A senior health official in the Orange County, Florida health department said that asking questions about activism during the recent George Floyd protests was not part of the coronavirus contract regarding questions of research in the Sunshine State.
“The information we collect is voluntarily offered to us,” said Dr. Raul Pino to local media, explaining how contract tracing works. “We do not specifically ask individuals” Did you attend the demonstration? Because there are so many elements of freedom and rights for these people to be present at these demonstrations. “
Orange County, Florida, has recorded more than 10,000 cases of coronavirus, with nearly 283 new cases reported on Tuesday, according to the state health department.
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This is just a fraction of the nearly 150,000 cases reported in the state, which recently experienced spikes in infection rates.
The profusion of new cases has led Florida to ban alcohol consumption in bars last week, with the daily increase reaching more than 9,500 new cases on Friday.
“Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspends the consumption of alcohol on the premises in state bars,” the agency said in a tweet.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said infection rates in young demographics have increased, adding that the median age is no longer around 65. Instead, he fell to 33.
“Community transmission is driven by the 18-35 age group,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Friday.
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Legislators and health officials have suggested that this has to do with a younger demographic heading to bars and not practicing social distancing. However, Orange County health official Pino said he did not “think it was a coincidence” if the numbers had increased about two weeks after the protests started.
He also noted that this could still be the result of state reopening around Memorial Day, the same day that George Floyd was killed while in police custody.
Large-scale protests have taken place in Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York and Washington D.C., but recent peaks of coronavirus have not yet occurred in these cities.
The states currently experiencing recent increases in COVID-19 levels are Texas, Florida, Arizona and Oklahoma.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the senior medical specialist in the White House Coronavirus task force, spoke to younger demographics last week, encouraging them to take the virus seriously.
“It’s a paradigm shift because we are dealing with young people, people who are going to be asymptomatic and people who become infected in a community setting, not in the context of an epidemic where you know who to identify, isolate and contact the track, “says Fauci.
Vice President Mike Pence also spoke to younger age groups about spikes in infection rates.
“If there is a message going through today, I hope it says to young Americans in these states, and in these counties in particular, that they represent a large part of the numbers we see in new case, “said Pence at a press conference last Friday
Pence was asked if he thought there was a correlation between states that opened early and where spikes in the virus occurred.
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“I think there will be a temptation for people to look at these sunbelt states that have reopened and put people back to work and suggest that the reopening has to do with what we saw last week”, said Pence. .
The Florida Department of Health could not be contacted immediately to clarify the questions it poses when looking for contracts to compare rates with social gatherings compared to those who attended the recent protests.