Just when we warned Florida not screw up coronavirus, guess what happened?

Governor Ron DeSantis joined Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees at a press conference in Tampa to give updates on the coronavirus outbreak. BY TIFFANY TOMPKINS

Miami Herald Editorial Board | March 3, 2020

Anyone who remembers Greater Miami as Ground Zero for HIV infection, Zika, dengue — you name it — won’t be shocked if, or when, coronavirus crosses the county line, lands at the airport or cruises into the port.

The “when” might be here. However, a Miami woman told by doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital that she “likely” has COVID-19 — coronavirus — could not get the diagnosis confirmed. As first reported by Jim DeFede at miami.cbslocal.com, state and federal would not conduct the testing needed to confirm it. 

This is not to way to allay public fears of the contagion, contain it and treat those who need it as quickly as possible. Turns out, state health officials are following ridiculously narrow federal guidelines to test a very small pool of people who have been to China or who are critically ill.

We urge Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor who has President Trump’s ear, along with that of Vice President Pence — the nation’s putative coronavirus czar — to ditch the political spin they’ve swirled around this health emergency and get serious about saving lives. Pence has inspired little confidence so far in his ability to handle this potential pandemic. Here’s his chance to prove otherwise.

In Florida, other hard-learned lessons of disasters past, however, appear to have taken hold. DeSantis spoke transparently and with authority Monday in confirming two cases of coronavirus in the state. The governor briefed the public in Tampa after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed two “presumptive positive” cases of the virus: One is a man in Manatee County; the second is a woman in Hillsborough County. A third case was reported on Tuesday.

Monday, the state’s surgeon general, Dr. Scott Rivkees, even copped to the 24-hour delay between learning the CDC’s preliminary findings and the announcement to the public, though his explanation — that the patients were being monitored during that time — was fuzzy and not reassuring.


Given the virus’ spread — and its potential to be fatal — the state should err on the side of flagging cases to the public sooner rather than later to better contain the contagion. New cases are a given as Florida expands testing.

South Florida and — Miami, in particular — must be especially vigilant. It is a major point of entry by land, sea and air. Coronavirus has had a wide-ranging journey — from Asia to Europe to Africa to the Americas, including the Dominican Republic, where an Italian national was confirmed to harbor the virus. A smattering of other cases have been confirmed in other Caribbean countries. 

As troubling as the discovery of coronavirus is in Florida counties to the north, the Caribbean is truly our “neighborhood” in South Florida. The familial links of strong; so is the lure for tourists. Both could affect us here.

This community will have to be prepared to protect itself, while likely coming to the aid of compatriots among the Caribbean to help check the threat and manage the aftermath. It will be in the entire region’s best interest.


Locally, commend Miami Mayor Francis Suarez for requesting that the organizers of the Ultra Music Festival this month deliver a plan for protecting the thousands of attendees who will descend upon Bayfront Park downtown for the three-day celebration of electronic music. 

While he’s at it, Suarez also needs to make sure that the Calle Ocho festival and Carnavale have such plans in place, too. 

Good to see, too, is Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez taking on the creation of a plan to shield the elderly, one of the most vulnerable populations. The deaths in a stiflingly hot nursing home in Broward County after it lost electricity during Hurrincane Irma still haunt the South Florida community.

Many Floridians have shaken their heads over the years at late evacuation calls as hurricanes bore down, at aerial spraying to kill potentially Zika-carrying mosquitoes — without knowing exactly where it was going to occur — at closed or chaotic storm shelters.

Florida could be on its way to getting its response to this potential coronavirus pandemic right.

It has to.

Bed bugs found again at Waterbury school

May 9, 2019. Eyewitness News 3.

By Kaitlyn Naples Courtney Zeiller

WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) — Bed bugs were found once again inside a Waterbury school.

An alderman confirmed that bed bugs were found a second time at Career Academy in Waterbury.

Photos were sent to Eyewitness News on Thursday morning showing a bug inside a classroom.

In a statement on Thursday, the Waterbury superintendent of schools said “Recently a suspected incident of a bed bug was reported at Career High School. School staff immediately addressed the issue and collaborated with the City Health Department and the School Facilities Division consistent with established protocol.”

This comes more than a month after bed bugs were found at the same school.

The superintendent goes on to say inspection and cleaning have been performed, and follow-up inspections will take place.

School officials said there is no risk or harm to students, staff, or others, and added that bed bugs are common in the United States.

“They do not transmit disease and pose no immediate health risk to humans,” the superintendent said.

Parents have been reaching out to Channel 3 saying they haven’t been told by the school, instead, their son or daughter is letting them know. 

