The coronavirus hasn’t stopped people in Florida from enjoying the outdoors.
A video recorded by a resident in Titusville, about 55 miles east of Orlando, shows dozens of cars parked side-by-side at Parrish Park on Easter, despite state orders for people to social distance in public.
“Over the past couple weekends, it’s been crazy,” Dan Rojas, who captured the footage, told WKMG this week. “When you’re in here, there’s two, three hundred people here in this small space.”
“I think that the park should be closed,” he added.
Some Titusville residents who were at Parrish Park on the Indian River Easter Sunday express concerns about the large crowds. In response to #coronavirus, @BrevardCo_FL closed public parks at beaches last month. Parks on the lagon remain open. More on @news6wkmg at 4:30.
Florida, like many other states across the U.S., has advised residents to stay at home and venture outside only for trips to essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies.
Yet it has been up to the counties to decide whether the Sunshine State’s popular beaches and parks will remain open for visitors.
Beaches in Brevard County – where Titusville is located — have been kept open, but with restrictions such as no sunbathing or gatherings of more than 10 people.
Every day and in every community, the coronavirus pandemic is bringing out the best in Americans. Take a look at some inspiring images of Americans pulling together in a time of crisis.
Despite all playgrounds being closed, “parks and trails remain open”, according to the county.
In response to Rojas’ video, Brevard County’s communications director, Don Walker, said the county is hesitant to further restrict recreational spaces.
“We want people to be able to go and hang outdoors and not be stuck in the house all day, but the problem is, we also are pushing the CDC recommendations of 6 feet social distancing, of avoiding mass gatherings,” he told WKMG.
As of Friday, the state of Florida has 23,340 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 668 deaths, statistics show. Johns Hopkins University says 192 of those cases and six of those deaths have been in Brevard County.
FOX NEWS | by Greg Norman |Video WKMG News 6 | April 17, 2020
Heads up, consumers: When running the essential errand that is grocery shopping during the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., there’s no need to wipe down the food packaging after you’ve returned home, according to a federal agency.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to quell Americans’ fears that their food packaging may be contaminated with the novel coronavirus, as recent studies have suggested it can live on certain surfaces between hours and days.
But in a statement posted to its website on Thursday, the FDA said: “We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.”
“This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food,” it added, noting there are currently no nationwide shortages of food, though some stores may be out of certain products. (Speaking of, what drives people to panic buy?)
The FDA also provided tips on how to protect yourself, other shoppers and store employees when buying essential items. For instance, it advised to:
Prepare a grocery list in advance
Wear a face mask or covering while in the store (this is in line with recently updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] guidelines, and is now mandatory in hot spots like New York)
Practice social distancing while shopping, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away from others
Thoroughly wash your hands after returning home and again after putting the groceries away
“Again, there is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. However, if you wish, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry, as an extra precaution,” the FDA added.
The tribe has vast botanical knowledge and uses about 500 plants for food, medicine and building houses. Tribespeople provide for themselves by hunting, gathering and fishing, as well as cultivating crops such as manioc (cassava or yuca) and bananas, which are grown in large gardens cleared from the forest.
Brazil currently has 18,397 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 974 deaths, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Peter Hotez discusses if it’s possible for mosquitoes to transfer coronavirus and if seasonality has anything to do with virus spread.
Mosquitoes are a common summer-time foe that are known vectors of the West Nile Virus, Zika, Chikungunya and several other diseases that sicken humans, but what about the novel coronavirus?
As the weather warms and many move their stay-at-home orders to their backyard, the question of whether you can contract COVID-19 through a mosquito bite continues to surface.
There are several types of human coronaviruses, including MERS and SARS, which each caused deadly outbreaks of their own. COVID-19, however, has never been seen before, and is caused by SARS-CoV-2. As a whole, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and can affect different species of animals, but rarely can an animal coronavirus infect a human and then spread between people. However, such instances were seen with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and has also now been documented with COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2.
And recently, researchers confirmed that humans spread the virus to tigers at the Bronx Zoo. There have also been reports outside of the U.S. involving pets – particularly cats – becoming infected after close contact with contagious people.
Typically, the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. However, it’s also possible to be spread when an infected person’s droplets are transferred to a surface, and an uninfected person then touches the contaminated surface and then transfers it to their face.
This raises the question then, of if a mosquito bites an infected person, and then lands on an uninfected person, can the disease be transferred?
