Gov. DeSantis has been under pressure to issue a state-wide stay-at-home order but he has refused to do it so far. Today he did issue such an order for a portion of the state where the coronavirus has spread most widely:
At a press conference at the drive-thru testing site at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens Monday, DeSantis announced he would be signing an executive order urging those in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties to stay home through “mid-May.”
His order sets in stone what many South Florida communities have already done to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by novel coronavirus…
As of Monday morning, the four counties made up 59% of the total positive novel coronavirus cases in the state.
The counties included in this order have already issued their own stay-at-home orders. What I don’t understand is why you would wait to close the other parts of the state knowing how quickly a few cases can become hundreds. Gov. DeSantis ordered bars and nightclubs to close on March 17th, but beaches in many parts of the state remain open, albeit subject to social distancing guidance.
As Allahpundit noted earlier today, New Smyrna Beach, which is north of Orlando, looked like this yesterday.
Last night Florida reported that the state has 4,246 active cases of coronavirus.
There will be many more reported tonight.
This is a photo of New Smyrna Beach this afternoon.
Why are there people there?
Because @GovRonDeSantis still won’t shut down the state.
Any questions? pic.twitter.com/4Ncdni9bMP
— Andrew Weinstein (@Weinsteinlaw) March 29, 2020
The photo below shows the diving line between two Florida counties. Duval county, which includes Jacksonville, Florida, is in the foreground. Further south is St. John’s County. Beaches were closed in Duval but only parking lots were closed in St. John’s. You can see the difference for yourself.
This picture is from 3pm today.
You can see exactly where Duval County ends and St. John’s County begins.
All beaches in Duval are closed, while St. John’s only blocked parking at the beach.
Gov. DeSantis needs to order a state-wide closure of all Florida beaches. pic.twitter.com/JfKzCGCPLq
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) March 28, 2020
That photo went viral Saturday and resulted in St. John’s County suddenly deciding to close the beaches. This follow up photo shows the same stretch of beach yesterday:
On Saturday, Clay Archer took a photograph of beach goers along the border of St. Johns & Duval Counties – Duval beaches were closed, so locals walked across the county line. Within hours of the photo going viral, SJC officials announced a beach closure.
This is 3pm today. pic.twitter.com/2CobMOFDSb
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) March 29, 2020
I could show you examples of people on Twitter even today who are arguing that the danger to Florida is being overblown and that there are very few cases at present and no overwhelmed hospitals in the state. All of that is true, but then it was also true in New York two weeks ago. Back on March 16th, New York City reported 463 cases. As of today there are 36,000 cases in the city.
One of the reasons Italy has been so hard hit by the virus is that it has an older population. That means more people hospitalized, more who need an ICU bed, and more deaths. Most of the U.S. doesn’t have the same demographics as Italy but parts of Florida do. It’s where people from New York and New Jersey retire. Two weeks ago, Wired quoted a demographer who described Florida as “an uber-Italy.” It’s a place with pockets full of older people who are especially vulnerable to the virus.
At this point, DeSantis has already conceded the principle. He’s acknowledged that a stay-at-home order issued by the state can be of some additional value over just letting counties handle it. So why not go all the way? He’s probably going to wind up doing it eventually, maybe in another week as he sees the number of cases climb. So just rip off the band-aid and do it now. And for goodness sake, close the beaches to eliminate the temptation.
Update: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has also issued a stay-at-home order today. This one extends until June 10.
— angie goff (@OhMyGOFF) March 30, 2020