“It’s frustrating honestly, especially for our parents. They have children come here and have a fear that their kids will come home with bed bugs,” said Makhiya McBride, a student. 

Students say the bugs were found in a 10th grade math class, and students said school officials haven’t said a word to them about it. 

“I found out from rumors and I seen pictures,” McBride said. 

Alderman Vernon Matthews said he’s also been contacted by parents in his district about the issue. 

“Obviously there’s something going on and we have to figure out where the problem is coming from and how we can help. Either the household or where the infestation is coming from to rectify it,” Matthews said. 

The school said the areas have been cleaned, and they will follow up to make sure it stays that way. 

If you think you were bitten by a bed bug, the area might be itchy, but bed bugs don’t carry disease. 

People are recommended to call a doctor if they believe they are bitten by a bed bug. 

A New Drug-Resistant Disease, Deemed An ‘Urgent Threat,’ Is Sweeping The Globe

April 25, 2019
Anna Harnes

For years, doctors and scientists have been warning about the rise of superbugs, or bugs that are resistant to antibiotics or other medicine. The New York Times reports that the first case of a superbug may have just arrived.

The disease in question is a fungus called Candida auris. It tends to hit those with weakened immune systems, like children and the elderly. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 90 percent of C. auris infections are resistant to at least one drug, and 30 percent are resistant to two or more drugs, earning it a rating of “urgent threat.”

Most frighteningly, most scientists are still at a loss as to where the superbug came from.

In the past five years, there have been cases in Venezuela, Spain, Britain, India, and the United States. Dr. Tom Chiller, who heads the fungal branch at the CDC and heads the search for a cure, noted its sudden and dangerous emergence.

“It is a creature from the black lagoon. It bubbled up and now it is everywhere.”

An infectious disease expert at Imperial College London, Dr. Johanna Rhodes, echoed the sentiments. After she was called when a breakout occurred at the Royal Brompton Hospital, she was told three main points.

“We have no idea where it’s coming from. We’ve never heard of it. It’s just spread like wildfire.”

In the United States, 587 cases of C. auris have been reported, though they have been mainly in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Doctors face huge problems because it is incredibly difficult to remove the fungus from hospital areas once it has been spread. For example, after an elderly man died in Mount Sinai Hospital in Brooklyn, hospital president Scott Lorin said that the hospital had to rip out floors and ceilings in some cases to eradicate traces of the bug.

“Everything was positive — the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump. The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive.”
The bug also appeared in Spain, at a 992-bed hospital in Valencia. A staggering 41 percent of infected patients died within 30 days, according to medical journal Mycoses. Depressingly, this is a good rate of survival: according to the CDC, nearly half of patients who are infected with C. auris die within three months.

According to Dr. Lynn Sosa, the deputy state epidemiologist of Connecticut, C. auris is the “top” threat of superbugs.

“It’s pretty much unbeatable and difficult to identify,” she said.

CDC confirms dangerous ‘kissing bug’ spreading north again

April 25, 2019 Source: Today

CDC confirms dangerous ‘kissing bug’ spreading north again
A Delaware girl was bitten on the face by the bloodsucking insect that is usually found in southern areas.

Bloodsucking insects known as “kissing bugs,” because of their tendency to bite people around the mouth, are spreading across the country after working their way north from South America.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed last week that a girl in Delaware was bitten by one of the critters, which are formally known as triatomine bugs.

The triatomine bug got its nickname, the kissing bug, because of where the insect likes to bite people.Alamy
The case was reported in July 2018 when a Delaware family requested help from state health and agriculture officials to identify the insect that bit the girl on the face as she watched television in her bedroom.

The bugs can spread a parasite that causes Chagas’ disease through its feces. The disease can be spread when the bug “poops on or near a person while it is feeding on (their) blood, usually when the person is sleeping,” according to the CDC. Transmission occurs “when poop is accidentally rubbed into the bite wound or into a mucous membrane (for example, the eye or mouth), and the parasite enters the body.”

But the CDC said not all triatomine bugs are infected with the parasite that causes Chagas’ disease. The disease can be dangerous, but chances of contracting it are low, according to the agency.

This map details where triatomine “kissing” bugs have been found in the United States.CDC
In the early phase of Chagas’ disease, a person may have no symptoms or mild ones, including fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. Since the symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses, many people do not know they may have a parasitic infection, the CDC said.

The girl who was bitten in 2018 did not suffer any health effects, according to the CDC.

The recent spread of triatomine bugs is not the first time the insects have traveled north. In 2014, the kissing bugs showed up in the southern half of the U.S. The 2018 case in Delaware has been the northernmost case so far. There are 11 species of triatomine bugs across the country.

Adult kissing bugs are generally larger than a penny and may have an orange-striped band around the edge of their bodies. The CDC advises against touching or squashing a suspected triatomine bug. Instead, the agency suggests placing it in a container, and then filling it with rubbing alcohol or freezing it. The bug should then be taken to a local extension service, health department or university laboratory for identification.

‘Kissing Bugs’ Spreading Painful Bites Across US

BY: Eun Kyung Kim

Parma Apartment Building Infested with bed bugs, residents say

By Victor Williams 4/25/19
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – Residents at Parma Park Apartment complex are claiming that they’ve been living with bed bugs for years.
“You look at your walls, you’re looking for bugs, you’re making sure that you don’t have it. That is no way to live,” said Laura Murphy.
The managers seems to have a unique way of inspecting the building.
“Ten units once a month they check out of 58 units and if they’re infested with Beg Bug, they contact the exterminator of they’re choice and then they treat that one unit,” said Stacy Graewe.
The tenant is then slapped with an $800 bill. Most of the seniors inside are on a fixed income which creates even more of a hardship.
“Some of the residents have experienced it more than once now, so they’ve gotten bills over and over,” said Graewe.
“I live in a one bedroom apartment. $800 seems like that would be treatment for a whole house,” said another resident wishing not to be named.
Another issue is the amount of time it takes for exterminators to finally treat an apartment if the bugs are found.
“They also waited 10 days after I reported it to come and treat, so by that time my entire place was infested,” said the anonymous resident.
“According to the leasing office, there’s nothing else they’re going to do. I asked her straight out, would you want to live here and she had no answer,” concluded Graewe.
Parma Park Apartment complex is owned by Gross Residential. They sent 19 News this statement regarding the matter:
“We are aware of the situation, are proactively addressing it and have been in touch with the concerned residents. The affected and isolated areas – two suites total – will be aggressively treated by a licensed, certified exterminator, and we are committed to resolving the issue as expeditiously as possible. The affected suites will be treated as soon as the residents are able to take the proper precautions and prepare their living spaces for treatment. The comfort of our residents is our priority, and we are taking every measure to ensure the matter is resolved quickly. Payment for an infestation is assessed the same as any other property damage, such as a flood or fire, and only the source of the primary occurrence is charged. We do not charge infestation treatments to residents secondarily affected by another, primary occurrence.”

This Woman Says Bed Bugs Are Tearing Her Family Apart—and Now Her Story Is Going Viral

We go head to head with our parents about plenty of things: money, career, and even bed bugs. Say what? Yep, one Reddit user recently took to the platform to vent about how bed bugs are ruining her relationship with her dad. And she might not be the only one—especially with so many people traveling for the holidays and possibly visiting a bed bug–infested home.

User cupsandmugs555 explained that she lives about four hours by car away from her dad, meaning she only sees him a few times a year. But when she does visit, she always leaves covered in painful little red bites. And if he visits her, he brings the bugs with him, spreading them to her home. It’s been a problem ever since she was a child, and it’s tearing them apart.

Over the years, cupsandmugs555 has unfortunately had to cut back on seeing her dad, she said. The last visit occurred three years ago, and she and her partner “stayed in a hotel and didn’t even go into his house. We washed all our clothes when we got back and STILL got a massive infestation at home. That one took almost a year of steam cleaning the carpet and bed and washing all my clothes over and over.”

This year, both her mom and grandma passed away, and her dad is one of her few family members left. “I saw dad a couple of weeks ago, he came around mine for a cup of tea before going out to a concert. He was only over for half an hour, but me and my partner have been getting bitten again since then,” she wrote.

Wait, but how does her dad deal with constantly getting bitten? Well, it turns out some people can be entirely immune to bed bug bites. That doesn’t mean the little pests don’t think her dad is tasty. He likely still ends up with bites, but he doesn’t have a reaction to them or any discomfort.

“Dad is completely immune to them somehow, he never gets bitten,” cupsandmugs555 said. “He got married a few years ago and his wife is also miraculously immune to it. Their house isn’t a show home or anything, but it’s not filthy.”

Of course, she’s considered asking him to hire an exterminator, but she’s not even sure it would make a difference. “I don’t know if it’s worth asking Dad to get his house fumigated. It’s clearly a massive infestation that’s in all his clothes and cars and pets and anything that a bug could be in. He wouldn’t even know if it worked either, because they don’t get bitten,” she wrote.

Bed bugs are a real problem, and cupsandmugs555 knows that better than anyone. If you’re traveling this holiday season and aren’t sure if the place you’ll be staying is bed bug–free, there are things you can do to avoid being a meal.