“There are no reports of any spread of coronavirus to humans by mosquitoes,” Dr. Mary Schmidt, infectious disease and internal medicine specialist, told Fox News. “If this was a route of transmission, we would have seen it in the Middle East, where the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) caused by the coronavirus has been present for 6 years.”
Schmidt referenced a study that revealed that if mosquitoes were fed a blood meal of the coronavirus MERS, it was detected for up to one day in the insect. However, for this to become a threat to humans, a series of particular events would need to occur.
“In order for this to happen in real life, the mosquitoes would have to acquire the virus during feeding, the virus then undergoes replication in the gut tissue, disseminates to the secondary sites of replication, including the salivary glands, and is ultimately released into the arthropod’s salivary secretions, where it may be inoculated into the skin and cutaneous vasculature of the host (human) during subsequent feeding,” Schmidt said.
Given those findings, Schmidt said that mosquitoes should continue to be monitored. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has also said that it will continue to monitor the situation in conjunction with public health officials.
In early March, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted by mosquitoes.
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.
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.
SAFETY AT ULTRA
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.
“Drivers either see bedbugs, someone complained, or they were suspicious of a customer and just want to make sure”
FOXBUSINESS | by Cortney Moore | February 26, 2020
If you partake in ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft, you may run the risk of entering a vehicle that has carried a passenger with a bedbug problem, according to one Dallas-based exterminator.
“I probably do five to 10 rideshare cars per week,” Don Brooks, owner of Doffdon Pest Control, told Dallas news station WAA. “Drivers either see bedbugs, someone complained, or they were suspicious of a customer and just want to make sure.”
A bedbug infestation doesn’t always mean a lack of hygiene either. The bugs can easily crawl from one unsuspecting passenger to another without the owner of the vehicle even noticing, Brooks said. He also noted that bedbugs can live over a year without feeding on blood, so an untreated situation can quickly become disastrous for companies that provide millions of rides per day.
One method Brooks uses involves heating a tent to nearly 150 degrees. Drivers usually leave their cars in the tent for a few hours at a cost of $250, he said, though, he also offers a cheaper solution with liquid pesticides.
On a national level, the average cost estimate for bedbug extermination ranges between $320 and $400, according to a recent report from Thumbtack, an online local marketplace for professional services.
“If you feel suspicious, just throw your clothes in the dryer for 50 minutes on high heat. Then it’s best to hop in the shower,” Brooks said.
Dallas-Forth Worth is one of the most bedbug-infested cities in the nation, according to Terminex. Only New York City and Philadelphia have topped the Texas city’s high numbers.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Islanders residing in developments operated by the New York City Housing Authority filed nearly 2,000 bedbug and roach complaints in the first nine months of last year.
NYCHA data obtained by the Legal Aid Society shows nearly 60,000 such complaints across the city in the same time period. On average, those complaints were closed within 10 days — something the Legal Aid Society’s Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit Judith Goldiner pointed to as good news.
“The high number of work orders filed by NYCHA residents to remediate insect infestation within their homes is indeed troubling,” she said. “But it is telling that NYCHA has been able to fully close the majority of these complaints without significant delay. This is a clear byproduct of more staff on the ground and resources.”
To continue addressing the issue and others facing NYCHA tenants, Goldiner called for more funding for the authority, particularly on the state level.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/South Brooklyn) has advocated for tenants with both city and federal officials. In March, she was accompanied by the regional director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lynn Patton, for a tour of the New Lane Area and South Beach NYCHA developments.
“In the 2018-2019 State Budget, we invested $250 million to improve conditions at NYCHA including mold, lead, bug infestation,” Malliotakis wrote in an email Monday. “The real question is what is NYCHA doing with the money because we can’t keep throwing more money into a blackhole.”
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) echoed Malliotakis’ concerns about NYCHA management. Neither elected official said whether they would heed the call for more state funding to the housing authority.
“My colleagues and I, year after year, led the charge for increased funding for NYCHA,” Savino said. “This is a continuous management problem — just like with mold and faulty pipes. NYCHA needs to take these quality of life and health issues more seriously.”
Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) said he believes the insect infestations are “emblematic of decades-old challenges facing the housing complexes.”
“While I am encouraged that NYCHA has decreased the time it takes to address these infestations, I will continue to support increased funding and accountability for NYCHA in Albany,” he said.
Up until Sept. 4, Staten Islanders residing in NYCHA developments filed 1,839 complaints, and had average wait times of about eight days. Of those complaints, 143 were for bedbugs, according to the data.
