After keeping beaches open during Spring Break and likely helping to spread the novel coronavirus to the rest of the U.S., Florida is now doing its part to ensure its resurgence -- flattened curves be damned.
On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis relaxed the state's restrictions on social distancing. This cracked the door for beaches and parks in some areas to reopen, and the city of Jacksonville flung it wide open on Friday.
Jacksonville reopened its beaches at 5pm after Mayor Lenny Curry was "encouraged" by the city's infection rate, but are those true numbers clear?
According to Common Dreams and the Daily Mail, there may be some discrepancies in how the case rate is being counted.
(via Common Dreams): The number of new cases in 24 hours in Duval County dropped from 43 on April 13 to 17 on April 15, however hospitalizations remained the same with 63 each day over the last 48 hours. Neither have dropped consistently in two weeks and the total number of infections stands at 780.
Florida has been fighting releasess of COVID deaths in nursing homes and private prisons, and isn't counting seasonal residents (a huge chunk of the state's population) in their COVID totals https://t.co/VWD99bY1C6— ? (@lib_crusher) April 17, 2020
Nevertheless, Curry, who called opening the beaches a possible "beginning of the pathway back to normal life," said that people can resume walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets, and surfing from 6 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.
Statewide, Florida's coronavirus case numbers were climbing even as Gov. DeSantis issued the order. Miami reporter Brian Entin posted proof on Twitter:
Florida testing numbers spiked yesterday with 17,251 tests -- the most recorded by the state over the past week.— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) April 17, 2020
Statewide: 236,503 tests/10.3% positive
Miami-Dade: 50,043 tests/17.2% positive
Broward: 31,317 tests/11.7% positive
Palm Beach: 13,274 tests/14.9% positive pic.twitter.com/lEWOLdn5Kl
With no consistent testing procedures nor case counting standards in place locally, statewide, or across the nation, there is no way to truly know who is and is not infected with the novel coronavirus. What is clear, however, is that people are dying from COVID-19 and will continue to do so as barriers to its spread are removed.