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Florida beach and bar parties rage on amid alarming surge in COVID-19 cases
Record-breaking coronavirus rates can’t stop these partiers from continuing to rage.
Despite surging COVID-19 cases, Florida beaches were packed with maskless revelers over New Year’s weekend. Photos of Fort Lauderdale Beach show nary a face covering and many a bikini as people continued to party despite the ongoing pandemic.
On Jan. 3 at Miami’s Fontainebleau pool area, heavy daytime partying was photographed despite the state’s coronavirus dashboard reporting another 10,603 cases that day — the fifth consecutive day it reported more than 10,000 cases.
On New Year’s Eve, Tampa Bay residents swarmed bars and clubs as packed celebrations raged across the area. That day, the state also passed a milestone in no way worth celebrating: It broke its coronavirus caseload record with more than 17,000 new cases reported in one day, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Photos and video of the scene looked as though they’d been taken before the pandemic, with shots of DJs playing large, indoor crowds and few masks in sight. Observers expressed concern about “the amount of NYE bashes happening in Tampa tonight.”
University of South Florida public health and family medicine professor Dr. Marissa Levine wasn’t exactly shocked by the revelry.
“I’m not terribly surprised because every holiday recently we’ve seen similar types of approaches,” she told the local news outlet. “But we’ve not been in this position before, we have a record number of cases. And we’re also trying to mount a vaccine campaign, which could be hampered if our health care system continues to be stressed and potentially overloaded. That could definitely end our ability to vaccinate people.”
The failure to heed warnings from some local officials, including Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, may lead to what Levine said could be “some of the darkest days” the state has yet seen during the pandemic.
“If any of these young adults that we’re seeing in these parties are bringing it home to those type[s] of households, that’s where we run the risk of more serious cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths,” she said.