3,500 new coronavirus cases, 98 more deaths reported in Florida

‘It’s nonsense’: Nation’s top doctor weighs in on herd immunity debate

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida reported a total of 3,498 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. Of those cases, 752 were in Central Florida.

The new cases bring the total in the state since the pandemic began to 748,437.

READ: Orange County extends COVID-19 safety measures for more student-athletes

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This week, scientists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford published a letter calling for an end to the lockdown strategy as a way of protecting people from COVID-19, claiming that approach is causing “irreparable harm” to the general public.

Instead, they’re urging leaders to “let young healthy people get sick with the virus” to work towards herd immunity.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the idea of spreading COVID-19 to more people as a means of fighting the pandemic is a ridiculous idea.

On Friday, Florida reported 98 additional COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the state’s death toll of residents and

nonresidents to 16,030.

Of the most recent COVID-19-related deaths, 23 were reported in Central Florida including nine in Polk County, five in

Brevard County, three in Lake County, two in Flagler County, and one each in Seminole, Volusia, Marion and Sumter counties.

Orange and Osceola counties reported no deaths.

As of Friday, the number of negative COVID-19 tests in the state reached 4,925,248, an increase of 26,715 since Thursday.

See a county-by-county breakdown of total (and new) cases below, and click here for an interactive map of cases statewide:

Orange: 43,044 (+266)- 528 deaths (0)

Osceola: 13,356 (+43)- 178 deaths (0)

Seminole: 9,605 (+44)- 234 deaths (+1)

Polk: 21,572 (+116)- 578 deaths (+9)

Volusia: 11,819 (+80)– 300 deaths (+1)

Brevard: 10,268 (+85)- 342 deaths (+5)

Flagler: 1,927 (+23)- 35 deaths (+2)

Lake: 8,083 (+36)- 214 deaths (+3)

Marion: 10,345 (+44)- 335 deaths (+1)

Sumter: 2,731 (+15)- 79 deaths (+1)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning against small gatherings, saying they are connecting those gatherings to cases.

The Orange County health director said some of the rise in cases has come from family get-togethers, and they are watching those closely.

Video: Doctors concerned holidays will lead to increase in COVID-19 exposures