Responsible people around the nation are begrudgingly sheltering in place in their homes. Restaurant’s, businesses, places of entertainment have shut down. Concerts, shows, and sporting events have been canceled. Schools and daycares have closed their doors. Hospitals are preparing for the worse and many, includinging myself have learned the benefits of “flattening the curve.”
Yet the photos and reports keep coming from beaches up and down Florida’s east and west coast, Miami and along the panhandle. Beachgoers are reveling in their ignorance as they flout every warning about the pandemic that has shut the world around them down bragging about their youth and vitality feeling invincible.
A new Change.org petition is asking President Donald Trump to work with Governor Kay Ivey, Governor Ron DeSantis and other southeastern governors to immediately shut down the beaches (now not later) and more importantly lock down these Spring breakers before they disperse and make our situation worse.
The issue at hand is simple: these young adults are not invincible! Many are also not fully understanding or fully realizing the havoc their actions could have across the nation if they were to catch the coronavirus and spread it. It’s estimated that when young adults get the virus, they either get a mild case or are asymptomatic If they’re partying as hard as the photos show it’s likely their symptoms would be no worse than the hangovers they’re inevitably going to be nursing anyway.
With thousands of Spring breakers out at beaches we have a lot to worry about as a nation. What if just even 10-15 people from each major beach contract it and then take it on the move throughout the nation. Think of each major Spring Break area between Florida and Alabama? Starting at Orange beach and going east to Pensacola, 30A, down both coasts all the way down to Miami.
If Trump doesn’t stop it will his inaction be the equivalent of the Chinese governments inaction? As the petition notes had those infected in Wuhan been quarantined and not allowed to travel we may not have the pandemic we face. Will all of these people be the U.S. version of the Wuhan spread?
In Jan. a Washington Post story the Chinese Health Commissioner blamed their spread on the festivities around the Chinese New Year (which is also called the Spring Festival).
“At present, during the Spring Festival travel rush, the number of people on the move has surged, which has increased the risk of an epidemic and the difficulty of preventing and controlling transmission,” National Health Commission Vice Director Li Bin said Wednesday, using the Chinese name for the holiday.
Without intervention, these party goers will also be “on the move.” There is no doubt that cities and states around the nation will see a tremendous uptick in cases as these irresponsible beachgoers return home unless they are stopped. These kids will flood what’s left of flights around the country, they will drive home throughout the southeast stopping who knows how many times along the way and infecting people at hotels, gas stations, and stores.
How does the president stop them? Well, I’d start by asking the governors of each state to shut down the beaches ASAP. Not later tonight. Not tomorrow. Right this moment. Send everyone back to their hotels then what? I don’t know. I know that we can’t turn a blind eye to this huge population that has the potential to pose a huge problem, but I don’t know what comes next. That’s what the experts are for.
Can and should we mobilize the national guard and enforce mandatory quarantines? Block roads and test for symptoms? I’m sure there are people who will read this piece and say that we have a free society and we do. I love our nation and I love our constitution and freedoms. Period. Hard stop. No buts about it. I also know that in times of crisis there is a role for the government to protect the people and just as we’re protected from enemies foreign and domestic, we have to be protected from a virus that has the potential to lead to up to millions of deaths.
We gave these “kids” their chance to do the right thing. Now it’s time to make sure they can’t do anymore damage.
Here’s some good resources for those still not convinced of the deadliness of this disease and the imperative that it be stopped:
Resources for more information:
*This is an opinion piece