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Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Florida becomes the third state to reach one million COVID-19 cases after Texas and California - and Governor DeSantis STILL refuses to order a lockdown

 Florida has joined Texas and California as the only states in the Union to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, but its Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, continues to resist calls to impose a statewide lockdown.

DeSantis has gone so far as to mandate that schools be open while mocking those who support a closure of schools as 'flat-earthers.' 

The Department of Health released new data on Tuesday indicating that the Sunshine State reached the grim milestone.

The department said that 8,847 new cases were added to the tally on Tuesday, pushing the total thus far during the pandemic to 1,008,166 cases.

As of Tuesday, 18,679 Floridians have died.

A health care employee works at a COVID-19 testing site in the Crandon Park section of Miami on Saturday. Florida's Department of Health has reported that the statewide COVID-19 case count has surpassed 1 million

A health care employee works at a COVID-19 testing site in the Crandon Park section of Miami on Saturday. Florida's Department of Health has reported that the statewide COVID-19 case count has surpassed 1 million

Florida joins Texas and California as the only three states in the country to have more than 1 million COVID-19 cases. Nonetheless, Governor Ron DeSantis (above) has said that he will not move to impose a statewide lockdown

Florida joins Texas and California as the only three states in the country to have more than 1 million COVID-19 cases. Nonetheless, Governor Ron DeSantis (above) has said that he will not move to impose a statewide lockdown

The latest data indicate a surge in the number of hospitalizations but fewer COVID-19 fatalities

The latest data indicate a surge in the number of hospitalizations but fewer COVID-19 fatalities

Florida officials are also reporting a sharp spike in the number of cases and new tests

Florida officials are also reporting a sharp spike in the number of cases and new tests

Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases, it doesn't appear that the state government is intent on imposing any sort of strict lockdown.

DeSantis said on Monday that schools will be required to remain open despite the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, arguing lockdowns and closures have not worked.

The governor also said the state was not considering any further restrictions on businesses that could lead to layoffs or financial loss.

DeSantis said countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland all kept children in schools with positive outcomes, and argued that some studies show the virus can spread more when children don't go to school because they socialize off campus. 

 

The close ally of President Trump criticized those who are pushing again for closures as cases rise.

'Closing schools due to coronavirus is probably the biggest public health blunder in modern American history,' he said at a news conference. 

'People who advocate closing schools for virus mitigation are effectively today’s flat-earthers.'

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that the spread of the virus among children 'is not really very big at all' and is now advising to get children back in the classrooms.

The governor said schools will continue to offer online classes for families who have chosen not to physically return, but school districts will require students who have fallen behind in the virtual mode to go back in person.

'The virtual learning is not the same as being in person,' DeSantis said.

The governor acknowledged the rise in cases, but said a surge in other states is more concerning. 

He also compared the current COVID-19 hospitalizations at 4,100 to about 10,000 reported in the summer.

'We've seen cases increase but look at all the other states that are seeing them increase way, way more,' DeSantis said. 

'If you look at the per-capita hospitalizations, we are not even close to the top of the stuff. So I think people should put it in perspective.'

Last week, DeSantis extended an executive order banning local governments from issuing fines against citizens who do not comply with social distancing and mitigation measures like wearing masks.

Daniella Levine Cava, the new mayor of Miami-Dade, announced on Tuesday she has tested positive for COVID-19

Daniella Levine Cava, the new mayor of Miami-Dade, announced on Tuesday she has tested positive for COVID-19

'I’m opposed to mandates period. I don’t think they work,' the governor said.

'People in Florida wear (masks) when they go out. They don’t have to be strung up by a bayonet to do it.' 

The new mayor of Florida’s most populous county blasted DeSantis for extending the order.

'Bipartisan governors nationwide are putting mask orders in place as one of the best tools we have to fight #COVID19,' Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava tweeted. 

'It's deeply frustrating that @GovRonDeSantis continues to block local actions and make it harder for local leaders to keep our communities safe.'

Levine Cava also announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19. 

She said her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, was exposed to COVID-19 by a patient last Wednesday. He has also tested positive.

'Rob and I are quarantining at home,' Levine Cava wrote. 

'We both remain in good spirits and have only mild symptoms.'

Spokeswoman Rachel Johnson told the Miami Herald that Levine Cava has not been in contact with county employees since Wednesday and plans to participate in Tuesday’s county commission meeting by phone.

Levine Cava, 65, assumed office on November 17 after being elected earlier in the month. 

The Democrat had previously served as a county commissioner since 2014.

Levine Cava’s predecessor, Congressman-elect Carlos Gimenez, tested positive for coronavirus last week. 

The Republican is set to assume his new office on January 3. 

People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 in Miami Beach, Florida, on Tuesday

People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 in Miami Beach, Florida, on Tuesday

People walk to the Design Miami exhibit in the Moore Building as part of Miami Art Week on Saturday. DeSantis has ruled out state-mandated closures on businesses

People walk to the Design Miami exhibit in the Moore Building as part of Miami Art Week on Saturday. DeSantis has ruled out state-mandated closures on businesses

 

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