Florida sets record for most new COVID cases during the pandemic — as GOP governor rages against masks
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (screengrab)

The state of Florida on Saturday reported the most new daily cases of coronavirus during the entire history of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami Herald reports.

Florida reported 21,683 new cases to the Centers for Disease Control, which is 12.1% higher than the previous record that was set on January 7th.

"The last half of July looks like the start of Florida's third COVID-19 peak, as the case numbers reported Thursday (17,093), Friday (17,589) and Saturday mix in with Jan. 6-8 to comprise the top six individual case count days. The average over the last seven days is 15,817 cases," the newspaper reported.

The record number of cases was reported one day after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that whether students follow CDC mask guidance will be up to their parents.

"DeSantis, an outspoken critic of mask recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters and a cheering, largely maskless crowd that he did not believe masks were necessary to prevent children from transmitting the virus in classrooms, even as the state reported more than 21,000 infections among children younger than 19 this week," The Washington Post reported Friday.

"Shortly after the news conference in Southwest Florida, DeSantis signed an executive order that allowed the state's education official to withhold funds to school boards that impose mask mandates in violation of the new rules," the newspaper reported. "State Republican leaders backed DeSantis, as the party has doubled down on resisting federal public health recommendations."