The 693-apartment Stapleton Houses, the borough’s largest development, had the most complaints logged with 504, 15 of which were for bedbugs, according to the data shared by the Legal Aid Society. Geraldine Parker, the president of the Stapleton Houses Tenant Association, declined comment.
Both the Cassidy-Lafayette and South Beach NYCHA developments had high levels of bedbug complaints. Of the 119 complaints at Cassidy-Lafayette, 40 were for bedbugs. Of the 188 complaints at South Beach, 35 were for bedbugs.
The remainder of the borough’s NYCHA developments had the following numbers:
Berry — 169 complaints, 9 for bedbugs
Mariners Harbor — 176 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
New Lane Area — 102 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
Richmond Terrace — 187 complaints, one for bedbugs
Todt Hill — 189 complaints, 10 for bedbugs
West Brighton I & II — 205 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) said he would consider increased state funding, but that NYCHA would first need to prove that management of its facilities is “on the right track.”
A NYCHA spokeswoman said their internal numbers show improvements to closed bedbug and roach work orders, and the time it takes to close bedbug orders, something she attributed to its new Integrated Pest Management system.
However, that system has also contributed to the increased wait time for roach complaints. Visits take longer, but result in fewer complaints due to increased prevention efforts, according to NYCHA.
Instead of simply spraying for roaches, exterminators are taking more care at developments by looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming. Bedbug wait times were not affected by these changes, because NYCHA treats them and rats as emergencies.
“NYCHA is working closely with the Federal Monitor on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and a Pest Action Plan, as per the January 2019 agreement,” NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Leah Goldblatt said.
“NYCHA lacked the resources to adequately address many issues in its aging housing portfolio, including pests, due to years of federal disinvestment.”
In January 2019, the city reached a deal with HUD that allowed the department to install a monitor overseeing NYCHA’s management and required the city to make an additional investment of $2 billion over five years.
City estimates have put NYCHA’s capital need just over $30 billion.
Assemblyman Charles Fall (D-North Shore) said financial support is needed from all levels of government.
“No one wants their mother, brother, or child living in the horrendous conditions that are described by NYCHA residents; nor should we as elected officials want this for our constituents,” Fall said.
“Furthermore, we must ensure that NYCHA is held accountable; meaning all funds must be allocated sensibly and utilized to dramatically transform the shameful living conditions residents continue to describe.”
MIAMI, FL — It’s the two words no homeowners want to hear: bed bugs. Orkin, the pest control and protection service, recently released its annual rankings of the 50 most bed bug-treated cities in the nation, and Miami finished in 32nd place.It’s good/bad news for our city as Miami improved from its 35th ranking on last year’s list. Tampa ranked 34th and Orlando ranked 36th.
The rankings were based on metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from Dec. 1, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2019. Both residential and commercial treatments were included.
For the last three years, Baltimore was the No. 1 city in the nation for bed bugs; but its nearby neighbor, Washington, D.C., took the top spot in 2020.
Here are the top 10 cities overall:
“While bed bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases to humans, they can be an elusive threat to households,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist who was referenced in a press release for the rankings. “They are excellent hitchhikers, and they reproduce quickly, which make it nearly impossible to prevent bed bugs.”
A description for the blood-sucking bugs on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website sounds like something from a Stephen King novel: “parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.”
The reddish-brown bugs are typically 4 to 5 millimeters in length, or the size of Abraham Lincoln’s head on a penny. The creatures are also known for multiplying incredibly quickly, as females can deposit one to five eggs a day in the right conditions.
Orkin provides a range of tips to prevent bed bugs from inhabiting your home.
Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check the places where bed bugs hide during the day, including mattress tags and seams, and behind baseboards, headboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.
Decrease clutter around your home to make it easier to spot bed bugs on your own or during professional inspections.
Inspect your residence regularly — when you move in, after a trip, when a service worker visits or after guests stay overnight.
Examine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home. This is a common way for bed bugs to be introduced into homes.
Wash and dry your bed linens often, using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS|JAN 12, 2020 |by Michael Gartland
The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy crawler complaints with 981 — 877 of which were for roaches. (New York Daily News Illustration)
Welcome to Bed Bug City.
Over the last two years, New York City Housing Authority residents filed approximately 200,000 complaints pleading for relief from bedbug and roach infestations, NYCHA data shows.
The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy complaints over the first nine months of 2019 with 1,000 — 894 of which were for roaches.
The Pomonok Houses in Queens had the highest number of bedbug work orders during that period at 156. The Wagner Houses and Grant Houses didn’t trail far behind with 129 and 106 bedbug jobs for each complex respectively.
