Florida’s coronavirus cases kept ballooning, especially in the dense neighborhoods of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Hospitals in Fort Myers and Naples begged for donations of masks and other protective equipment. Young people started to die.
And still, Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted. The man entrusted with keeping many of the country’s grandparents safe did not want to dictate that all Floridians had to stay at home.
What it took for Mr. DeSantis to change his mind on Wednesday and finally issue a statewide order were a phone call with President Trump and a grave reckoning. A day earlier, the White House had projected how many American lives might be lost — up to 240,000 — without a national commitment to immediate, drastic action in every state.
The number of coronavirus infections in Florida had jumped by more than 1,000 on Tuesday, its largest 24-hour increase, to reach nearly 7,000, giving rise to worries that the infection was already dangerously out of hand.