By Joshua Huff, sports editor
Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending people keep 6 feet away from each other, the beaches in Florida have been inundated with spring breakers taking advantage of the closure of schools throughout the nation as the coronavirus pandemic ramps up.
In Clearwater Beach, Florida, video footage and social media posts have shown thousands of people taking to the beach, swimming and partying. This follows Vice President Mike Pence warning on Tuesday that the White House is bracing for disruptions caused by the coronavirus to last well into the summer.
“We fully expect that we will be dealing with the coronavirus in the United States for months,” Pence told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in an interview. “According to some of our modeling, we could well be dealing with coronavirus cases in the United States well into July.”
“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying”: Spring breakers are still flocking to Miami, despite coronavirus warnings. https://t.co/KoYKI8zNDH pic.twitter.com/rfPfea1LrC
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 18, 2020
President Trump on Monday announced new national guidelines that recommend people utilize social distancing as to not spread the virus.
However, students and others alike have disregarded rules with the lure of having a good time too strong to follow common decency.
“If I get corona, I get corona,” Brady Sluder, a spring breaker from Ohio, told Reuters. “At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying. We’re just out here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in a news conference on Tuesday that all bars and nightclubs are to close for 30 days. He also ordered restaurants to reduce their capacity by 50%.
The greatest concern is the rampant spread of the virus from the younger generation to the elderly. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. mirror what’s been reported in other countries, with about 4 out of 5 deaths occurring in people 65 and older and no deaths in kids, according to a new federal report.
Drawing from available information, researchers found about a third of the reported cases were in people 65 and older, but retirement-age Americans made up the bulk of people who suffered severe illness.
More than half of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital intensive care units were 65 and older, the CDC reported. No one 19 or under was admitted to an ICU, the CDC added.
Yet, the threat of spreading a deadly virus to their elders seems to cause little concern with those spending spring break at the beach.
“It’s really messing up with my spring break,” a woman identified as Brianna Leeder, told Reuters of DeSantis’ closure of bars and restaurants. “What is there do to here other than go to the bars or the beach? And they’re closing all of it. I think they’re blowing it way out of proportion. I think it’s doing way too much.”
BUSY BEACH! This is what @MyClearwater Beach looks like right now as spring break crowds flock to the sand. #Clearwater leaders haven’t decided if they should add a curfew or close beaches but they may vote on measures related to the #coronavirus this Thursday. @abcactionnews pic.twitter.com/jGoxQdYJg5
— Sarah J. Hollenbeck (@SarahHollenbeck) March 16, 2020