Tampa Bay area could become coronavirus hot spot, experts warn

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Just as society has started to ease up on restrictions from the coronavirus crisis, cases around Florida have shot up, according to state reports.

8 On Your Side spoke to two University of South Florida professors who had ominous warnings.

“The newest projections indicate that if we do not recognize the exposures that have happened over the past six or eight weeks alone that by the middle of July, Hillsborough County could have between 6,000 and 18,000 new cases a day,” USF professor Dr. Jay Wolfson said. “And that would certainly make it a hot spot.”

The dire words come as cases increase in the young adult age group, generally people 25 to 34.

“A lot of the young people are really tired of this and the young cohort are tired of this, and they’re back doing what they did before March, before we saw a shutdown,” USF’s Dr. Tom Unnasch said, referring to people going out and enjoying bars and restaurants.

8 On Your Side spoke to Tampa residents who have mixed opinions on the rise.

“You gotta think of all the oxygen we breathe, Ozone layers, we’re gonna get something eventually. Doesn’t matter,” said David Soler.

Others tend to focus on the science and warnings that come from leaders.

“We’ve opened up Florida and the cases are going straight up. They haven’t slowed down at all,” said Dave Hawthorne.

A check of the Department of Health website shows that Hillsborough County, plus three South Florida counties, have the most cases as of Tuesday morning, and could soon become hot spots in the state.

The professors are urging people to wear masks and keep their distance from others.

“The government can’t fix this. We don’t have a vaccine. We don’t have a treatment yet. We haven’t gotten herd immunity. The only thing that can protect us from this thing is ourselves and each other,” said Dr. Wolfson.

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