Florida fun-hungry young adults fuel increase in viral infections

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Miami (AFP)

They are itching for a long time after months of foreclosure, the coronavirus is damned: young adults in Florida are fueling a dangerous increase in COVID-19 infections.

Seeming to feel immortal, these crazy people started gathering in bars, nightclubs, and elsewhere after the Sunshine State reopened its economy this month, although the state must now put an end to life. night powered by alcohol.

Check out Instagram, and there’s always a party on a beach somewhere, or in a pool, or on a rented yacht in South Florida, where nightlife spots other than restaurants are still closed.

In addition, buses are hired for bachelor parties filled with people drinking beer, dancing to reggaeton music – and spreading the coronavirus.

Infection rates have remained stable, with Florida joining the rest of America locked out from March to May. But they exploded in June after the state reopened and tourists from across the country began to flock.

On Ocean Drive, which is a sort of party center in Miami Beach, visitors from Missouri, Texas, Georgia and elsewhere stroll along the seashore.

Around midnight, Mike Olivera, a 25-year-old man visiting New York, sits on a wall on the seaside promenade and sips a sip of vodka with a boyfriend, watching a steady stream of young humanity with a fresh face.

And listen to how concerned Olivera is about wearing the mask and social distancing: “I wanted to be fucked,” he said, explaining why he came to Miami.

Olivera chuckles, then clarifies. He is originally from New York, the former COVID epicenter of America, with its strict social distancing restrictions.

“So I wanted to take a break and be able to do things, meet nice people and hang out,” said Olivera.

With this kind of common attitude, Florida has set new case records almost every day for the past two weeks – more than 5,000 Wednesday and Thursday as infection rates rise alarmingly at home and abroad. south and west of the country.

Florida surpassed 100,000 known coronavirus cases on Monday and the average age of those infected is now 33, up from 65 two months ago.

Governor Ron DeSantis said this week that the state was witnessing a “real explosion” of virus cases among young people, and he warned that places serving alcohol without enforcing social distancing rules could be robbed of their liquor licenses.

On Friday, the state abruptly stopped alcohol consumption on the premises in bars due to the increase in the infection rate.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said that young people in the country, many of whom are asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the virus, are now causing a “paradigm shift” in the dynamics of the pandemic. In stern terms, he warned them to think about the health of others.

“If you are infected, you will infect someone else,” he said at a press conference after a meeting of the national coronavirus task force, the first in two months. “And finally, you will infect someone vulnerable.

“The only way we’re going to end it is to end it together.” ”

Waiters in Florida brave perspiring heat through their face masks and wear plastic gloves while waiting for customers.

Some restaurants have been closed or closed voluntarily in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus in a state heavily dependent on tourism income.

– Life is not normal –

Olivera removes the threat from the virus.

“No, I don’t feel like it will affect me. I’m 25, I don’t feel like I have anything to worry about, “he said.

“I faced uglier things. I’m from the Bronx, you know what I mean. If I survived, I could survive in Miami, “he said, then had a glass of vodka.

But Annalisa Torres, a data analyst recently graduated from the University of Florida, said that it annoyed her to see people her age behaving this way.

“It is important to recognize that as young adults, the actions we take throughout this pandemic affect not only us, but the people around us,” she said in auto quarantine in his Miami home.

“In my case, I live with my parents and my younger brother. I stay at home not for myself, but for them, ”said Torres.

The problem is that when young people learn that they are less vulnerable to the coronavirus, they feel impervious, said Mary Jo Trepka, epidemiologist at Florida International University.

“The message is that it is mainly serious for the elderly and that young people are less likely to get sick,” she told AFP.

“It is very true, but once you start catching so many sick young people, there will be some who will get very sick and end up being hospitalized,” added Trepka.

And many families in South Florida are multigenerational, so young people are often in touch with elderly parents at home, she added.

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