ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said though the number of increasing coronavirus cases could be alarming to some, he said ultimately new infections looked different across the state and are changing how the state responds to the pandemic.
DeSantis answered reporters’ questions from Bethune-Cookman University Wednesday at a news conference, saying as the cases continue to climb, the trend is that the virus seems to be infecting a younger demographic. This younger demographic is split into different age ranges across the state.
“We got a really big sate. A lot going on in the epidemic is not uniform throughout the state,” he said, pointing to the disproportionate numbers of infections in South Florida and how new cases have been trending in the 20-30-year-old age range.
“If you look at what’s happening in Miami-Dade that’s different than what will be happening in like an Orange County or Volusia County. I think the new ages range the daily cases like 28 to 33 or something like that, incredibly young. Miami is skewed younger than they were but they’re still I think in the 40s and so the shape of it just looks different,” the governor said.
He said as the coronavirus continues to infect younger Floridians the new patients are increasingly likely to be asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic, meaning the concern is how they could potentially spread it to others.
“I think we all have a responsibility to not put any of our seniors or anybody who’s medically fragile in jeopardy with our own conduct and so I would just tell people, be very cautious with that. Be conscious of parents and grandparents and the interactions that you may have,” he said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the Fourth of July holiday nears, some health experts worry that celebrations and a lack of social distancing could cause more difficulty in the efforts to flatten Florida’s curve. The governor saying he does not plan to close the state’s beaches or other businesses in the wake of the uptick in cases.
“The sciences is pretty clear on that at this point,” he said. “Doing things outdoors in Florida is less risky than doing things where you’re packed indoors. But by and large, the virus does not like sunshine, heat or humidity. I think every study has shown that.”'
On Wednesday morning, the Florida Department of Health reported 6,563 new cases of COVID-19 since the same time the previous day, as well as 45 new Florida-resident deaths and 245 new hospitalizations.
The new statistics bring the total number of coronavirus infections to 158,997 since the virus was first detected in the state on March 1, as well as a total of 3,650 deaths and 14,825 hospitalizations.
The FDOH began reporting resident and non-resident deaths as separate categories for the first time on Wednesday. The state reported a total 3,550 resident deaths and 100 non-resident deaths Wednesday, for a cumulative total of 3,650 deaths.
The governor says as Florida’s positivity rate continues to trend in the double-digits he wants to work to flatten the curve and make sure people are still doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus and still live their lives in Florida’s reopened economy.
“This thing doesn’t just go away,” he said. “You can do a lot of things if you just take some small precautions, you’re going to be OK.”