COVID-19’s Resurgence in Florida

Arianna Hoyos, Staff Writer

After Governor RonDesantis announced a Phase 3 reopening of the state, COVID-19 numbers have begun to soar and Florida is currently having a surge similar to the one experienced in the summer months. A total of 897,323 COVID-19 cases, 52,329 COVID-19 resident hospitalizations and 17,644 resident deaths due to COVID-19 have happened in Florida since the start of the pandemic.

On Nov. 16, 7,350 new cases were reported in the state with 1,856 of those infections being located in Miami-Dade County.

This surge has left Floridians wondering whether a Phase 3 reopening was the right decision and if Governor DeSantis is doing enough to protect citizens. Some mayors across Florida such as Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, believe he has taken the approach of herd immunity; a concept that states that once a certain percent of the population has become infected and therefore immune, the disease will no longer be able to affect the population. The strategy of herd immunity involves protecting the most vulnerable and allowing all others to return to normal life.

“I do not agree with the fact that schools are open for physical attendance and I know that they are going to get closed again because of how fast cases are rising each day. I also do not think Ron DeSantis has done a good job at dealing with COVID-19 because as a governor, he should take responsibility for his state. If he had closed down Florida a long time ago, we probably would have already been cleared,” sophomore Mariana Gutierrez said.

Residents share similar concerns in Miami-Dade, the most populous county in Florida. Since students have returned to school physically and are gathering in enclosed spaces for classes, the risk of contracting the virus has increased. Despite safety measures taken, students are still being exposed to others in close quarters, which goes against Centers for Disease Control recommendations. Since Oct. 5 there have been 253 reported employee cases and 423 reported student cases in the county’s public school system.

At Coral Gables Senior High School, there are currently two reported positive cases. Miami Senior High School leads in the largest number of reported cases in Miami-Dade County Public Schools with 15 students and employees testing positive. Coral Reef Senior High and Ethel K. Beckham Elementary closely follow with similar numbers. Case counts throughout MDCPS continue to be reported on the county’s dashboard system. The program keeps track of which schools are infected and whether the number stem from students who have tested positive or employees.

Governor DeSantis has not yet spoken about the surge publicly, but the communications director who is part of his team, Fred Piccolo Jr., tweeted on Nov. 15 “Washing hands. Social distancing. Protect the elderly. Don’t lock down. Keep calm and carry on. ”

Due to the surge in Florida along with overall cases rising in the United States, citizens are left waiting to see what the next large move will be on the part of government leaders. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has stated that he will avoid a second closure and wants to keep businesses open and running. Controversy has sparked over DeSantis’ policies, leaving Floridians debating over whether current protocols are appropriate or whether a second lockdown should be mandated.

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