Florida gov. says coronavirus started circulating during Super Bowl

Florida governor Ron DeSantis finally issues a statewide lockdown after revealing coronavirus first started circulating in Miami in early February during the Super Bowl and state cases surge to 6,741

  • Cases of coronavirus in Florida have surged to nearly 7,000, with 857 people hospitalized and 85 dead 
  • DeSantis had so far refused to initiate a statewide lockdown despite cases of coronavirus there spiking
  • The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and will last 30 days, the Republican said Wednesday
  • Testing in the state at the time of Superbowl was only for those who had been to certain parts of China
  • The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Florida was a month later on March 1 
  • The Super Bowl took place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens with 62,000 people in attendance 
  • Florida is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the US as the number of cases spike there 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Florida governor Ron DeSantis issued a statewide lockdown Wednesday after revealing coronavirus first started circulating in Miami during the Super Bowl in early February. 

The Republican had so far refused to initiate a statewide lockdown despite cases of coronavirus there surging to nearly 7,000, with 857 people hospitalized and 85 dead. The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and will last 30 days. 

But under increasing pressure DeSantis announced Wednesday: ‘I’m going to be doing an executive order today directing all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.’ 

The governor said officials cannot ‘hamfist everyone into their bedroom’ but urged people to act responsibly. He said he had consulted the White House of his decision. More than 30 others states had already issued such orders a week or more ago.

He added: ‘We’re going to be in this for another 30 days. At this point, even though there’s a lot of places in Florida that have very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now.’  

Florida is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the US as the number of cases continue to spike.  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot on March 30.  He said coronavirus first started circulating in Miami during the Super Bowl 

) Fans celebrate in the stands at the Super Bowl LIV, in the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida on February 2

Is Florida the next epicenter of the coronavirus in the US?

Florida is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the US as the number of cases continue to spike.

Experts say with millions of Americans heading down to the Sunshine State to escape winter or for spring break – and drive-thru testing sites running out of kits – it could be a perfect storm for a rise in infections.

What’s more, nearly four million senior citizens live in Florida, a huge concern considering the elderly are the most vulnerable to contract the virus.

The state is currently fifht in cases but health experts say both numbers are severely imported and are primed to increase.

Testing in the state at the time of Super Bowl was only for those who had been to certain parts of China and the first confirmed case was a month later on March 1. 

DeSantis admitted Tuesday: ‘The numbers are pretty stark. I think this thing was circulating during the Super Bowl. Now, Miami’s rate of cases is a lot higher than statewide.’ 

The Super Bowl took place on February 2 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens with 62,000 people in attendance.

The stadium has since become a drive-thru testing center. 

DeSantis had said Tuesday before issuing the lockdown: ‘Everything’s basically closed. It’s not like there’s anything to do.

‘You can go to work, but other than that there’s just not a whole lot going on. People should just chill out and stay around the house as much as you can. 

‘That doesn’t mean you can’t go for a walk or get fresh air. It just means you shouldn’t have big social gatherings.’  

He had already issued a stay-at-home order Monday for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and the Florida Keys, but later said he misspoke when he said it would be in effect until May 15. 

He said he meant April 15, despite President Donald Trump now saying social distancing guidelines will be in place until April 30, not Easter as he hoped. 

 But under increasing federal and local pressure to abandon the county-by-county approach he had implemented DeSantis announced the statewide lockdown Wednesday.

The Republican’s announcement came hours after the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, said on NBC’s ‘Today’ show that he would tell DeSantis that the federal guidelines for social distancing should be viewed as ‘a national stay-at-home order.’

DeSantis has also ordered anyone arriving from the New York area and Louisiana into quarantine and issued some statewide measures such as closing bars and gyms and limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery. 

Several counties in the Tampa Bay area and central Florida had already issued their own lockdown orders.

Experts say with millions of Americans heading down to the Sunshine State to escape winter or for spring break – and drive-thru testing sites running out of kits – it could be a perfect storm for a rise in infections. 

Florida’s congressional Democrats on Tuesday blasted Gov. DeSantis’ for his refusal to issue a statewide stay-at-home order to combat the coronavirus outbreak.  

Democrats said the Republican governor must drop his county-by-county approach and follow other hard-hit states by closing all non-essential businesses and ordering people to stay home except for buying food or medicine, visiting a doctor or going to an essential job. 

DeSantis had been defending his county-by-county approach, saying it wouldn’t be fair to lock down the small, mostly rural counties with no or few confirmed infections. 

Cece Guida, 19, right, of New York City, pushes on Sam Reddick, 20, of Evansville, Ind., as spring break revelers flocked to Pompano Beach in Florida on March 17 

Linda Bodell takes in some sun on the walkway leading to the beach on March 31, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. The City of Hollywood along with other cities along the coastline have shuttered their beaches in an attempt to contain COVID-19.

