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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida on Thursday reported 13,965 new coronavirus cases and 156 deaths — breaking the state's previous record for highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic.

Why it matters: It's the second day this week that the state has broken its single-day death record, after 132 new fatalities were reported on Tuesday. Deaths tend to lag weeks behind new infections, and cases in Florida are continuing to rise dramatically.

  • Yet Florida has relatively lax social distancing requirements and no statewide mask mandate from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
  • The state has now reported over 315,000 total cases and more than 4,600 deaths.

The bottom line: "Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic. What we were seeing in Wuhan five or six months ago, now we are there,” said Lilian Abbo, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Miami, earlier this week.

Go deeper: Florida's coronavirus outbreak is getting worse

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Oct 23, 2020 - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

Oct 24, 2020 - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.