Could Florida Go Into Lockdown With Rising Covid Cases?

Tom Stevenson

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It may seem unthinkable that Florida could go into lockdown in the near future. The vaccination program is working and lockdowns would appear to be a thing of the past.

Governor Ron DeSantis was clear when he suspended all local restrictions back in May:

"The fact is, we are no longer in a state of emergency."

On the face of it, this is true. Cases are down on what they were at the start of the pandemic or during the second wave in winter. Back then, 20,000 cases a day were being reported. Today, the number is a lot lower but the surge in Covid is causing concern.

The primary reason is vaccination. While 60% of Floridians have been vaccinated, that's still some way short of the number needed to infer herd immunity. A figure of 80 to 90% would be needed to protect almost everyone in society. With a large proportion of Florida's population consisting of the elderly, this is a risk that could have repercussions.

The arrival of the Delta variant in Florida means the potential for more deaths is high. While the vaccines protect against hospitalisation, some people do slip through the net. Then, there is the risk of a vaccine-resistant strain emerging.

Governor DeSantis' decision to lift all restrictions offers an opportunity for the virus to spread rapidly and mutate. Should it do so, another lockdown could be needed to stop the spread of a new dangerous strain that could undo all of the previous good work.

It should be noted another lockdown is unlikely. The vaccines are effective and work well against even the newest variants. While rising cases and hospitalisations are a concern, especially on a health service that has already been stretched to the limit over the past year, it shouldn't necessitate another lockdown.

DeSantis' executive order issued in May, became effective on July 1. Therefore, unless that law is changed, it looks like another lockdown is out of the question.

While Floridians may be worried about rising cases and hospitalisations and the arrival of the Delta variant, they don't need to worry about another lockdown. The best way to prevent one, however, unlikely, is to get vaccinated.

With Florida suffering the third-most Covid-19 cases in the country and the fourth-highest death toll, it's imperative as many people come forward to get the vaccine as possible. While restrictions have been lifted, the threat is still real and people should remain vigilant.

Lockdowns won't be happening anytime soon, but should such a worst-case scenario happen, the response of Governor DeSantis will be interesting.

Will he stick to his guns, or will issue another lockdown? Time will tell.

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