The New York Times has an article up about how Florida Governor Ron De Santis let Spring Break go on during a viral pandemic.
MIAMI — You could find Beatriz Diaz at this spring’s Winter Party Festival in Miami Beach, giving out hand sanitizer.
It was early March. She knew the coronavirus was beginning to make its way around the world, but she figured if she kept her hands clean and avoided sweaty people, she would be safe.“I was thinking, ‘OK, well, hold on, the government did not cancel it, so it should be fine,’” she said.
Within days, reports started popping up on Facebook about a D.J. and several partygoers who were suddenly terribly ill. By the end of the month, two people who attended the festival had died.
As of last week, 38 people had reported that they were symptomatic or had tested positive for the coronavirus in the weeks following the event, according to the organizer, the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force. Ms. Diaz was among them.
Weeks before Florida ordered people to stay at home, the coronavirus was well into its insidious spread in the state, infecting residents and visitors who days earlier had danced at beach parties and reveled in theme parks. Only now, as people have gotten sick and recovered from — or succumbed to — Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has the costly toll of keeping Florida open during the spring break season started to become apparent.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has blamed travelers from New York, Europe and other places for seeding the virus in the state. But the reverse was also true: People got sick in Florida and took the infection back home.
The article goes on to show how other Spring Break party goers got sick and spread the virus to other states.
And the big reason why DeSantis didn’t want to do anything to curb Spring Break?
Slow action by Florida’s governor left local leaders scrambling to make their own closure decisions during one of the busiest and most profitable times of the year for a state with an $86 billion tourism economy. The result was that rules were often in conflict, with one city canceling a major event while a neighboring city allowed another event to continue.
I can hear that old song by the O’Jays about “For the Love of Money.”
While we are all focused on NYC and the death there, I am betting that we will see similar patterns of sickness and death in Florida in the coming weeks.