A Florida man who tested positive for COVID-19 and was arrested with his wife in Key West for allegedly violating a quarantine order insisted on Friday that he was simply walking his dog and not trying to put person in danger.
“I didn’t do anything,” Freire Interian, 24, told The Associated Press. “I was just walking my dog. It’s not like I’m leaving home to shop.
Interian spoke as the coronavirus continued to cut a deadly swath across Florida, with the state breaking its daily death record for the fourth day in a drop with 257 new deaths, according to the latest NBC News tally.
The numbing new figure was reported on the heels of Florida, resulting in 253 deaths on Thursday, 216 on Wednesday and another 186 on Tuesday – all of which were new daily highs in a pandemic turned the state into a COVID-19 hotspot.
Meanwhile, Florida was threatened by Hurricane Isaias, and Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Miami-Dade County all along the state’s Atlantic coast – a stretch that includes counties with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
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Florida reported 470,386 cases and 6,843 deaths on Friday.
Nationwide, more than 4.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported, along with 153,480 deaths, according to NBC News figures.
Interian was arrested on Wednesday with his wife, 27, Yohana Anahi Gonzalez, after neighbors videotaped them, allegedly flouting quarantine requirements, local officials said.
They have all been charged with the misdemeanor of violating state law that requires isolation or quarantine in a public health emergency and of emergency management violation, a conviction for which the two could return them to prison for 60 days.
Calling his arrest “unjust,” Interian said he was stunned when Key West police arrived at the house he shares with several other people.
“They knocked on the door very hard,” he said. ” I opened the door. They said to me, “Come on,” and I asked them, “Why? ” I was shocked. “
Florida health officials, however, say Interian and Gonzalez learned they were infected on July 15 and were supposed to self-isolate for 14 days. But on July 20, they ventured into a store and were caught doing so on video.
Interian and Gonzalez appear to be among the first people to be arrested in Florida for breaking quarantine. But they’re not the first to break local quarantine regulations.
In Hawaii last month, 21 travelers were arrested for violating the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine, none of whom tested positive. And in May, a 37-year-old Kentucky woman infected with COVID-19 was charged with “gratuitous endangerment” and “criminal mischief” after being caught shopping when she should have been. isolated. It was the third time she had defied a quarantine order.
In other developments related to coronaviruses:
- Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a congressional committee it was “cautiously optimistic” that researchers would have perfected a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine from here the end of this year. He has also battled with supporters of President Donald Trump, such as Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who tried to convince Fauci to link the explosive number of new coronavirus cases to the ongoing protests against police brutality that have erupted after the death of George Floyd while in the Minneapolis Police Department. keep. So far, there appears to be no evidence that the protests are behind the virus spikes. The majority of medical experts say states like Florida, Texas and Arizona reopened before the coronavirus could be contained and are now paying the price. Trump, who has been criticized for downplaying the danger of the pandemic, tweeted his approval of Fauci’s promising news and Jordan’s pitbull interrogation of the doctor.
- Following the hearing, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina told MSNBC that the Trump administration still lacks a national strategy to combat the coronavirus. “And for this president to say we’re going to leave up to 50 different approaches, let each state fend for itself, let states compete against each other, that’s not the way to keep our country unified,” he said. .
- California, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, has reported its first teenage death. Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno said the victim had underlying health issues, but did not release any further details. “The death of this patient reaffirms that children – and no age group – are immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the hospital said in a statement. “It is imperative, more than ever, that we all work together to prevent the spread of this disease. Our children deserve nothing less. The state’s death toll topped 9,000 on Friday and officials said most of the victims were 65 and over.
- California has passed the 500,000 reported coronavirus case mark, according to an NBC News tally. As of Friday night, there were 504,593 cases in the state, which has a population of around 40 million.
- The dangers to those who speak out about wearing masks were captured by surveillance video on Wednesday at a Staples store in Hackensack, NJ A 54-year-old woman named Margot Kagan, who is still recovering from a liver transplant, has suffered a broken leg after being thrown to the ground by another woman who objected to being stopped for not wearing her mask properly on her nose. Kagan said she was standing next to a fax machine and threw herself down after lifting her cane in an attempt to put some distance between herself and the woman. Police are investigating the situation.
- Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has imposed a mask mandate that goes into effect on Saturday. To this end, the state has distributed 200,000 masks statewide. Some of the state’s largest cities like Burlington, South Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier already needed masks in public. So far, Vermont has only recorded 1,407 cases and 57 deaths since the start of the pandemic. “It’s time to get ready,” Scott said earlier this week. “Epidemics across the country could spread to us. “