The Point, May 4, 2020: A WUFT Investigation Into Climate Change And Public Health

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• A WUFT News Special Report: Florida’s climate preparedness has focused largely on the built and natural environment. Our semester-long investigation of climate change and public health found that human hazards — from heat-related hospitalizations to disease-carrying insects — are on the rise in Florida. Children, elders, low-income Floridians and other vulnerable populations are particularly susceptible to these risks, now amplified by coronavirus as basic programs are suspended to contend with the emergency. But potentially record heat, stronger hurricanes and other human health threats didn’t get the message to quarantine. Our four-part series opens with Heat Policies in Florida May Overlook Most Vulnerable and Heat-Related Illness Rising With Temperatures. Check back each Monday in May for new installments.

• WUFT News: Pandemic Denies First Generation Graduates Their Special Moment. “Amid a global pandemic, universities across the nation have postponed the commencement ceremonies of graduating seniors, or the ‘Class of COVID-19.’ UF’s spring commencement for graduating students has been rescheduled for the weekend of July 31 to Aug. 2. Now, these dates may be indefinite after the university announced that all summer terms will be moving online.”

• The Alligator: “We are not helpless”: UF to reopen in stages. “Over the coming months, UF hopes to begin a staged return to campus with the aid of a new UF Health program, ‘Test-and-Trace,’ the release said. This comes hours after Provost Joe Glover announced that fall semester will begin one week later than initially planned.”

• Tallahassee Democrat: State university panel chair says focus will be on safety in reopening campuses. “(State University System Board of Governors chairman Syd) Kitson held a 90-minute video conference with state university presidents and representatives Friday morning to begin identifying what needs to be addressed to reopen campuses. The board is the governing body for all public universities in Florida.”

• WUFT News: From The Front Lines Podcast: Drive Through Weddings, Medical Innovations, And Vaccine Development During COVID-19.

• WFSU: COVID-19’s Impact On State Budget Cast Doubt On Future Of Proposed Toll Roads. “They were the creation of outgoing Senate President Bill Galvano and the Florida Transportation Builders Association. Galvano has maintained the roads are critical for hurricane evacuation and to ease road congestion, but they were never a part of the state Department of Transportation’s official plans.”

• Gainesville Sun: Paynes Prairie not on reopen list. “Some Florida state parks are partially reopening Monday but Paynes Prairie and several other popular regional parks including Silver Springs and Rainbow River in Marion County are not among them.”


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Around the state today

• WJCT: Gov. DeSantis Calls For Investigation Into Florida’s ‘Broken’ Unemployment System. “Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Florida has seen a bigger increase in unemployment than almost any other state in the nation, according to a new study from WalletHub, with claims in April rising a staggering 9,265% when compared to January.”

• AP: Restaurants scramble to re-open in most of Florida. “Restaurants in all but three counties can reopen their inside dining rooms at 25% capacity. Outside patios and dining areas are limited only by social distancing guidelines — tables 6 feet apart, with parties no larger than 10 people — and in some areas, businesses are asking local officials for expansion of outdoor seating.”

• Daytona Beach News-Journal: Volusia health workers protest beach openings amid pandemic. “At about the same time that county officials were announcing that beaches would reopen on Saturday to near-normal conditions, three healthcare workers stood at the International Speedway Boulevard beach approach on Thursday with a sign carrying a simple message: ‘Stay Home.'”

• WLRN: How Seniors Living Alone During COVID-19 Are Trying To Stay Connected To Resources, Counselors. “For 20 years now, 2-1-1 Broward’s Senior Touchline program has been checking on seniors who live alone with daily phone calls. They connect them with community resources if they need them. And many do.”

• Tampa Bay Times: Policing in the time of coronavirus: Tampa Bay cops share their stories. “Officers face all kinds of risks on the job, from armed criminals to belligerent drunks. Even disease is something they’re used to factoring in as a workplace hazard, thanks to coughing or blood or spit. But the coronavirus has carved a new set of challenges for law enforcement, particularly those on patrol or responding to calls.”

• Florida Storms: Do you know all of your risks from a hurricane? “Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Life and property can also be at risk hundreds of miles inland. The hazards, however, are not the same for all locations.”

• Florida Bulldog: Sheriff Gregory Tony’s secret: As a teenager, he shot and killed a man. “Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony shot and killed a man when he was a teenager living in a poor urban neighborhood in Philadelphia, according to records and interviews with family members of the dead man. Tony, 41, kept the May 3, 1993 killing secret for years. But after being asked about it by Florida Bulldog, had this to say on Saturday: ‘When I was 14 years old, growing up in a neighborhood in Philadelphia filled with violence and gang activity, I shot an armed man in self-defense. The juvenile authorities reviewed my actions and cleared my name,’ Tony wrote in an email.”

• The Atlantic: The Iguana King. “In this short documentary, The Atlantic follows an iguana hunter who has found yet another revenue stream for flipping iguanas: YouTube. ‘The Iguana King’ is a window into a future of conservation driven by profitability and search-engine optimization.”

• Fort Myers News-Press: Why are Florida panthers, bobcats getting sick? Grant will help scientists understand mysterious ailment. “A $150,000 grant from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation will fund scientists researching a troubling neuromuscular disorder afflicting the state’s panthers and bobcats.”

• NPR News: Man Arrested For Camping At Abandoned Disney World Island. “Disney security first spotted the man camping on the island, which has been closed to the public since 1999. Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office searched for him with helicopters, boats and on foot.”


From NPR News

• Health: How To Keep People Safe As Quarantine Fatigue Sets In

• Health: Doctor Gives Advice On How To Exercise Safely During The Pandemic

• Health: Mobile Phone Data Show More Americans Are Leaving Their Homes, Despite Orders

• Race: Reopening Economies Prematurely As A Civil Rights Issue

• Politics: What Biden’s Response To Sexual Assault Allegations Means For His Campaign

• Business: Oil 101: Why Are Prices Jumping, And What Are ‘Futures’?

• Business: Farmers Worry About Shortages, Bankruptcy

About today’s curator

I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to emagoc@wuft.org.

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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