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Today on the Phoenix: Rights & liberties or dangers?

By Diane Rado


Florida Phoenix

What’s going on with the COVID-19 pandemic? A lot.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has decided to use his sweeping authority, in the form of an executive order, to get rid of COVID pandemic restrictions in communities across Florida starting July 1 -- a way of protecting Floridians' "rights and liberties."

Face masks would no longer be necessary and rigid restrictions on social recreational gatherings would be gone, among other measures.

But health care workers and others say it would be dangerous to suspend such restrictions, as COVID continues to infect and kill people.

In a story Monday morning, the Florida Phoenix looks closely at the data that can help Floridians understand what’s happening on the COVID front:

As of May 8, Florida has posted 2,224,148 COVID infections of residents, 35,700 resident deaths, and 92,023 hospitalizations, according to the state health department data.

In addition, Florida has 10,333 so-called variant cases – mutated strains that have been spreading across the country, causing a rising number of deaths. Those variants emerged from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, California, and other key areas where variants are considered of concern. Florida has the highest number of variant cases in the nation.

Floridians should be aware of these variants – even if they are vaccinated. The Phoenix story on Monday lists every county that has variants and the number of variant cases in each county.

Please read:

DeSantis touts 'rights and liberties' and ditching COVID restrictions; health experts say that's dangerous

Please read a compelling column about the horrific stories of Black women mistreated during the childbirth process.

Columnist Jarvis DeBerry is the editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, an affiliate of the nonprofit States Newsroom that includes the Florida Phoenix.

He writes that “In the U.S., neither a Black woman’s money, education or status serves as protection from mistreatment in labor and delivery. Financially secure Black women with Ivy League degrees have to worry just like those with less money and education if doctors or nurses will do (or not do) something that costs them their lives or their babies’ lives.”

Nothing but racism explains Black women’s higher rate of horrible birth stories

More lawsuits are cropping up as a result of measures approved by the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature:

Federal lawsuit against FL’s new riot/protest law expands; protesters proceed with caution

In other Phoenix news:

Restricting abortion access fizzled in the 2021 Legislature; reproductive rights advocates expect future battles

Flags flown at half-staff for the late Justice Joseph W. Hatchett

From our Washington, D.C. bureau:

Hinson, Scalise support ouster of Liz Cheney from U.S. House GOP leadership

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