Last week, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis stood in an almost empty room, his sign language interpreter no fewer than six feet away from him, and told Floridians that reopening schools was analogous to the Navy Seal operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Gov. DeSantis took this comparison about as far as that last sentence and then talked about how Florida schools would still be reopening. Go fight international terrorism, kids! Schools across the country are trying to figure out ways to open and whether entirely virtual, entirely in-person, or a hybrid of the two are best for the safety of kids and staff. Their personal networks of family and friends are all anxious.
According to the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade County Public Schools has almost 600 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. This number is about 600% larger than the figure that Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s chief of staff at Miami-Dade Schools gave the press in July. Separately, Miami-Dade Schools Police Department Union President Al Pacio says that at least seven officers have reported positive tests. Whether or not any of these staff members or police personnel came into contact with the state’s most dangerous COVID-19 spreader, Gov. DeSantis, is unknown.
These numbers come on the heels of July data showing escalating cases of COVID-19 in children. On Friday, the Sunshine State reported 4,684 new coronavirus cases and 119 deaths due to COVID-19. Officials say that “positivity rates” have been going down, and that it’s a good sign. Of course, positivity rates are entirely connected to testing, and we have seen that Florida—like many American municipalities—has been woefully behind on the kind of robust and speedy testing needed to make real sense of positivity rates.
Miami-Dade County has had almost 150,000 COVID-19 cases, with 2,185 deaths related to COVID-19. Because Florida officials were some of the earliest to try to obfuscate the true nature of the virus in their state, the likelihood that the officials’ numbers are woefully short of the actual numbers is very high.
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