Less than one week after thousands of spring break partyers departed Florida beaches, the state saw its single worst day in the coronavirus crisis, with 840 new cases recorded on Saturday alone, according to a report by WTVJ TV News in Miami. The new cases brought the state’s official total past 4,000 for the first time, to 4,038. The 56 deaths in Florida rank as the eighth-most of any state or U.S. territory, as of Saturday night.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has yet to issue a statewide order closing beaches. As recently as last Sunday, thousands of college students on spring break packed many of those beaches, as well as hotels and restaurants along Florida’s coasts, generally ignoring social distancing guidelines recommend by health excerpts, and the federal government.
As The Inquisitr reported, at least five students from the University of Tampa tested positive for coronavirus infection immediately after returning from their spring break destinations. The full number of spring break attendees who have been tested for the virus remains unknown.
The U.S. now leads the world in coronavirus cases, with more than 124,000, according to data complained by Johns Hopkins University Medical School. The death toll stood at 2,190 as of Saturday night, after topping 1,000 for the first time just two days earlier.
While the Florida spring breakers have been the targets of widespread criticism for what appeared to be their nonchalant attitude toward the deadly pandemic, according to bestselling author Michael Arceneaux, in an op-ed for NBC News, the college students were simply taking their cues from government officials such as DeSantis, who refused to implement statewide stay-at-home orders.
“The disease is spreading because the people in power — largely old white men — have failed the nation by not properly preparing for its effects in spite of dire warnings,” Arceneaux wrote. “Of course young people are on beaches risking it all; the people in charge have given them no real reason to give a damn.”
Nonetheless, the spring break revelers pose a threat not only to Florida, but to the entire country, according to video data compiled by the mobile technology company X-Mode, as The Inquisitr reported.
The company tracked location data from cell phones belonging to beachgoers at a single location in Fort Lauderdale, on Florida’s east coast. The data showed that after leaving the beach for spring break, the partyers dispersed to nearly every state in the country, potentially bringing the deadly virus with them, back to their own communities.
Florida has recently stepped up its coronavirus testing program, according to the WTVJ TV News report. DeSantis said on Saturday that more than 40,000 tests had now been completed with between 8 and 10 percent registering positive. Florida has a population of approximately 21 million, meaning that an 8 percent positive rate would yield nearly 1.7 million coronavirus infections in Florida alone.