AP-FL--Florida News Digest

March 22, 2020 GMT



MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says at least 830 people in Florida have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and 12 people have died, including the first fatality in Palm Beach County. Nearly half the state’s positive cases are in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The governor held a news conference at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, where a drive-thru testing site opened for first responders and healthcare workers only. On Monday, the site will be available for testing members of the public who are 65 and older, and who have symptoms of the illness. The state said Sunday that more than 9,700 people have been tested in Florida. SENT, 286 words, AP photos


UNDATED — The coronavirus pandemic is rekindling decade-old memories of the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast. Bars and restaurants are shut down or mostly empty, and condominium and hotel reservations are falling off as some people stay home. Some beaches are closed to limit crowds. An oil well blew out in the water off Louisiana in 2010, causing pollution that scared away visitors and virtually shut down the seafood and hospitality industries in places. Just like then, Alabama real estate manager Bill Brett is worried about paying hundreds of employees because of a disaster beyond his control. By Jay Reeves, SENT, 732 words, AP Photos


PARIS — People from Europe to the U.S. are ignoring orders and recommendations to stay at home to help stop the coronavirus from spreading. Now authorities around the world are urging them to start obeying and enforcement is up. The resisters are holding corona parties in Germany, going to beaches in France, Australia and Florida and taking farm animals for walks in Spain. France has sent police to train stations to prevent people from heading to vacation homes. New York’s governor says there’s a problem with gatherings in New York City parks. He says more than half of the state’s infected people are from 18 to 49 years old. By Elaine Ganley, SENT, 1038 words


THE VILLAGES, Fla, — Residents living in one of the largest concentrations of senior citizens in the U.S. at first blew off coronavirus concerns. But residents of The Villages in Florida say attitudes shifted this week as President Donald Trump gave warnings to avoid crowds of more than 10 people. Starting Tuesday, all regularly scheduled indoor activities were canceled through the end of the month. The median age of The Villages is about 72 years old, and almost 80% of its 80,000 residents are over the age of 65. Older adults and people with existing health problems are susceptible to more severe illness from the virus. By Mike Schneider, SENT, 812 words, AP Photos


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Drive-thru testing sites have been opening around the United States to make it quicker and safer to test patients for the new coronavirus. But much like the rest of the U.S. response to the pandemic, the system has been marked by inconsistencies and delays. And many people who have symptoms and a doctor’s order have waited for hours or days for a drive-thru test. More than a week after President Donald Trump promised that states and retail stores like Walmart and CVS would open drive-thru test centers, few of those sites are up and running, and they’re not yet open to the general public. By Michelle R. Smith, SENT, 1479 words, AP Photos, AP Video


LARGO, Fla. — America has a history of unifying in trying times and rallying around the president. But after years of deep division, in the earliest, head-spinning days of the pandemic, a fractured electorate largely views Donald Trump’s performance through the lens they chose long ago. But the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. The body count will rise; the economy will almost certainly crater. Trump’s political fate may be left up to the sliver of moderates in the middle, who will choose whether to blame him for the crisis spiraling on his watch. By Claire Galofaro and Tamara Lush, SENT, 1493 words, AP Photos


SARASOTA, Fla. — A severe shortage of blood donations is sweeping the nation, and the Sarasota-Manatee area, due to coronavirus concerns and blood drive cancellations. SunCoast Blood Centers, a local nonprofit, is urging healthy people over the age of 16 to donate now to meet growing needs and stem the blood shortage. “We’re not seeing the donors that we need and the volume that we need them,” said Jayne Giroux, director of community development for SunCoast. “As the pandemic unfolds, this situation is likely to get much worse.” By Anna Bryson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, SENT, 481 words.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Shotguns, rifles and handguns are selling fast at Buck’s Gun Rack in Daytona Beach as people worried about the coronavirus’ siege on society buy firearms and ammunition. Buyers are concerned about the future, so they are preparing just in case, said Forrest Buckwald, the owner of Buck’s Gun Rack at 607 W. International Speedway Blvd. “They want to do home defense,” Buckwald said, “and think maybe there will be a social breakdown, perhaps with the panic. They don’t know how bad the situation is going to get socially.” Shotguns and AR-15s are big sellers but handguns are doing well also, he said. By Frank Fernandez, Daytona Beach News Journal. SENT, 603 words


HULK HOGAN-LAWSUIT — Pro wrestler Hulk Hogan has settled a lawsuit against a talk show host and two others he’d accused of taking part in leaking video of him having sex and using racist language.

FIGHTERS-ARIZONA BASE — Voices are being raised in Tucson about the possibility of a squadron of new F-35A fighters being stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base where the multirole aircraft would replace relatively quiet A-10 attack jets. Homestead AFB in Florida is also in the running.



Tennessee offensive tackle Dennis Kelly has been hunkered down since the birth of his third daughter. He has been self-isolating before the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus. New Orleans coach Sean Payton’s positive test helped drive home the importance of more NFL players isolating themselves from all but family. Players are trying to stay connected with group chats and social media and working out at home. By Teresa M. Walker, SENT, 948 words, AP Photos


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