LGBTQ Democrats Call for Statewide Stay At Home Order
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2020
DELRAY BEACH, FL – Yesterday marked the fourth day in a row that Florida has reported more than 100 new deaths from the coronavirus, and COVID-19 cases have surpassed 10,000 for six the of the last seven days. With the coronavirus pandemic spiraling out of control in Florida, the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus is calling for the following measures to curtail community spread of the virus:
- An immediate, statewide, four-week stay at home order to reduce transmission and allow for this wave to decrease. A statewide public mask requirement should be paired with this order.
- A reassessment deadline after the four-week period to determine if the stay at home order should continue and if schools can
reopen safely. This decision making should be based on science and hard metrics, not arbitrary deadlines, or political influence.
- An extension of unemployment benefits and the moratorium on evictions to protect unemployed workers during this difficult but necessary step.
- State and local actions that promote voting by mail and make it as easy as possible for voters in both the primary and general elections.
Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement on the Caucus’ call for bold action:
“The LGBTQ+ community has been fighting HIV for 40 years and through that struggle, we have learned the importance of government taking big, bold actions instead of patchwork solutions. We need that same mindset now as we continue to battle the coronavirus. Inaction by our political leaders means that more families will needlessly suffer, and more people will die, just as it was in the early days of the HIV crisis.
“There’s no road map for how we got here, nor is there one to get us out. We’re facing a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and a crisis of confidence due to the absence of leadership in Washington and Tallahassee. Our community is fearful for Florida, and for the country right now. That’s why we are demanding bold action based on science and not an arbitrary political timetable.”
Dr. Alexys Hillman, a physician and at-large board member of the Emerald Coast Equality LGBTA Democratic Caucus in Escambia county, highlighted the medical necessity for bold action:
“The healthcare system in Florida is becoming dangerously close to being overwhelmed in many communities. COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths are rising alongside skyrocketing case counts, and if we don’t stop the spread now, we will find ourselves in a situation where medical professionals have to make impossible decisions between patients, as was seen in New York and Italy earlier in the pandemic.
“Forcing every school to open next month is irresponsible given our current trajectory of the virus spreading. That puts students, educators, and families at risk, and a growing body of evidence now shows lung damage in asymptomatic children and adults. This is in addition to the very real risk of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots due to COVID-19, which would add to the burden of a society where heart disease and strokes are already the leading and fifth leading causes of death, respectively.
“Even for survivors of such events, the recovery and functional limitations afterwards are no small matter. The risk of persistent disability is real and will have long term economic impacts on our health care system and social safety net. The science is clear that when virus transmission is as high as it is in Florida, bold policy actions are needed to stop suffering and preserve human life – the most important duty of any medical professional.”
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