The scale of the coronavirus epidemic in Florida is not as serious as the numbers of the case might make you believe, Governor Ron DeSantis said Sunday.
Sitting at a table with medical professionals during a Pensacola press conference, Florida’s top elected official again cited numbers showing that Floridians aged 18 to 44 were primarily responsible for the recent state peak in cases .
That group is going out more and socializing at a faster rate, DeSantis said on Sunday. That̵
“You can’t control … they’re younger people. They’ll do what they’re going to do,” said DeSantis.
Cell phone data analyzed by the Tampa Bay Times this week confirms part of what DeSantis said. In May, Floridians started leaving their homes much more frequently than in March and April, the first few days of the pandemic, which data showed.
That movement was only somehow related to government actions. The Floridians had started leaving their homes more frequently even before DeSantis started reopening across much of the state on May 4.
DeSantis has observed, as it has always done for weeks, that young people are at least at risk for the worst health outcomes of the virus. A doctor with whom he appeared, Jason Foland, medical director of the pediatric unit of the Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart in Pensacola, said young people could suffer from a less serious strain of the virus, although he stressed that the theory needs more. Education.
“If you get sick very quickly with aggressive tension, you are not out in the community and you are not spreading it,” Foland said. “If you have symptoms very similar to the common cold, you are spreading it everywhere.”
But Foland and DeSantis also stressed that young people are not immune to the worst results. Even asymptomatic carriers are not exempt from passing on the infection to a more vulnerable population.
Older Floridians stay safe
The growth of cases among young people who are spreading to the sizable older population of the state is the looming threat to Florida. On Sunday, DeSantis congratulated the elderly population of the state for respecting the rules of social expulsion, urging young people to follow suit.
“The elderly have been very, very diligent,” said DeSantis. “I know it has gone on now, we are in the third month of this, and it can be tiring – we only ask you to maintain this diligence.”
DeSantis stressed personal responsibility while refusing to pursue certain actions that other hot-spot states have implemented. For example, the Republican governor questioned the effectiveness of an internal mask requirement across the state on Friday. California has such a requirement in public spaces, as well as at least 16 other states, in some form.
Although less than two weeks ago DeSantis promised that Florida was not “falling back” on the reopening of commercial activities, such as bars, the state on Friday banned alcohol service in bars across the state. On Sunday, DeSantis said this was a necessary step due to the “widespread non-compliance” of the rules of social removal in bars across the state.
“When people followed the guidelines, you had no problems,” said DeSantis.
State case numbers on the rise
The governor’s press conference came after a record-breaking weekend of reported positive cases in Florida. On Sunday, the state announced that it had identified 8,530 other cases and 29 new deaths. Case numbers declined slightly from Friday and Saturday, in line with the state model of reporting fewer cases on weekends.
But the total death toll has risen since Saturday. It was also the highest number of deaths reported on each Sunday or Monday – normally the slowest reporting days – since the start of the pandemic.