Fabiola Santiago: Your typical Floriduh man is out there spreading coronavirus. Time for a lockdown

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People continue to be stupid and congregate, making the continuous transmission of the coronavirus in Florida all the more possible.

It’s not just the clueless spring break crowd putting everyone at risk.

Your typical Florida man/woman is out there spreading COVID-19.

The attitude of “this won’t affect me” is alive and well despite the closings of restaurants, bars, parks, boat docks in South Florida.

Let us count the ways people are helping spread the deadly disease.

Miramar has 15 coronavirus cases as of this writing, but its Home Depot, for example, is doing brisk business.

People are using their time off to remodel and garden, and construction workers are forging ahead with their gigs. People also are flocking hoping to find those elusive cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

At checkout, a salesclerk has a hard time getting people carrying everything from sheet rock to doorknobs to stay away from each other — and park themselves only at the yellow X 6 feet away from each other.

It’s no use. People don’t see the X right away. They’re touching.


Across town, at a Publix in Southwest Miami-Dade where the elderly are supposed to be getting special hours to stock up on necessities, there’s nothing but mayhem Tuesday morning.

“I just came from Publix with swarm of oldsters wearing masks, dodging carts — with no wipes provided — to go after limited products on near empty shelves, no meat, limited dairy products, who then stand jammed up in endless lines for few cashiers lanes open while other employees stock shelves,” writes a longtime reader, Nan, with whom I chat frequently. She doesn’t want me to use her full name because she knows just about everyone at her Publix.

“Stock shelves at night — otherwise no point in shopping,” she says. “No managers. No one in charge. Poor or little planning to make this a success, which it certainly was not. Disappointed in Publix, where shopping was anything but a pleasure and indeed a health defying experience. Forewarned is forearmed.”

I could keep going on giving examples of how people out there are potentially spreading the coronavirus — and institutions that mean well and think they’ve taken measures aren’t helping stop a disease now spreading in Florida at exponential rates.

Schools are closed, but here’s what some parents are doing.


People in the neighborhood behind me threw a pool party Monday and you could hear a mix of teen voices, kids voices, adult voices — and booming music that reverberated throughout my house.

Like millions of Americans are doing, I’m working from home. The noise was like a bomb dropping on quiet suburbia.

I took out my lawnmower, went back there and ruined it for them.

They went inside.

It’s good to take walks, but it isn’t so to keep doing it the same way.

On my last walk around the closed park in Miami Lakes, I stepped off the sidewalk or moved across the street every time I passed someone.

I was the only one doing it.

You bet those coronavirus respiratory droplets can pass from one person to another.

Scientists are still learning exactly how COVID-19 spreads, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says transmission happens when people are within 6 feet of each other “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”

Now I’m sticking to my neighborhood, walking even earlier at the crack of dawn and seeing the doctor in the white coat and nurse in green scrubs leaving their homes, she already wearing a tightly placed mask around her face.

We owe it to them, the health care workers on the front lines risking their lives, to stay home.

But I shouldn’t be the one trying to persuade you to do the right thing.


Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, should be issuing a lockdown order before it’s too late and we become another Italy or Spain — or New York, from where people are fleeing to Florida. But he won’t budge, taking his cues from the White House and putting business interests before the health of Floridians.

Floridians are asking for a stay-at-home order.

One petition to DeSantis on change.org alone easily surpassed the 150,000-signature goal and is gaining more by the minute.

Shelter in place, people, and let’s stop the outbreak.

I, and scores of other journalists, are driving around (gloves and a mask in hand) so you don’t have to.

Stay home.

The time for the governor to call for a shutdown is now.

He won’t do it — and we haven’t got much time left for Florida spread to become an even more monumental crisis.

These phrases should become your mantra: Social distancing, stay at home, shelter in place.

Our lives depend on it.



Fabiola Santiago is a columnist for the Miami Herald.


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