First, park your luggage in the bathroom, where bed bugs are least likely to be found. Then, start looking for the pesky critters. 

Inspect the bed by pulling back the linens and checking all the way around and under the mattress as well as behind the headboard. Look for small reddish-brown fecal spots (gross, we know), white eggs or empty eggshells, and bed bug skin casings. Check for live bugs themselves, which are flat, reddish-brown, and about the size of an apple seed.

After you’ve checked the bed, examine the rest of the room, including behind picture frames, under decorations, and even in books. Check in the cushions and seams of any couches or soft chairs, as well as in the closet before putting your clothes away. Bed bugs are sneaky and can hide in unexpected places.

Throughout your stay, try to keep your suitcase off the floor or bed and on a desk or dresser. Make sure not to leave any clothes lying around. You can also buy a plastic cover for your suitcase for extra protection. Don’t have time to order one? Use a trash bag instead.

If you do start noticing itchy red bumps on your body, wash them with soap and water to prevent the bites from getting infected, and then find a new place to sleep. If you’re staying in a hotel, ask for a room at least two floors away from the one you’re in now.

To treat the bites, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream if they’re unbearably itchy. Your skin should heal within one to two weeks, but see a dermatologist if the bites ooze (a sign of infection), or you develop blisters, swelling, or hives.

Bed bugs are guests you certainly don’t want at your holiday festivities. Though they’re persistent, being smart about where you sleep will help keep them away.

Bed Bug Infestation Sweeping Metro Denver

FOX31 – July 18, 2017, by Keagan Harsh

DENVER — Tourists are coming to Colorado in droves this summer, and it’s not just visitors of the two-legged kind.  Our state is seeing an infestation of bed bugs.

Christina Thomas experienced it first hand. Thomas was visiting an Extended Stay America in Colorado Springs and says she woke up to find bed bugs all over her pillow.

“I woke up and three inches from my face I see a spot, and I look at it and say ‘no way, is that a bed bug?'” she said.

Christina isn’t the only person dealing with bed bugs in Colorado.

Jacob Marsh is one of several Denver exterminators absolutely overwhelmed with bed bug calls.

“It’s infestation levels over the whole city pretty much,” he said. “Right now we’re working 6 or 7 days a week,” said Marsh.

He says this is the worst time of year for bed bugs. However, Colorado’s infestation actually began several years ago. He estimates more than 3,500 homes are treated for bed bugs in the Denver area every year.

It’s a problem Marsh attributes to both the state’s growing population and Colorado’s popularity as a tourist destination.

“Denver is usually ranked 4th to 6th worst in the nation. We get a lot of good things when things are booming like it is, but unfortunately when people are coming in and traveling you also get a lot of unwanted visitors,” he said.

If you’re staying at a hotel there are things you can do to try and keep the bugs away.

First, store your luggage away from the bed on luggage racks or even in the bathroom.

Also, check the sheets, mattress, and bed frame for signs of the bugs.

One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that they’re too small to see. Most are actually about the size of an apple seed, and similar in appearance.

As for Christine Thomas, she isn’t taking any chances. She checked out of the hotel and left.

Bedbug Case on Campus Rattles Affected Student

May 10, 2017 –  By Andrea Cantor

“Nighty night, don’t let the bedbugs bite” may be more than just a nighttime saying for the Sarah Lawrence community. In the past semester, there have been reported cases of bedbugs, and the reports are calling into question the protocols the school has for informing the community. 

Maureen Gallagher, the assistant vice president for facilities, confirmed the presence of bedbugs at SLC. Gallagher stated, “We have confirmed cases of bedbugs this year. We are extremely proactive once we are informed of a potential situation. As soon as a student notifies us they believe they have bedbugs we move quickly and work closely with the student.”


A student who requested to remain anonymous, has been dealing with bedbugs since the start of the semester. It began when she noticed bites, ranging from pea to quarter sized marks. She said, “I never actually saw them. The Monday classes started I got little welts on my arms mainly. I had, at first, three on one arm, but by that Thursday of that week I had a least 12 I think. I tried to convince myself it was just dried skin, but they were very itchy, red and inflamed.”


The four parties that are involved in dealing with a reported case are the student, Facilities, Health & Wellness Center, and the school’s hired exterminator. “The Student must be seen by a medical clinician at the Health & Wellness Center to examine the bites and confirm that the cause is from bedbugs,” Gallagher explained. “My office contacts our pest control vendor who arrives on campus the same day, if not the next morning if the report comes in later in the day.” The pest control vendor is hired to do an initial treatment and follow up surveys of the room. All parties inform the student on how to proceed with washing their clothing and sheets as well as on other preventative measures.  


