Few states so far have not had a stay-at-home order, Florida was one of them. Until Thursday at 12:01 a.m., when Florida Governor DeSantis says that Florida’s stay-at-home order was to begin. By Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., the state had 7,771 cases with 101 deaths due to COVID-19.
The President approved Florida’s disaster declaration on March 25. But Governor DeSantis has been under fire for not directing a stay-at-home order as the number of cases rose.
Florida is the land of sunny beaches, ethnic food and fresh fruits. Keeping people at home is going to be a huge challenge.
In recent days, Governor DeSantis issued orders to stop anyone coming to the state from Coronavirus hotspots like Louisiana, New York, Washington, etc. and advise them of the requirement to self-isolate. The order also requires anyone flying into Florida from those areas to go into quarantine for 14 days. He was fighting to keep from having to issue the lockdown.
Orange county already has “hot spots.” Orlando has the highest number of cases, at 272. Officials believe the state may have as many as 7,000 deaths by the peak period between now and May. (Clickorlando) Officials are tracking the cases by zip code. Some believe that Florida and Texas may become the next states to be hotbeds of viral activity.
In recent days, DeSantis fiercely opposed allowing two Holland America cruise ships infected with the virus to dock in Florida.
The Zaandam and its sister ship the Rotterdam are due to dock in Florida today, April 2. The Rotterdam met with the Zaandam at sea and took the asymptomatic passengers. The Zaandam had 4 deaths (at least two from COVID-19), and has 9 passengers that will be taken to hospitals, with 45 others that will remain on board. 179 of the passengers have flu-like symptoms. Foreign nationals will be transported in specially sanitized buses to their chartered flights home. There are 300 Americans aboard the ships, and 49 Florida citizens.
Governor DeSantis dropped his opposition to the docking after a deal was reached with Florida officials. The President also said that “we have to help them,” which may have had an influence on his change of heart.
Life is about to change, not just for the passengers who started out for a two week cruise through South America. Locking down a state as diverse and as large as Florida will be a daunting task.
Featured photo: the Zaandam – Holland America Cruise Lines