COVID-19 continues to surge throughout Florida, with positive testing rates flirting with 15% in Wednesday’s report from the Department of Health.
With the Fourth of July weekend approaching, the Governor says that for those concerned with the virus, outdoor activity, such as beaches and parks, are better bets than “being packed indoors.”
“Obviously, it needs to be controlled … but by and large the virus does not like sunshine, heat, and humidity,” DeSantis said, adding that “very few outbreaks from something like a park or a beach” occur.
“I’m more concerned about people crowding into the AC and having private parties and things like that, close contact,” DeSantis said. “The virus likes that kind of environment better.”
Of particular concern: “areas of poor ventilation” and “those really close indoor things.”
Mirroring language used by Vice President Mike Pence last week, DeSantis acknowledged a surge of cases through the “Sunbelt,” which includes Florida.
“You are seeing higher levels of people testing positive,” DeSantis said, noting that rates of “2 to 3%” have metastasized to “10 to 15% pretty much for the last two weeks.”
“I think after Memorial Day when it fell out of the news, people thought it was over,” DeSantis suggested, urging protecting the “vulnerable”
During the spring, when Gov. DeSantis appeared to be flattening the curve through a combination of voluntary measures, luck, and strategic business shutdowns, he found himself in an extended debate with media about beach openings.
In those press conferences, held before the virus began its numerical surge after Memorial Day weekend, he contended that beaches and other outdoor activities were much safer than indoor events.
After Duval County opened beaches for limited purposes, DeSantis repeatedly attempted to defend Duval against the slings and arrows of a press he has seen as sensationalistic throughout the coronacrisis.
Duval’s case rate, he said in May, equalled “lunchtime in Queens.”
Now, of course, out-of-state media is focusing on Florida for rampant community spread of COVID-19, with the Republican National Convention headed to besieged Jacksonville, meaning that the beach advice may not resonate nationally as it once did.