Beach access is closed off for public access due to Covid-19, on Sunday, March 29, 2020 in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.While there is no shelter in place order for the entire state of Florida, counties and cities are making that decision on their own.

Counties in the Tampa Bay area and central Florida issued their own lockdown orders, and Jacksonville announced Wednesday that it would join them on Friday. 

A University of Washington model is projecting that Florida could see a rapid increase in deaths and hospitalizations, with 100 people dying daily by mid-April and more than 175 by May 1, when the number nears its peak. It predicts that 10,000 people will need hospital care by mid-month and 20,000 on May 1. The model predicts that more than 6,500 Floridians will die from the virus by June 1, among more than 90,000 deaths nationally.

DeSantis did not dispute those numbers when asked.

‘This thing is really nasty,’ DeSantis said. ‘It’s something that’s caused a lot of harm to a lot of people.’ 

Coast Guard orders ALL cruise ships to remain at sea including two Holland America vessels with 190 passengers suffering coronavirus symptoms

The US Coast Guard has directed all cruise ships to remain at sea as two Holland America cruise liners approach Florida.

Federal, state and local officials have been negotiating over whether the Zaandam and Rotterdam would be allowed to dock at Port Everglades later this week.

Two of four deaths on the Zaandam were blamed on COVID-19 and nine people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the company said.

At least 190 more reported symptoms. More than 300 Americans are on Zaandam and Rotterdam. 

Passengers board a lifeboat from Holland America Line cruise ship MS Zaandam to be transported to her sister ship Rotterdam (R) on Panama Bay, Panama

Holland America said the Rotterdam took on nearly 1,400 people who appear to be healthy from its sister ship, leaving 450 guests and 602 crew members on the Zaandam.

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that the state’s healthcare system is stretched too thin to take on the Zaandam’s coronavirus caseload. 

‘Just to drop people off at the place where we’re having the highest number of cases right now just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,’ DeSantis said.

But President Donald Trump has said that he would speak with his fellow Republican about the situation.

‘They’re dying on the ship,’ Trump said. ‘I’m going to do what’s right. Not only for us, but for humanity.’ 

Volunteer becomes second person to die from coronavirus after attending the week-long Miami Beach Winter Party blamed for spreading the illness

Ron Rich, described as a ‘loyal volunteer’ for The National LGBTQ Task Force, passed away over the weekend after attending the LGBTQ festival in March

A second person who attended a now infamous Miami Beach festival has died of contracting the coronavirus.

Several other party-goers have reported that they are suffering from flu-like symptoms, reiterating the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.

Ron Rich, described as a ‘loyal volunteer’ for The National LGBTQ Task Force, passed away over the weekend after attending the LGBTQ festival in March.

In a Facebook post in which the the Task Force announced the death of Rich, he was described as a ‘familiar face to the guests who attended the Task Force Gala, Winter Party Festival and our Fort Lauderdale house parties over the past five years as his big smile and warmth had him mostly serving on our hospitality team.  

‘Ron also volunteered with the Outshine Film Festival and Lambda Legal,’ the post said. ‘He will be missed. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.’

A friend of Rich, Vin Kruger, who described him as his best friend and ‘security blanket’ said: ”They’re putting me on a ventilator’ was the last thing he wrote me, and that was Friday morning.’

The Winter Party Festival in South Beach, an LGBTQ festival that took place in early March, has now been linked to two deaths and a number of cases.

The week-long ‘circuit party’ which was held at multiple locations throughout the city, including the beach, from 4 March – 10 March is feared to have spread the virus further at a time when events had yet to be cancelled and social gatherings weren’t restricted.

Since the festival, other scenes at Miami beaches showing college age spring-breakers have been captured, increasing fears that people who went to Miami for such events have spread the virus across the country after heading home.

Measures have now been brought in to restrict such gatherings in Miami and other states in the U.S. 

One person, a 35-year-old Seattle resident, spoke anonymously to the Miami Herald, said that four of his friends also attended positive after they attended the festival.

‘I think given the atmosphere and the parties, and people packed in as tight as they were, I think it’s bound to be more,’ he said. ‘Nobody was talking about it, nobody was concerned about it because nobody had it.’

Organizers of the festival have faced criticism for allowing an event to go ahead during a global pandemic. However, the federal government was yet to place restrictions on large gatherings. 

Rich becomes the second person to have died after attending the party. Isreal Carrera, 40, died last Thursday, also attended the party and developed symptoms of the coronavirus.

He was described as energetic and had adopted a healthy lifestyle while living in Miami, making his death more surprised for those who knew him.

Source: Read Full Article