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Gov. DeSantis: 'Dramatic decline' in average age of Florida coronavirus patients

Says there's been "erosion in social distancing"
Posted at 1:53 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 13:53:35-04

MIAMI, Fla. (WTXL) — As Florida again sets another record for the highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, Gov. DeSantis said that the spike in the percent of positive tests can be attributed increased testing and "erosion in social distancing in the younger population."

He made the announcement during a press conference in Miami Friday afternoon.

The governor discussed the current trends in testing and gave an explanation for the increase in cases. Gov. DeSantis said that the median age of those who are testing positive has dipped to 37.

"It's going to continue to go down based on what we've seen the last couple of days," DeSantis said.

Over 60 percent of the new cases last week are made up of people under the age of 45.

"Particularly in the younger cohort, you're finding infections with minimal or zero symptoms," DeSantis said.

Now, as the state begins ramping up testing for everyone, regardless of their risk level, DeSantis said to expect to see more positive tests. According to DeSantis, 1 in 15 people in the state have been tested for COVID-19.

"If you test twice as much and find twice as much, that's kind of what you expect," the governor said.

The governor admitted that the shift in the median age is due, in part, to the economy reopening and younger Floridians getting out and about to socialize.

"I think we're starting to see some erosion in social distancing in the younger population," DeSantis said. He also said that the Florida Department of Health will increase PSA messaging encouraging people to continue to social distance and wear masks.

He also said that he would instruct the Florida DBR to start looking at businesses that aren't following the rules of the reopening plan.

"You know we don't want to continue to see, even though it's a lower risk cohort, we don't want to continue to see this spread throughout the community," DeSantis said. "That may not be the whole reason, but it could be part of that may not be the whole reason, but it could be part of the reason and we want to make sure we handle it."

DeSantis was joined by several hospital executives during Friday's press conference who said that bed availability is plentiful, the governor even saying that there are twice as much beds available in hospitals now as there were before the pandemic began.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez also said that reports about running out of beds are "grossly exaggerated."

"There's plenty, plenty of capacity here in the state of Florida," said DeSantis.

DeSantis said that there have been no fatalities involving anyone 18 and under and that more than 85 percent of fatalities have occurred in those 65 and older.

As far as face mask requirements, DeSantis said counties and cities mandating face masks "have every right to do that" but are in charge of enforcing it.

You can watch the full press conference below: