MIAMI – At a news conference in Miami on Tuesday — while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks an emerging dominant strain of COVID-19 that now accounts for 72% of new infections in the U.S. — Gov. Ron DeSantis quashed any potential for further state-supported COVID-19 restrictions in Florida, as the state once again experiences an upward trend in cases.
“So just let me say it very clearly to all Floridians, you just saw Philadelphia impose an indoor mandate. You’re going to have potentially some of these other ‘Deep Blue’ jurisdictions go back to restrictions and mandates,” DeSantis said. “You look what’s happening in Shanghai, they have everybody under a brutal lockdown. So I just want to be very clear, as long as I sit in the chair in which I sit, no Floridian will be restricted, mandated or locked down in any possible way.”
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The governor gave his reaction to Philadelphia’s restoration of an indoor mask mandate after leaders of the Commonwealth city framed their Monday announcement as a pre-emptive move, noting a sharp increase in cases believed to be driven by the BA.2 subvariant of omicron.
DeSantis also referenced an ongoing virus-related lockdown in Shanghai, where authorities said Tuesday that 23,342 people tested positive for COVID-19 in a day’s time, while only 994 of them showed symptoms. Worldwide, the World Health Organization said Tuesday that new cases of and deaths from COVID-19 have fallen for a third week straight, yet advised that the decreases “should be interpreted with caution.”
In Central Florida, cases of COVID-19 have shown a rising trend over the last several weeks, up from more than 8,000 positive cases the week ending March 17 to 11,337 new cases reported the week ending April 7.
Seminole County Medical Director Dr. Todd Husty said Monday that many Americans have let their guards down, and it’s led to local health experts bracing for another surge.
“It’s not just spring break doing this, it’s all of us. Nobody is wearing a mask, almost none of us,” Husty said. “My experts who I’ve listened to, who have been right-on, have predicted late April, early May, a spike and look, we’re starting to creep up.”