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Coronavirus in Florida latest: Youth activities resume, nursing home testing and data fights

The latest news about coronavirus for Saturday, May 23

Coronavirus cases in Florida grew closer to 50,000 on Friday, and the death total reached 2,268. The new cases came as researchers warned southern states, and Southeast Florida in particular, that reopening too soon could lead to a second wave of the virus with new spikes.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says all youth activities to resume

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said all the restrictions on youth activities, like sports and summer camps, will be lifted. The governor said he wouldn’t be imposing a lot of rules, and would instead trust parents to make smart decisions with their physicians.

DeSantis also argued that children are much less likely to get the virus, and that they do not spread it widely. Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say few children have had serious health problems from coronavirus, researchers say there needs to be more testing to understand how likely or unlikely children are to get COVID-19.

Outsted manager said she was told to manipulate COVID-19 data by health officials

A data manager who said she was fired from the Department of Health for insubordination after refusing to remove certain data from the website went further in her claims on Friday, saying a top Department of Health official told her to manipulate data.

Rebekah Jones said the Deputy Secretary for Health, Dr. Shamarial Roberson, told her to manipulate the data to mislead the public into supporting reopening mostly rural areas. Roberson denied the claim and said the department has not touched the data.

DeSantis said her being removed from the job was valid, and also brought up Jones’ charges of sexual cyberharassment and cyberstalking. Jones now only faces the stalking charge after the sexual cyberharassment charge was dropped.

Experts say widespread nursing home testing is needed, but DeSantis stalls

Experts, advocate and long-term care facility leaders agree: To stop the death toll in nursing homes from continuing to rise, there needs to be widespread testing. Though the CDC and the White House have recommended testing all nursing home residents and staff, DeSantis has said Florida doesn’t have the resources.

But different advocacy groups think it can happen, with the right money allocated.

Returning to public? Experts advise how to best stay safe

For people headed back to work, that may also mean heading back to tight elevators and busy bathrooms. Experts advise wearing a mask and keeping up good hand hygiene. Though they recommend carrying hand gel and frequent hand washing, they said the biggest concern is proximity to others and keeping a good distance.

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