It looks like Florida is going to continue holding the title of “Worst State.”
As the state we have to thank for giving us “Florida Man” headlines and Perez Hilton, we can now add another thing to the list.
On Sunday, Florida broke the national record for the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases at 15,299 positive tests on Sunday. Corona-related deaths have also been on the rise. Three weeks ago, the state averaged 30 deaths a day; last week, that number jumped to about 73 a day, according to Market Watch. Moreover, Florida’s ICUs are currently at 85 to 90 percent capacity, and doctors are predicting a rise in the mortality rate with more and more public gatherings happening.
Despite claims that more cases is a result of more testing, the test positivity rate has also increased. The rate measures the number of people testing positive out of everyone who has been tested. The test positivity rate has risen from about 5 percent a month ago to more than 19 percent over the past week, according to Market Watch.
And yet, despite limited hospital capacity, 73 coronavirus deaths a day, and warnings about public gatherings from medical professionals, Disney World opened last weekend.
There are some changes that have been made to the happiest place on Earth. At the moment, only Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are open to the public, but Epcot and Hollywood Studios are scheduled to open on Wednesday. Masks that loop around ears (so, no bandanas) are required to get in and must be worn at all times, except for when swimming and eating. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are available throughout the park. Hotel and restaurant choices are limited and many stores, restaurants, and kiosks are closed.
There are also no character meet-and-greets (for obvious reasons) and parades and fireworks have been indefinitely canceled to avoid large crowds, according to CNN.
The park is also not operating at full capacity and temperature checks are required at entry, but as Blake Morgan at Forbes points out: "The problem with temperature checks is from untrained staff, as well as the fact that many carriers will be asymptomatic or presymptomatic when their temperature is taken."
Moreover, photos taken in the park on opening day are showing that the congregation of large groups is not entirely preventable in a place like Disney.
God this is bleak pic.twitter.com/1aSKOsV8jx— pokey pup (@Whatapityonyou) July 11, 2020
Needless to say, many online disagree with the park’s decision to reopen.
No one:— Saman (@svmvnm) July 12, 2020
Parents taking their kids to Disney world after Florida just had over 15,000 new cases in one day: pic.twitter.com/ixZn0UUoCI
Disneyworld re-opening during COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/OJe2oj4cUa— Respecting Women (@TheEpicDept) July 12, 2020
The new Disney World fastpass just sends you straight to the ICU— shelb (@shelbytheclown) July 12, 2020
Story art: Gabriella Shery is an illustrator, graphic designer, and comic artist from Brooklyn, New York. You can find her work on Instagram at @gabshery, or on her website at gabriellashery.com
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Evi Arthur is a graduate of Roosevelt University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies and a minor in women’s and gender studies. The former editor-in-chief of her university paper, Evi has previously interned at Chicago Agent Magazine and St. Louis Magazine. A St. Louis native (and lover of St. Louis-style pizza), she plans to eventually return to school and earn a Master's degree in investigative reporting. You can follow her at @EviArthur on Instagram and Twitter.