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Alachua County DOH: Lockdowns don’t work

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 5:41 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Do lockdowns and tough restrictions work?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House COVID Task Force, is worried about cases going up if states loosen lockdown orders and lessen restrictions.

In a recent interview, Fauci said the decline of cases were encouraging, however, a plateau of around 70,000 new cases per day is “concerning.” He stressed individuals should comply with public health measures such as wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and social distancing.

Alachua County Department of Health Administrator Paul Myers was straightforward, he does not believe strict lockdowns work.

“When you compare Florida, who has pretty much opened up, to other states that have clamped down, the metrics are pretty similar,” Myers said. “What that tells me is that clampdowns don’t work. In fact, you know in public health we don’t have a very very narrow view of infections or the spreading of cases, you take a look at the bigger picture.”

RELATED STORY:DeSantis expands COVID vaccine access to those that are ‘extremely vulnerable’

Looking at daily case totals locally, Alachua County’s case numbers continue to trend downward in terms of this year’s peak in January. With the vaccine rollout becoming more available, the numbers continue to fall.

“Well I think our numbers here are very encouraging,” Myers said. “Particularly given when you compare them to what we were seeing in January and early February, where sometimes it didn’t surprise me if we were in the triple digits. Until recently, we have been below 50 cases per day and sometimes in the teens.”

Over the last week Gov. Ron DeSantis has opened up vaccine eligibility to those under 65 that are extremely vulnerable to the virus, while he has also added school employees, law enforcement officials and fire fighters that are 50 and older to the accepted list.

RELATED STORY:District, teacher union, pleased with Gov. DeSantis’ latest order approving COVID-19 vaccine for school employees

“As soon as we see the demand peter down from the seniors, then we obviously want to open it up to be able to get more focused so that’ll be at a minimum 60-plus,” DeSantis said.

As for those above 65-years old in the county, Myers says that about 70% of those individuals have been vaccinated. So, with all those already vaccinated, the demand has gone down.

“Those who want to get the vaccine, who are 65-plus, most of them have gotten it,” Myers said.

Myers thinks that those who spread the virus the most should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The next age group that we need to focus on is not so much on the consequences of COVID-19, which are the elderly, but basically those who are spreading it. That is those people in their thirties, forties and fifties,” said Myers.

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