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Florida reports more coronavirus cases than ever, opens beaches anyway

Published Apr 20th, 2020 11:42AM EDT
coronavirus florida
Image: Chris O'Meara/AP/Shutterstock

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  • Jacksonville reopened beaches and public parks as coronavirus cases hit record numbers.
  • Unrest is at an all-time high, and state officials appear to be caving to pressure from those who believe the viral pandemic isn’t a big deal.
  • Florida now has at least 25,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
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In case you hadn’t heard, we’re in the middle of a global health crisis. The novel coronavirus pandemic isn’t the end of the world, but it’s pretty bad, and just about every country is taking extreme measures to curb the spread and flatten the curve of new infections. Apparently, Florida doesn’t know anything about this.

The state has come under much criticism throughout this entire viral outbreak saga. The state refused to issue stay-at-home orders for a long while, and its beaches quickly became a hot spot for the virus to spread, especially among spring breakers who were foolhardy enough to ignore warnings from health experts. The beaches were eventually closed, but now they’re open again. Oh, and Florida is now reporting more coronavirus cases than ever before.


As CBS News reports, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry decided to reopen public gathering places in the city, including beaches and parks. That decision went into effect on Friday, and it wasn’t long before Florida residents flooded to the beaches and parks with absolutely no regard for social distancing or other recommendations made by the people that are trying to keep them alive.

“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Curry said of the decision, which was made with the blessing of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”

Yeah, that didn’t happen. At all. Photos from the Jacksonville area show crowds strolling the beaches and people meeting in huge numbers. Very few face masks can be seen. Everything was back to normal, aside from the fact that there’s a highly contagious virus floating around that could kill them. No biggy!

It would be one thing if all of this were happening in a state where the viral outbreak is on the downswing. There are a number of states where confirmed numbers of coronavirus infections are falling (thanks to social distancing, yay!), but the opposite is happening in Florida.

At the latest tally, some 25,000 people in Florida are confirmed to have COVID-19. The state, like its peers, shut down schools and canceled many public events. Those are great decisions and they surely saved lives, but reopening beaches and parks is just about the most ill-advised thing a state like Florida could do at this point.

There’s a lot of unrest right now, and that makes perfect sense given the unprecedented nature of the lockdown measures being issued all over the country, not to mention the rest of the world. It’s understandable, but the fact remains that gathering in large numbers when COVID-19 is spreading throughout a community is a recipe for disaster.

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