MIAMI: The US state of Florida -- one of the current epicenters in the nation's coronavirus crisis -- on Tuesday posted a record number of deaths for a 24-hour period at 132.
The state department of health announced the grim milestone in its daily statistics on the virus pandemic. It reported more than 9,000 new cases in the same 24-hour span.
Overall, Florida has recorded more than 290,000 cases and more than 4,400 deaths.
The Sunshine State's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, moved quickly to begin loosening lockdown restrictions in early May, before most other states.
In an unusually direct criticism, top US health official Anthony Fauci said last week that Florida had moved out of its lockdown before public health indicators justified such a move.
DeSantis contested that, saying his decision was based on the best data at the time.
In late June, in a partial reversal, DeSantis ordered bars to again be closed in an effort to curb the spread of the disease, but infection numbers continued to rise.