Florida’s COVID-19 surge is are so out of control that if the state were a nation, the U.S. “would have to consider banning travel” from its residents, warned an infectious disease expert.
Infection levels in Florida have risen 51% in the last seven days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state reported 134,506 new COVID-19 cases from July 30 to Aug. 5, more than any other seven-day period.
“The viral load in Florida is so high right now, there are really only two places on the planet where it’s higher” — Louisiana and Botswana, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said on CNN Sunday.
“It’s so high in Florida that I think if Florida were another country, we would have to consider banning travel from Florida to the United States.”
Despite the soaring risk, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking no precautions. In fact, DeSantis signed an executive order banning vaccination and mask mandates, including in public schools. He said he wants to allow freedom of choice for parents and likes seeing the unmasked faces of smiling children.
Some of those parents sued DeSantis Friday, arguing that weak health regulations in Florida schools threaten the safety and lives of their children, denying them their right to an education.
The suit, filed in Florida state court, claims that DeSantis’ order banning mask mandates violates a provision of the state constitution that requires public officials to ensure schools are safe for students.
Reiner said that DeSantis has “painted himself into a corner” with his hard-line opposition to safety measures. “People are dying in Florida. It’s going to get much worse,” he warned.
In another court decision regarding DeSantis’ anti-science stance on the coronavirus, a U.S. district court judge granted a temporary injunction saying that the governor can’t stop Norwegian Cruise Lines from requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination.
“It’s scary what’s happening in Florida,” Derek Shaffer, an attorney for the cruise company, said during a court hearing Friday, reported CNBC. “All of Florida is a hot spot … All we’re doing is trying to protect our staff and passengers.”
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