Republican National Convention host city Jacksonville will not issue mask order
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry takes off his mask at a press conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis, May 2020.

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Despite spikes in transmission, Jacksonville won't mandate masks.

In the wake of a Sunday night tweetstorm that saw Mayor Lenny Curry bemoan “irresponsible reporting” suggesting Jacksonville faced a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations, he faced media Monday on a Zoom call.

Curry, whose city is preparing to host the Republican National Convention, is finding COVID-19 to be persistent. The positive testing rate of 8.9% from Sunday was actually good news, down from 10% the day before.

Despite the increased rate in positives and the looming convention, Curry will not issue a mask order.

The Mayor admitted that “people in crowded bars … on crowded streets aren’t wearing masks and are ignoring social distancing.” However, Curry won’t make masks mandatory as has been done elsewhere.

“It’s not an efficient use of resources,” Curry said, even as other cities do have mask orders.

Curry noted “quite a bit of time” before the RNC, suggesting that there will be “temperature checks and other protocols,” but seemed to suggest that’s enough.

Beyond the mask issue, a good portion of the call went toward media critique.

“Our local media has by and large covered the facts despite the sensationalism of the national media,” Curry said, a trend breached in recent days.

“There was a headline about a hospital being at full ICU capacity over the last week,” Curry said, a claim that “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“Our numbers are up,” Curry conceded, saying that hospitalizations should also be reported by the media, though it’s uncertain how ICU capacity could be reported giving authorities not releasing the data.

The Mayor said the Emergency Operations Center has “daily” contact with local hospitals, with the Mayor talking to leadership, but “in terms of individual information” for hospitals, his office wouldn’t provide that information.

The Mayor said 14 COVID-19 intensive care patients are in Duval, with ICU at 68% capacity.

However, the city can’t publish that data because of HIPPA, Curry lamented, even as Miami-Dade (another hotspot) does provide such data.

Media members were encouraged to contact hospitals for verification of the claim.

Statistics continued to present opportunities for correction.

“The percent of positives,” Curry said. “You cannot calculate that number accurately … it’s not an accurate number.”

Curry distinguished between testing date and the date testing data is released, saying “the math doesn’t add up.”

“We do know that more people are testing positive,” Curry allowed, stressing that he has emphasized “cumulative” over “daily” averages because of the fuzzy math.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com


5 comments

  • Frankie M.

    June 22, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Lyin Lennie keeps movin the goalposts. He said rate increase was an important stat now ICU percent capacity is more important. Funny how we have to take Lennie’s word on hospitalizations but we can’t trust the media?? Seems like a double standard. Since when does Lenny care about privacy laws when he’s out there instituting martial law? The architect of the JEA sale is complaining about fuzzy math. Give me a break.

  • Sonja Fitch

    June 22, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Looting Lenny you are placing every person in Jacksonville area in danger! You do not care who lives or dies. If you did make solid decisions for the people. Stay home wash hands. Social distance! Wear a damn mask!!!! Instead of kissing the butt of the goptrump cult sociopath racist sexist liar leader Trump !

  • BlueHeron

    June 22, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    HIPPA SCHMIPPA. The data is meant to protect the actual patients personal information and medical status. NOBODY is publishing this data. I guess it’s easy to hide behind HIPPA despite the fact that hospital capacity information is available. Y’all just don’t want to divulge. Your #’s are clearly too high. Gonna slow the testing way down so there are no more cases? There is zero daylight between you, DeSantis and Trump.
    I have family living in JAX downtown. Three blocks away. They have already made plans to leave work and get the hell out of town for at least a week.
    High rates of covid in city, county and surrounding areas, tens of thousands of convention goers, tens of thousands of Trump supporters (or 6,200?) from all 50 states in the streets along with protesters. No doubt the area and city will be heavy militarized. Oh, I nearly forgot. Trump is planned to have his big night on the 27th. The 60th anniversary of the
    Ax Hill Massacre.

    This going to be a horror show.

  • Linda Billstone

    June 22, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Lenny Curry is following the tRump rules. He’s not going to protect Jacksonville if he can win
    tRump’s RNC. Hope what happened in OK happens here. They dumped millions $$$$ into hosting a convention that fell flat on its face. Good luck with that, Lenny. I have a feeling it’ll with spread Rona or cost the city money and reputation. Already bought my plane ticket to get outta Dodge, I’ll take my chances catching Rona on a plan before tRump followers give it to me.

  • Linda Billstone Cain

    June 22, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Lenny Curry is following the tRump rules. He’s not going to protect Jacksonville if he can win
    tRump’s RNC. Hope what happened in OK happens here. They dumped millions $$$$ into hosting a convention that fell flat on its face. Good luck with that, Lenny. I have a feeling it’ll with spread Rona or cost the city money and reputation. Already bought my plane ticket to get outta Dodge, I’ll take my chances catching Rona on a plan before tRump followers give it to me.

Comments are closed.


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