Florida dodges ‘huge’ COVID-19 outbreak predicted after March spring break crowds

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:
Beachgoers at Fort Myers Beach during coronavirus outbreak on March 17, 2020. (Credit: WINK News)

Florida’s coronavirus surge predictions were pushed back several times until researchers determined we had already reached the peak.

The state appears to have managed to dodge the huge outbreak that many predicted.

Images of hundreds of spring breakers partying on Florida’s beaches caused the state to become the poster child for downplaying the spread of coronavirus in mid-march.

Brady Sluder, a spring breaker from Ohio, said on March 19, “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

Six weeks later, on May 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “Has there been a major transmission? No, in fact, a decline, they weren’t that high to begin with.”

Experts say the Sunshine State’s turnaround is thanks to several factors.

Dr. Bindu Mayi with Nova Southeastern University says in comparison to New York City, our relatively low population density has had a positive impact on the virus’s transmission. Pollution levels may have played a role as well.

“We can look at the beginning of February, there is a dramatic difference between what we see in New York City and what we see down here,” she added, “So I would suspect that also factored into seeing more cases.”

University of Oxford researcher, Dr. Tom Jefferson, is with the Nordic Cochrane Centre and says, some scientific observations find warm, wet, and sunny environments like Florida’s make it more difficult for the virus to spread.

LINK: The effect of latitude on COVID-19

Jefferson explained, “…The best conditions for transmission seem to be from freezing to around about 10 to 12 degrees centigrade (50-54F), with low humidity, and not a lot of ultraviolet light.”

Experts also agree now is the time to stay vigilant, with Dr. Bindu Mayi saying “…I don’t believe we are in the clear yet.”

And prepare for what’s still to come.

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