NBA’s return and Florida’s COVID-19 surge
Most beaches in South Florida will shut down this Fourth of July weekend as the state reels under a massive coronavirus spike that also remains a threat to two forthcoming marquee events.
The state’s southern counties that include Miami have been hardest-hit by the pandemic, but cases are now on the rise in central Florida and the Jacksonville area as well.
Forbes Magazine said the Sunshine State set “single-day records that included an unprecedented 9,585 new cases reported on Saturday alone.”
Dozens of states across the United States, including California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and South Carolina, are also dealing with upswings after reopening their economies either too fast or too soon. But few have been as sharp as Florida’s.
The state has registered more than 146,000 cases and over 3,500 deaths since the pandemic began.
“Before June 11, the state had never reported as many as 1,500 new cases in a single day, according to Forbes. ”It’s reported more than that every single day since, and its seven-day average for new cases has risen to over 5,000 per day.”
Jacksonville immediately mandated the wearing of face masks on Monday after a severe coronavirus increase hit the state’s largest city. Jacksonville is set to host the Republican National Convention in August, where US President Donald Trump officially accepts the party’s official nomination.
Ironically, Trump moved the convention to Jacksonville from Charlotte, North Carolina, because he wanted no part of the city’s mandatory mask and social distancing requirements.
The amplified concern over the surge of infections in Florida also continues to menace the restart of the NBA’s 2019-2020 season this month at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.
But the league has gone ahead and finalized a deal with its players association to resume the season under a bubble-like setting with 22 teams and an 88-game schedule leading to the playoffs.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league “will be safer on our campus” and that it has “no choice but to learn to live with the virus.” Silver added that no options for rebooting the season are risk-free right now.”
Locally, people wear face masks without incident when they go out in public.
The same could be said in almost all parts of the globe. But in the United States, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, that piece of cloth sends the populace clashing in the name of freedom and responsibility.
Worsening the situation are the confusing cues from the federal government, whose public health task force has officially batted for mask-wearing to prevent the spread of the virus.
And yet Trump himself despises the practice. He has never worn one in public, sending mixed messages that often lead to political conflict.