Should plans stay on course, Walt Disney World is currently on track to reopen the doors to its theme park business in under a month. After Florida reported record-high numbers of reported COVID-19 cases Saturday, one might think it's increasingly likely the House of Mouse will eventually consider postponing the reopening to help slow the spread of the virus.
Over the weekend, pictures have started circulating online of cases where Universal Orlando workers encouraged violating new social distancing procedures by telling park-goers to fill in any empty spaces while waiting for rides, a public relations nightmare one would think Disney will be sure to avoid whenever the park does reopen.
All of the social distancing markers near the load area at Hagrid’s are gone. There’s also a Team Member yelling “fill in all the available space”... pic.twitter.com/Idw7ZHibUD— Universal Parks News Today (@UniNewsToday) June 13, 2020
As it stands now, the reopening date for Disney World currently falls just four weeks away on July 11th. Though a lot can happen between now and then, our brief history with the pandemic tells us the caseload will likely continue to grow between now and then, creating a sticky situation for those companies that have a responsibility to help prevent further spread of the virus.
Florida was one of the first states to reopen its economy after being momentarily shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak and now, it's seeing record numbers of coronavirus cases reported. Saturday morning, the Florida Department of Health reported 2,581 new cases of COVID-19 had been reported in the past 24 hours, a new high for the state, surpassing the previous record – which was set this past Friday – by 679 cases. In fact, Saturday's new single-day state record for cases reported is the third straight day the state has set a new record.
The 73,552 cases the state has reported since the dawn of the pandemic are eighth-highest in the country, behind New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Even then, Florida's not the only state to see a meteoric rise in coronavirus cases since reopening. Since economies started to reopen last month, at least 21 states have reported drastic increases in their case reporting including California, the Carolinas, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, and Arizona, to name a few.
Over 117,000 Americans have been killed by COVID-19, three times as many people than those that die from the flu each year per CDC reporting.
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