THE governor of Florida was heckled as he stressed the pandemic was under control — just after the state saw a record 15,300 cases in a day.
When Ron DeSantis began speaking, protester Thomas Kennedy yelled: ‘More than 4,000 people have died, and you are blaming the protesters and doing nothing! Shame on you!’ Mr Kennedy was removed from the room.
Mr DeSantis, a Republican former naval officer and federal prosecutor, is increasingly under fire for Florida’s exploding number of infections.
The state has so far confirmed more than 291,000 cases of the virus and over 4,400 deaths. The US as a whole has seen 3.4million cases and at least 138,000 deaths.
A strong ally of Donald Trump, Mr DeSantis wholeheartedly endorsed the president’s push to reopen quickly.
But Florida is among a dozen states to have seen increased fatalities from Covid-19 for two weeks in a row.California, whose death toll also rose, now faces fresh closures focused on halting the virus’s spread indoors.
On Monday, governor Gavin Newsom banned dining inside restaurants and bars. Indoor religious services, gyms and hair and nail salons should also be off-limits, he said.
It comes after more than 400,000 new cases were reported US-wide last week, up a fifth on the previous seven days. Deaths nationwide rose for the first time since mid-April.