This year’s spring break party-goers in Florida have been widely criticized. Spring break took place between March 8 and March 15 and countless college students packed their bags and went to Miami, Florida for their annual beach party event even though the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic was already underway. Now, it’s been found that many of the students have been infected by the coronavirus.
During spring break, various media outlets interviewed many of the students and got responses such as:
“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying. We’ve been waiting for Miami spring break for a while. We’re just out here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens.” – Brady Sluder
“It’s really messing up with my spring break. What is there to do 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. ” – Brianna Leeder
“What they’re doing is bad, we need a refund. This virus ain’t that serious.” – Atlantis Walker
These and many other students that were interviewed seem unaware that the virus has already claimed tens of thousands of lives despite the stringent measures.
Some of the Florida spring breakers are learning about this the hard way as they test positive for covid-19. The University of Tampa already announced last Saturday, March 21st that at least 5 of their students that had gone to Miami for their spring break tested positive for the virus.
The students remained unidentified and are currently in self-isolation. It remains unclear how many people they had contact with or who else is infected as very few of the spring breakers have been tested.
“UT has been notified that five UT students, traveling together and with other UT students during Spring Break, have tested positive for COVID-19,” the University’s statement on Twitter reads. “We sincerely wish our students, and any others who may be affected, a full and rapid recovery.”
In an unrelated Facebook post, the same university also acknowledged that a sixth student also tested positive for the virus.
“The Florida Department of Health is following its protocol to identify, notify and quarantine any individuals that have had contact with these individuals. We sincerely wish our students, and any others who may be affected, a full and rapid recovery.”
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis who refused to close the state’s beaches had this to say:
“[The government] wants you to social distance, of course. But they actually encourage people to get fresh air.” “They just don’t want you congregating in big groups. And so if you have a Floridian that goes and walks their dog, like a married couple on the beach, as long as you’re not within six feet of each other, they view that as a healthy thing.”
However, last week DeSantis eventually issued an order that limited gathering of over 10 people at Florida beaches – a week after the spring break had already passed. He also issued an order for the closure of certain beaches and businesses in Palm Beach and Broward. Since then, the mayors of Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, Naples, and Jacksonville have closed all their beaches.
Rick Scott, a Republican senator from Florida told Fox News that “spring breakers have forced the shutdown”. He also added “I know a 62-year-old male in good health that is struggling for his life right now so we have got to take this seriously,”
The full effect of the massive spring break celebrations in Florida is yet to be revealed as the majority of the students haven’t been tested at all, nor have the people they interacted with. The Covid-19 virus has an incubation period of about 2 weeks according to the CDC so it may be a while more since we know how severely the state has been affected, especially compared to other U.S. states.