Did Florida’s spring breakers spread coronavirus across the country?

National News

TAMPA (WFLA) – Not everyone is happy with how long it took Governor Ron DeSantis to issue a stay-at-home order. 

Video of Florida’s beaches packed with spring breakers sparked national outrage weeks ago. But Governor DeSantis chose to wait to issue an executive order until Wednesday.

Now, there’s new evidence that Florida’s spring breakers left the beach for destinations all across the state and the nation. That includes New York. A place that would become the epicenter of this crisis.

The company Tectonix analyzed data of just one beach.

“We took a look at…a specific beach in Ft. Lauderdale over a 2 week period, which was spring break,” said Jefferson Wilson, the Chief Operating Officer at Tectonix.

“Then using Tectonix we were able to zoom back out and see where those devices went before and after spring break.”

Mapping technology shows how the spring breakers spread across the country. 

“Everywhere you can think of,” said Wilson.

“There were plenty of people in NY. All over the Eastern seaboard, Texas, Kansas, California and Michigan.”

Instead of issuing a stay-at-home order soon, Governor DeSantis focused on travelers coming from hot zones, ordering self-isolation.

“We’re obviously rooting hard for new orleans to do well, but what we don’t want is for people to flee that hot zone and potentially bring the virus here,” said Gov. DeSantis last month.

Critics say Florida’s lack of action potentially spread this virus.

8 On Your Side had a chance to speak with the Lt. Governor Jeanette Núñez on Wednesday.

“What was your reaction when you saw how packed the beaches were across Florida during this pandemic?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

“Well certainly, I think it’s irresponsible. It shows the lack of real understanding of what this virus means. I know many beaches in South Florida took that extra step,” said Lt. Gov. Núñez.

“We made sure we were working in concert with them.”

“If you thought that was irresponsible why not take this action sooner to issue a stay-at-home order statewide?” asked Saeidi.

“The Governor has taken this approach. He’s obviously been looking at all the information, balancing the health care needs,” said Lt. Gov. Núñez.

“Making sure our priority number one keeping Floridan’s safe. I think he’s done that and shown every step of the way that he’s not afraid to take difficult decisions.”

Lt. Gov. Núñez also says, Governor DeSantis is leading the nation in different ways like the action he took banning visitors at nursing homes.

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