failing to impose more restrictive measures, such as a statewide mask requirement. Some venues, including Disney World, reopened despite the high number of cases in the state. However, the Republican National Convention, set to take place in August in Jacksonville, Fla., was canceled this week.

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