• Spring breakers in Florida who ignored advice from health experts and government officials took to party hotspots in the midst of a pandemic. 
  • Now, many of those same college students are testing positive for the novel coronavirus, and nobody knows exactly how far it has spread. 
  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must remain in quarantine for an extended period of time, and anyone they came into contact with is now at a huge risk of having been infected as well. 
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All around the globe, health experts are urging citizens to stay home when possible and keep a distance from others if you absolutely have to leave your homes. It’s a response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the planet, and it might be the only way for us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and give our healthcare systems a fighting chance to save lives.

Despite the obviousness of this basic truth, some are ignoring orders from government officials, and nowhere was that more clear over the past week than on Florida beaches. Spring breakers were determined to party, virus or no virus, and their misplaced sense of invincibility is already catching up with them. Now, a flood of new cases of coronavirus infection is being reported among students who just couldn’t heed some basic advice.

In a post on social media, the University of Tampa revealed that at least a half dozen students from the school tested positive for COVID-19 after attending spring break festivities either locally or abroad.

“One student was traveling internationally and was tested at the Dickey Health and Wellness Center on March 16. The student is self-isolating off campus, and has not been hospitalized,” the university said in a statement. “Five students were traveling together and with other UT students during spring break. One of the students did not return to campus after spring break, and four returned to campus. All are self-isolating – the latter four on campus — and none have been hospitalized.”

The big question now, of course, is how many people were actually exposed to the virus during the spring break shenanigans. Six new cases of the virus don’t really move the needle all that much, but those six people were partying and socializing for an extended period of time before being tested, and who knows how many cases will result from those ill-advised gatherings.

This is really a fantastic example of how social distancing works and, if you ignore it, that only makes matters worse. We’ll have to wait days or even weeks to see how far these new seeds spread, and that means more chance for the pandemic to grow. Individuals who are infected but do not yet have symptoms can still easily spread the disease to others, further complicating efforts to contain the spread.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.