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Anti-mask protesters gather in Florida as coronavirus records are broken

Published Jul 13th, 2020 3:59PM EDT
Coronavirus update
Image: Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Time/Shutterstock

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  • Coronavirus update: Florida recorded a record 15,300 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, which is the most reported in a single day by one state since the pandemic began.
  • Meanwhile, anti-mask activists gathered for a protest against mask requirements as a grilled cheese bar in Windermere, Florida on Saturday, a day before the record was announced.
  • Disney World also reopened in Orlando, just as the COVID-19 surge was reaching new heights.

This weekend, Florida blew past New York’s previous record of more than 12,000 daily confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with a stunning 15,300 cases of its own. That’s by far the most cases that any US state has reported in a single day since the pandemic began about four months ago, and it came hours after Florida announced that close to 7,000 patients are currently hospitalized throughout the state with COVID-19. But, because everything is terrible, so-called anti-mask activists decided this weekend would be a good time to hold a rally.

Reuters reports that these anti-maskers gathered outside of grilled cheese bar 33 & Melt in Windermere, Florida on Saturday to protest mask policies and the use of masks. 33 & Melt owner Carrie Hudson has apparently been in the limelight ever since she announced that her customers would not have to wear masks, even though Orange County officials began mandating the use of masks for everyone going out in public on June 20th.

As you can see in the video from Reuters below, the protest wasn’t exactly well-attended, but no one who showed up to 33 & Melt on Saturday was wearing a mask. In fact, the only masks visible in the video are those on the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco agents who reportedly showed up to serve Hudson a warning:

Time and time again, evidence suggests that masks, social distancing, and good hygiene can significantly decrease one’s risk of being infected with the coronavirus, and yet there are still Americans who see it an attack on their liberty or a sign of weakness or a conspiracy perpetrated by an unknowable force. Meanwhile, in South Korea, an incredibly dense country of 50 million, fewer than 300 people have died and it has been months since more than 100 confirmed cases were reported in single day. What’s their secret? They wear masks.

To cap it all off, Disney World finally reopened on Saturday just as Florida was on the precipice of setting a terrifying new record. The parks are taking several precautions to keep visitors safe, such as limiting the number of guests and requiring everyone to wear masks, but with the infection rate as high as it is in Florida, there’s no way that these parks can guarantee anyone’s safety. Astoundingly, the official City of Orlando COVID-19 Data Tracker hasn’t been updated since June 26th, but the Florida Department of Health dashboard shows that nearly 3,000 people in Orange County tested positive between Friday and Sunday. It might be best to get Goofy’s autograph another time.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.