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The Point, May 11, 2020: WUFT Special Report Examines Mosquito Vector Diseases

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The top stories near you

• A WUFT News special report: Florida’s climate preparedness has focused largely on the built and natural environment. Our months-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 continues today with a look at mosquito vector diseases, which scientists say are expanding in a warming world. One of the most serious mosquito vectors of exotic viruses was found in Gainesville last week after not being seen here for three decades. But statewide, COVID-19 has halted some surveillance programs. Experts are worried complacency could lead to outbreaks.

• WCJB: Cedar Key reopens for visitors. "When weekend destinations started closing around the state because of COVID-19, crowds flocked to Cedar Key. Vice-Mayor Sue Colson said, 'people had nowhere to go and they flock here because they know we're small and safe and isolated so we were the destination of choice. Which is wonderful in a healthy time because the economy would love it, but we didn't think we could physically sustain it and stay safe.'"

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala mayor: Our police won’t enforce state COVID-19 orders. "While Guinn did not say he was urging anyone to go against the order, he did note OPD would not respond to complaint calls related to the order."

• Gainesville Sun: COVID-19 testing expands in Gainesville. "UF med students will be testing people for free next Wednesday at the Martin Luther King Center, 1028 Northeast 14th St., from 9 a.m. to noon. Drive-thru testing by appointment has been underway at the former Gainesville Regional Transit System headquarters for people with a doctor’s referral. Beginning this week, it is open to anyone but still by appointment."

• Bay News 9: City Governments in Florida Forced to Declare Bankruptcy? Lawmakers Saying it Could Happen. "As Florida's cities grapple with twin crises of soaring emergency spending and plummeting revenues, many local leaders are warning their governments could be forced to declare bankruptcy without an infusion of federal aid."

• Citrus County Chronicle: Local gun store sales soar 'ballistically crazy' during virus. "Gun and ammunition sales have always been steady at Dunnellon Jewelry & Pawn, but then the new coronavirus arrived and sales began to spike like the number of infected. Sales at the store, which serves both north Citrus and south Marion counties, have jumped about 50%, said Mark Peltier, a gunsmith and salesman at the business."

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Around the state today

• Tampa Bay Times: How Florida slowed coronavirus: Everyone stayed home before they were told to. "...the Times analyzed cell phone tracking data collected by three companies that paints a vivid picture of how Floridians reacted during the outbreak’s early days. Fifteen experts reviewed the work and shared their observations. The analysis indicates that while Florida’s politicians debated beach closings and stay-at-home orders, residents took matters into their own hands."

• Pensacola News Journal: Five Mile Swamp Fire: 2,200-acre blaze quiets down over the weekend, structure response pulls out. "Firefighters got a better handle on the massive Five Mile Swamp Fire over the weekend, keeping the 2,200-plus acre blaze at 65% contained and residential neighborhoods out of its path."

• WMFE: In Florida Nursing Homes, More Than 650 Patients Have Died Of Coronavirus. "That’s almost 40% of the state’s 1,669 confirmed deaths from COVID-19. One facility near St. Petersburg has had 23 deaths with 13 others in Florida reporting at least 10."

• Florida Times-Union: ‘It can’t stop us’: UFC 249 marks sports’ return to Jacksonville. "The 22 fighters of UFC 249 brought a new punch to Jacksonville’s sports scene as Saturday night melted into Sunday morning, jarring the athletic world back to life after 57 days in deep freeze amid the uncertainty and chaos of the coronavirus pandemic."

• NPR News: Students Call College That Got Millions In Coronavirus Relief 'A Sham.' "A for-profit college received millions of dollars from the federal government to help low-income students whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus outbreak, but that same school, Florida Career College (FCC), is also accused of defrauding students."

• St. Augustine Record: Downtown St. Augustine slowly coming back to life. "On Saturday, St. George Street seemed closer to normal as people walked from shop to shop, ate ice cream and soaked in the historic charm of the city."

From NPR News

• Business: Unemployment Numbers 'Will Get Worse Before They Get Better' Mnuchin Says

• Business: Women Bear The Brunt Of Coronavirus Job Losses

• National: Georgia Lawmakers Renew Push For Hate Crime Bill After Death Of Ahmaud Arbery

• National: Georgia Attorney General Asks For DOJ Probe Into Handling Of Ahmaud Arbery Case

• National: The People Flying During The Pandemic And How Airlines Are Trying To Protect Them

• Health: What It's Like To Have COVID-19 Symptoms For Nearly 2 Months

• Politics: Civilian Coronavirus Corps Aims To Get Pennsylvania Back To Work

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

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news