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Florida reports more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases for second day in a row as Disney World reopens

U.S. sees over 3.1 million COVID-19 cases
Southern states grapple with coronavirus spike as U.S. surges past 3.1 million cases 03:50

More than 10,300 positive cases of the coronavirus were reported in Florida on Saturday, a dip from the more than 11,000 cases reported Friday, but still the second day in a row with more than 10,000 new cases. The news comes as Disney World in Orlando reopened Saturday after closing nearly four months ago. 

The daily positivity rate, which is the number of new positive cases compared to those tested on a given day, hit a record high Thursday at 18.39%. On Friday it was 12.7% and dipped to 10.3% on Saturday, according to the Department of Health. Over the past seven days, the positivity rate has averaged 14.9%. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Saturday said he is working with Vice President Mike Pence and Health Secretary Alex Azar to get more shipments of remdesivir, a drug used to treat COVID-19. 

Meanwhile, Disney World and Animal Kingdom will now require visitors to wear masks and social distance in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The park is first welcoming visitors to its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, followed by EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios on Wednesday. Last Thursday, it opened to passholders for "previews." 

"It may be different from the last time you visited," Disney says on its website. "But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments — and memories to treasure."

In addition to masks and social distancing, guests and employees will receive temperature checks when they enter, and visitors are required to make reservations in order to enter the park. 

To discourage people from gathering inside, daily parades and fireworks shows, a trademark of the Magic Kingdom, are no longer on the schedule. "High-touch" experiences, including character meet and greets, will also be put on hold. 

"This phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, with limits on attendance and controlled guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing," said a statement in May about the phased reopening. 

Guests enter the Magic Kingdom during the first day of reopening at Walt Disney World, Saturday, July 11, 2020. John Raoux/AP

The reopening comes as Florida is now a U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than a quarter of a million confirmed cases in the state and over 4,000 deaths due to the virus, according to the state's department of health

"We're seeing patients come in on the hour," Dr. Randy Katz, an ER physician at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, said this week. 

"This is absolutely the busiest it's been since it all started," he said.

In response to the surge, many of Florida's cities and counties have begun reinstating restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases appeared to be on the decline, The Associated Press reports.

The United States has broken another record in the number of new confirmed cases, with more than 66,000 cases reported on Friday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

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