The Point, March 13, 2020: Florida Reacts To Coronavirus Pandemic; Major Events Canceled Or Postponed


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• WUFT News: ‘The Airplane Is Flying While Being Built’: How Those On UF’s Campus Are Adapting To Coronavirus Restrictions. “Reporters set out to gather reactions to the unfolding situation from more than a dozen of those still finishing up in-person work and class meetings on Thursday. The emotions from those they encountered ranged widely — from disbelief to fear, resolve to outright frustration.”

• WUFT News: Gatornationals Postponed During First Day Due To Coronavirus Pandemic. “As major sports leagues and event organizers large and small nationwide canceled events on Thursday, the National Hot Rod Association canceled the remaining Gatornationals drag racing events scheduled for this weekend.”

• Florida Department of Health: The State of Florida Issues Updates on COVID-19. “A 24-year old female in Alachua County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel related case and is associated with travel to Europe.”

• WUFT News: Attendance For UF Law Event About Hate Speech Sparse As Classes Move Online. “Attendance was evenly divided between live and online viewers at a speech hosted Thursday by the Federalist Society at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. The speech by Nadine Strossen and moderated by UF professor Rachael Jones garnered 18 in-person attendees and 17 online attendees.”

• The Alligator: Andrew Yang’s visit is postponed for now; Dance Marathon is canceled. “Dance Marathon has been canceled and former presidential primary candidate Andrew Yang will not speak on campus as originally planned. In addition, the Southeastern Conference announced in a press release that SEC competition in all sports will be suspended until March 30.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): 2 polling locations move to quell coronavirus concerns. “Two polling precincts in Alachua County have been relocated to emergency locations because of COVID-19 worries. Precinct 23 voters will now cast ballots from the Wyndham Garden Gainesville, 2900 SW 13th St. Precinct 61 voters will now cast ballots at the Millhopper branch Library, 3145 NW 43rd St.”

• Citrus County Chronicle ($): Local investors urge people not to panic. “Local financial investors have some advice for folks worried about their stocks or portfolios: don’t act rashly… The urge is to sell your stocks or at least reshuffle your portfolio intensifies when markets are in turmoil. But while professional investors make big-money moves trying to stay ahead of the market, the advice for individual investors is to stick to their plan.”

• UF Health News: Certain compounds may block coronavirus from cells, UF Health researcher finds. “Computer simulations run by a University of Florida Health researcher have shown that three compounds appear to have the potential to block cells from being infected by the novel coronavirus COVID-19.”

• Misinformation can spark fear and hysteria. We’re here to help. We’ll update you with emerging information from reliable sources to answer all of your questions about coronavirus at with all the latest to keep you informed. The latest updates: Florida Department of Health releasing guidance for schoolsbusinesses and large events, Santa Fe College announcing its campuses will remain open and operating normally, 27 diagnosed cases in this state and no plans to close North Central Florida public schools.

• WUFT News: Gainesville Celebrates The Female Pioneers Of Florida At The Matheson Museum. “Women honored in the speech included Dr. Esther Hill Hawks, who ran the first free racially integrated school in Florida and served as a physician during the Battle of Olustee, the only major Civil War battle that took place in Florida.”

• Florida Politics: Kayser Enneking takes narrow lead in HD 21 money race. “The House District 21 race is showing Republican incumbent Rep. Chuck Clemons out in front in overall fundraising, though Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking now leads in cash on hand. Clemons reported about $165,100 in campaign contributions the start of the 2020 Legislative Session, when lawmakers are barred from raising money.”

• WUFT News: Momma’s Home: How A Family-Friendly Drag Queen Fosters Community For LGBTQ Youth. “Children call Jason DeShazo ‘Momma.’ It smells like shampoo and soft perfume as the kids and their parents walk into the local beauty salon where Momma Ashley Rose works during the week. On the first Sunday of the month, Momma greets families by the door. Toddlers teeter toward her with their arms stretched up for a hug. The families didn’t come for haircuts. They came for a story.”

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Around the state today

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Coronavirus: The day everything in Florida changed. “Routine left us suddenly. It disappeared with a buzz in our pocket, and then another, and then another because in the 24 hours when coronavirus erased America’s plans, everything was BREAKING.”