The statistics on roach and bedbug complaints between Jan. and Sept. 2019 came through a Freedom of Information request filed with NYCHA by the Legal Aid Society, which shared the data with the Daily News. The agency also shared data on insect complaints from 2018.
Tyrone Bell, tenant association president at the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem, said people haven’t complained to him about bedbugs, but he wasn’t surprised that his complex had the 5th highest number of gripes, given other issues there like rats, mold and faulty elevators.
“There are plenty of problems,” he said. “This development needs a lot of work.”
Judith Goldiner, Legal Aid’s attorney-in-charge of civil law reform, described the number of infestation work orders as “troubling,” and cited it as just another reason she and others are calling on Albany to put $2 billion in additional funding toward NYCHA.
The bug numbers were not all bad news though, according to Goldiner.
On average it took NYCHA about nine days to fully address the complaints — a detail she views as a good sign.
“This is a clear byproduct of more staff on the ground and resources,” she explained. “With the legislature now in session, we again call for increased funding for public housing authorities to address these problems and others facing tenants.”
A NYCHA spokeswoman pointed to a downward trend over the last two years when it comes to critter complaints, noting that the authority has hired 20 new exterminators over the last year.
Bedbug beefs dipped from 12,220 in 2018 to 10,343 in 2019; and closed work orders for roaches dipped from 87,400 in 2018 to 84,516 last year. The time it took, on average, to address bedbugs also went down from 13.3 days in 2018 to 9.7 days in 2019, but roach complaints took slightly longer in 2019, about a day more on average.
“Our trends show an improvement in closed bedbug and roach work orders,” said NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Goldblatt. She noted that the longer times for roach remediation stem from NYCHA’s new Integrated Pest Management system, which places an emphasis on more than band-aid solutions.
Instead of spraying for roaches, exterminators are looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming,” she said. “The bedbugs weren’t affected by the above trend because we treat them like an emergency and try to schedule them as soon as possible. This was updated in our system in July 2019, making rats and bedbugs a higher priority.”
The advocates’ ask for more state cash — at the beginning of this Albany legislative session — is part of a broader push to increase NYCHA funding. Tenant advocates are also demanding a $1 billion increase in NYCHA funding in the city budget and a $6 billion increase on the federal level.
Fiscal hawks describe such outlays as ill-advised given NYCHA’s track record of wasteful spending.
“NYCHA hasn’t been fundamentally reformed,” said E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy.
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D- Brooklyn) agreed, but only so much. He said NYCHA deserves blame for past fiscal mismanagement, but added that it doesn’t mean government should continue to underfund it.
He pointed out that $2 billion is just a fraction of the more than $30 billion NYCHA now needs.
A Louisiana couple is suing Disney, claiming they took home some unwanted souvenirs — bedbugs — that infested their home and traumatized their autistic son during their stay at the All-Star Movies Resort last year.
Ashley and Robert LaCombe filed the lawsuit that was transferred into Orlando federal court this week. The suit seeks more than $75,000 in damages.
A Disney spokeswoman did not comment specifically on the allegations other than the company would respond appropriately in court.
Ashley LaCombe, a commercial Realtor, and her husband, who runs a welding business, said they were on a five-day vacation in April 2018 when they began feeling itchy and red.
After they returned to their home in a parish north of New Orleans, they realized they had been bitten by “numerous” bedbugs, the lawsuit said.
The bedbugs bit them hundreds of times, leaving scars, said their New Orleans attorney Jennifer Greene.
The lawsuit says they ed Disney, and employees confirmed there were bedbugs in their hotel, a value resort near the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
“The bedbugs from the Disney Hotel traveled with the LaCombes on their luggage, clothing, and personal belongings, infesting their home in Louisiana,” the lawsuit said.
The LaCombes accused Disney of not disclosing there was a problem with bedbugs and not keeping the hotel free of infestations, according to the lawsuit first filed last year in U.S. District Court’s eastern Louisiana division.
The couple said they hired an exterminator to kill the bugs at their home, which forced them to find another place to stay. They threw away infected furniture and belongings and the couple also had to take time off work to deal with the situation. The stress also hurt their 5-year-old child, who has autism, the lawsuit said.
“The LaCombes experienced and continue to experience additional mental anguish and stress as they cannot enjoy their home,” according to the lawsuit. “Family members and friends cannot visit due to the risk of acquiring the bedbug infestation.”
The bugs are still a problem and returned even after the home has been fumigated, Greene said.
“It’s unfortunate for a family to deal with after going to the happiest place on Earth,” Greene said