Coronavirus: Florida sheriff releases footage of people flouting social distancing rules at large street party

Official suggests young people are attending parties to deliberately catch Covid-19

Conrad Duncan
Sunday 19 July 2020 17:32
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Florida sheriffs release footage of huge street party

Police in Florida have released footage of a large street party which took place earlier this month, where attendees flouted social distancing guidance as coronavirus cases soared in the state.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said it had broken up several parties at vacation rental homes in recent days, despite public health guidance in the state advising people to avoid large gatherings.

In video footage taken from a police helicopter, party-goers were filmed dancing in the street at an event in Kissimmee, near Orlando, which ran into the early hours of the morning on 12 July.

Large gatherings at vacation homes have been banned due to the risk of spreading Covid-19 during the pandemic.

Florida has recorded nearly 338,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,002 deaths, as of Saturday evening.

“The people attending these parties have no regard for what the virus is, trying to stop the spread of the virus,” Major Jacob Ruiz, a police spokesperson, said.

“These parties seem to be happening more often even now since the state has reopened and things are trying to get back to normal they even care less about it.”

Russ Gibson, Osceola County’s sheriff, said earlier this week that more than 600 noise complaints had been filed in the area since March due to large parties.

Mr Gibson added that attendees appeared to be gathering at the events with the intention of spreading the virus among each other, suggesting young people did not think they could be at risk.

“'They're being referred to, from what I'm being told, as Covid-19 parties where they're actually getting together and they're trying to mingle to potentially spread the virus amongst each other if they're asymptomatic or whatever the case might be,” Mr Gibson told the local news website Click Orlando.

It came as Florida reported a further 10,000 confirmed cases on Saturday, with 90 additional deaths, and more than 9,000 patients in hospital with Covid-19.

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