Miami, South Florida Boat Parties Spread COVID-19

METERIAMI – Seven young women stood on the pier at the Sea Isles Marina near downtown Miami around one o’clock on Sunday afternoon. One, who said her first name was Lola and declined to provide a last name, placed her hand over her eyes to block the scorching sun. Dressed in a black bikini with transparent black pants, Lola turned to one of her companions.

“We need to find pier number one,” he said. “That’s where the captain told me the boat is.”

Almost every Sunday since the pandemic closed Miami-Dade bars and nightclubs, Lola and her friends have chartered a small yacht for an afternoon getaway in Biscayne Bay to sympathize, have drinks, and dance from bow to stern, he told The Beast daily “It’s the only thing we can do,” Lola said. “The restaurants are not even having dinner. So why don’t you get on a boat?

Lola and her crew are among hundreds, if not thousands, of boat enthusiasts taking to the sea to escape the confines of life under COVID-19 at a global epicenter of deadly disease. Over the course of an hour, five groups, not massive, usually five to 10 people, descended on the Sea Isles Marina to board chartered boats sailing in local waters from Sunny Isles Beach in the extreme north of Miami-Dade to Key Biscayne in The southern tip.

According to local boating enthusiasts, charter brokers and marina operators, recreational boating is experiencing one of its busiest summer seasons in recent memory, coupled with a plethora of boat parties where it is nearly impossible take precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing.

As a result, rising water is contributing to the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade, a high-pandemic area, health experts and front-line workers warned.

The number of COVID-19 patients admitted to local hospitals increased from 1,656 on July 7 to 2,278 on July 20, according to the most recent COVID-19 update from Miami-Dade. During the same two-week period, the number of patients in ICU beds increased from 343 to 513. As of Monday, local beds in ICU COVID-19 had a capacity of 130 percent. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade reported 2,797 new cases Monday, totaling 87,035. The Florida Department of Health reported 14,337 new positive cases statewide, the 13th consecutive day of more than 10,000 new cases.

“Our Florida Department of Health data and admission questions in our emergency rooms and hospitals strongly support that boat parties are contributing to the Miami-Dade outbreak of COVID-19,” said Aileen Marty, professor of infectious diseases. from Florida International University who has been advising the mayor of Carlos Giménez county.

As of Monday, the 14-day average for the Miami-Dade positivity rate was 28 percent, suggesting a very high burden on the Miami-Dade population, Marty explained. Therefore, even small groups in a boat represent a hazard. of spreading the new coronavirus. “It is very possible that one of those three or four people who get on the boat (assuming they live in different homes) is positive,” Marty said. “People from the same household can get on a boat, but they should not mix households in a small boat at this time.”

An emergency room nurse at a Miami-area hospital told The Daily Beast it was frustrating to discover that boat parties are full of energy as hospitals reach capacity with emergency rooms and intensive care units overflowing with patients. COVID-19 patients. “I think it is irresponsible and dangerous,” said the nurse, who requested anonymity because her employer does not allow interviews with the media. “Seeing people on Facebook and in the community partying with their friends on a boat is irritating. It’s a slap in the face for healthcare workers and science in general. ”