• Naples Daily News ($): Coronavirus: Florida Sen. Rick Scott says he will self-quarantine after contact with infected Brazilian delegation member. “In a statement, Scott said the Brazilian Embassy altered his office after the press secretary for President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive days after Scott met with Bolsanaro in Miami.”

• WMFE: Governor Ron DeSantis Tells Floridians to Postpone Mass Gatherings for Now. “DeSantis announced today that although he does not have the authority to cancel all mass gatherings — limiting or postponing them could help prevent the spread of coronavirus. ‘Based on the recommendations of our health officials here in the state of Florida, I am recommending to local municipalities and private entities to strongly consider limiting or postponing mass gatherings in the state of Florida.'”

• WLRN: Miami-Dade County Cancels Miami Open, Youth Fair, Arena Events And NASCAR Race. “Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez dramatically changed the county’s approach to the coronavirus crisis on Thursday by using new emergency powers to shut down the most popular public events on the March calendar, including the Youth Fair, Miami Open tennis tournament and the NASCAR race in Homestead, which still may run without fans in the stands.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): South Florida schools to remain open ‘as long as possible’. “South Florida school districts have no immediate plans to close because of coronavirus. But in Broward County, extracurricular activities will be suspended starting Monday to minimize the spread, Superintendent Robert Runcie announced on Thursday.”

• WMFE: Disney World Closed Through March Beginning this Sunday. “Universal says it will also close its Orlando theme parks from close of business Sunday, and anticipates remaining closed through the rest of the month.”

• New York Times ($): ‘If I’m Going to Get Sick and Die, I Might as Well Do It at Disney World’ “…’Is it safe to travel to Disney World?’ had become an increasingly searched question on Google, and on social media people had been asking it, along with ‘Is it safe to go to a theme park?’ Many travelers had written to The Times to ask whether Disney and other theme parks — which are frequented by thousands of people from all over the world — were intensifying their sanitizing practices.”

• Orlando Sentinel ($): Coronavirus worries don’t faze lawmakers, as Legislature keeps working amid rampant shutdowns, cancellations. “On the floor of the Senate and House, members shook hands and hugged — although some insisted on elbow bump greetings.”

• WTSP: More than a year after his murder, ‘Jordan’s Law’ heads to the governor’s desk. “‘Jordan’s Law,’ initially introduced by State Rep. Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater) is making its way to Gov. Ron DeSantis desk for his signature. The bill passed unanimously – 113-0 Thursday afternoon in the Florida House and 40-0 earlier this month in the Florida Senate.”

• WUFT News: As The 2020 Session Ends, How Did Florida’s LGBTQ Bills Fare? “Proposals LGBTQ activists support – such as banning employment discrimination on sexual orientation or gender identity, or banning conversion therapy for minors – didn’t get much traction among lawmakers before the deadline for committee hearings in the House and Senate. The deadline to pass bills not related to the annual state budget through each full chamber is Friday.”

• Florida Politics: Legislation to raise smoking, vaping ages awaits Ron DeSantis’ signature. “Raising the age to 21 helps the state comply with new federal regulations. And the bill bans all vape flavors but menthol and nicotine until they receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

From NPR News

• World: U.K. Not Included In Trump’s European Travel Ban, Even As COVID-19 Spreads There

• World: U.S. Conducts Airstrikes Against Iran-Backed Militia In Iraq

• National: Maryland And Ohio To Close Schools Statewide Due To Coronavirus

• Health: Performing Arts And Cultural Organizations Close Their Doors Due To Coronavirus

• Business: Stocks Enter Bear Market. What Does It Mean?

• Politics: Biden, Sanders Slam Trump Administration For Coronavirus Response

• National: Judge Orders Chelsea Manning Released From Jail

• Health: Nice To Meet You, But How To Greet You? #NoHandshake Leaves Businesspeople Hanging

• Science: A Spy Agency’s Challenge: How To Sort A Million Photos A Day

About Kristen Altus

Kristen is a web editor and reporter for WUFT News. She can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing Follow her on social media @kristenaltus.

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