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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Over one million reported cases of COVID-19 in Florida

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This week, Florida reached a milestone that nobody wanted to see: it exceeded 1 million reported cases of COVID-19 and 18,679 deaths.

Governor DeSantis said this week he is focused on plans for vaccines and reiterated his view that government imposed mandates such as requiring people to wear face masks and shutting down businesses won’t prevent the spread of the disease.

Just before Thanksgiving, he extended his order explicitly forbidding local governments from imposing fines or other penalties on businesses that ignore social distancing guidelines.

DeSantis said, “the state has continued to suffer economic harm as a result of COVID-19 related closures … and Floridians should not be prohibited by local governments from working or operating a business.”

The family of Gerardo Gutierrez might disagree. Gutierrez, a supermarket deli worker, was not allowed to wear a mask at work despite repeated requests. In March, he worked alongside a symptomatic co-worker, also not allowed to wear a mask. In April, he died of COVID.

Our governor seems to forget that those operating a business put profits first. Or maybe he too places more importance on the health of the economy than on the lives of its citizens.

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