In accordance with the protocols the anonymous student, who lives on the second floor of Dudley Lawrence, was checked at the Health & Wellness Center, and the exterminator came within an hour of being called. The exterminator detected evidence of bedbugs, including one live bug, but he concluded that it was not an infestation. The student cleaned her sheets, encased her mattress with a protective casing, and notified Facilities of people she hangs out with. “Operations asked me where I spend a lot of time. They asked me the names of people I spend a lot of time with so I gave them two of my friends’ names and they checked their rooms,” she said. They found evidence of [bedbug] fecal matter in one of my friend’s rooms, but they didn’t find any actual bed bugs.” They treated the Andrews Court Room for bedbugs, which apparently also had a spider infestation.


The exterminator has been to this student’s dorm a handful of times, including when she found a live bug both following the initial treatment as well as preceding spring break that started on March 11. After each visit, including his two visits during spring break, the exterminator maintained that the situation was not an infestation.The anonymous student, who stayed in the Hyatt hotel for two nights after seeing the first live bedbug, said her main issue was that Facilities did not notify the people on her floor. “I wish they would alert at least everyone on my floor, because I had to be the one to tell my bathroom mate and tell the person across the hall from me,” she stated. She noted that both people were nice about the situation. “They put me in an awkward position where I feel the need to tell people, but it’s not my job,” she continued.


After being informed by this student, the bathroom mate requested the exterminator to come to her room. No bedbugs were found in the adjacent room and it is unknown of whether other rooms in the building were checked by the pest control vendor.


Wade Wallerstein (’17) was another person the student notified. He said he could understand not wanting to create hysteria, “I understand that bed bugs can be contained if caught early enough, and I appreciate the school’s concern in not wanting to create panic amongst the inhabitants of Dudley Lawrence. I also understand that relocating all of us and spraying the entire building would be highly costly, invasive, and potentially harmful (due to the insecticides that they would need to spray).” Wallerstein did not have his room inspected, but he affirmed that he knows how to check for bedbugs himself. He continued, “I’m no entomologist, or exterminator, but I think that in this case, the school got lucky. They might not be so next time.”
“We do a limited spraying. We use a dry steam, we co vacuuming steaming, traps and bed covers,” said Bob Ciardullo, the exterminator who treated the student’s room. He explained that the treatment he employs uses low levels of pesticides and typically takes one to two rounds to get rid of the bedbugs. “We follow up automatically in two weeks, but sometime there are bed bugs that come out from hiding during that time,” he continued. Ciardullo said he has treated a “handful” of bedbug cases this year at Sarah Lawrence, but the situation in Dudley Lawrence was low leveled. “What is most important is finding out who the person hangs out with. Bedbugs hitchhike from person to person,”Ciardullo continued. In his estimation, treating other rooms would have been “needless” and that this was the most effective approach given the situation.
But it cannot be said for certain that the situation is contained without alerting the rest of campus. Perhaps the student brought in the bedbugs from the city or from another location, but bedbugs are very easy to spread and could have feasibly come from another Sarah Lawrence resident. Bedbugs can spread through clothing, boxes, furniture and other items. The bugs rarely transmit diseases, but are still considered a health hazard and too small to be easily detected by the naked eye. It is very possible that students, especially with their hectic schedules, will relegate bites as either rashes or in this student’s case, “dry skin.”


Mary Hartnett, director of medical services, explained that the Health & Wellness Center does not have a protocol in place for notifying the campus, since it does not confirm the presence of bedbugs. She explained, “It would be inappropriate for us to notify the campus based on our assessment, because we don’t confirm the presence of bed bugs, the exterminator does. If bed bugs are confirmed, the exterminator and Facilities requests a list of places the student frequents and a list of students who frequent the place where bugs are found. The exterminator checks these areas.” Asked for a comparable situation, Hartnett explained that if the case were lice, there is a procedure in place to inform the student body so that they can be checked.


Informing the community goes beyond the students who live in the dorms. The professors and facility workers who work in the building were not notified of the Dudley Lawrence bedbug situation. English professor Neil Arditi and history professor Fredric Smoler, whose offices are in Dudley Lawrence, said they were not notified. Both refrained from commenting. Sal Haddad, a SLC worker, said he has never been warned about bedbugs and wished the school would inform the workers so that they could prepare better. Haddad said, “If we go somewhere where there is lead paint or dust, we prepare for it. We put the mask on, the jumpsuits on, gloves, but if they don’t tell you about anything else in the room, you just go in it and then the next thing you know—you have bedbugs.”