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Coronavirus in Florida: Daily flights from New York area to Florida drop during the end of March


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is taking a closer look at the claim from Gov. Ron DeSantis that New Yorkers have been fleeing to Florida since their “stay-at-home” order went into effect.

Data obtained from FlightAware, the world’s largest flight tracking and data platform shows a decline during the latter part of March in the daily flights from the New York area to Tampa, Orlando, and South Florida.

“You don’t want to receive flights from places that are the number one hot zones,” Gov. DeSantis said during his Thursday afternoon press conference.

The governor doubled down on his claim that Florida had a surge in incoming flights from the New York area following the implementation of a stay-at-home order by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 20.

“You saw the flights go to, I mean they were 120, then 180, it got up to 200 direct flights a day into the state of Florida,” Gov. DeSantis said. “We have all the numbers on that.”

It is unclear the source of the governor’s number, but that is not what 8 On Your Side found when analyzing the flight logs from FlightAware.  

Up until March 20, Tampa International Airport averaged more than 20 inbound flights from the New York area’s three largest airports, John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International.

That number dropped to 12 on March 27 and went down to three on Wednesday April 1.

Looking at the bigger picture in Florida, 8 On Your Side found that 48 flights from the New York area arrived at Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale airports on March 27 compared to 137 a week earlier on March 20.

“How is it fair while you’re making all these sacrifices so it’s not spreading to just have more people coming in and potentially creating more seeds with the virus,” Gov. DeSantis said.

According to the latest report from the Florida Department of Health, less than six percent of the state’s more than 9,000 confirmed cases have New York or New Jersey listed as part of their travel detail.

The data from FlightAware does not include exactly how many people are on each flight.

FlightAware tracked 479 total inbound and outbound flights at TPA on Sunday, March 1. A month late, there was a nearly 65 percent decrease with only 206 flights landing and taking off from TPA on Wednesday, April 1.


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