It’s spring break and even a pandemic doesn’t appear to be stopping some people’s plans.
As many Americans continue practicing social distancing to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, videos and photos of spring breakers in Florida have poured in, showing many undeterred by the threat of COVID-19.
“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day I’m not going to let it stop me from partying,” spring break goer Brady Sluder told Reuters in Miami.
As of Thursday morning, there are more than 9,000 reported cases of the virus in the United States killing at least 150 people. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention advised people earlier this week to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
Coronavirus live updates:China reports no new cases, US death toll reaches 150, 2 congressmen test positive
Still, videos and photos of packed beaches have shown teens and young adults wading in the water, partying on the beach and otherwise going through with their travel plans even though restaurants and bars were closing.
As the photos and videos have appeared, some iconic spring break locations have tried to stop the party. The city of Miami Beach closed South Beach until further notice. Fort Lauderdale closed its beaches, too. Clearwater said its beaches would close Monday.
“It’s really messing up with my spring break. What is there to do here other than go to bars or the beach? And they’re closing all of it,” a woman named Brianna Leeder said in a CBS News video.
Data from the CDC indicate that fatalities from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, appear to be higher among older adults. Illnesses have ranged from mild, with some cases showing no symptoms, to severe. Older adults and people who have underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk for complications, the CDC says.
However, younger people can still face serious complications. People ages 20 to 44 accounted for about 20% of U.S. cases that resulted in known hospitalizations, according to the CDC’s preliminary data on the health outcomes of patients with COVID-19. The CDC said the data were limited and did not account for underlying medical conditions.
Preliminary research has also suggested that those with the virus can infect others before becoming symptomatic, which has led to public health officials to urge social distancing.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday closed bars and restricted restaurant occupancy to 50%. He also ordered a limit of 10 people at beach gatherings.
“What are you thinking? Stop doing it. Now,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the state’s former governor, urged beach goers on CNN.
Scott also said that state and local officials “ought to do everything they can to stop people from being on the beach.”
Including the spring break hot spots, other areas have closed beaches, beach parks or beach parking to try to keep people away, including Brevard County, Walton County, Collier County and Lee County, among others.
Contributing: Zac Anderson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune