Florida coronavirus scare proves you can’t rely on government for your safety and security

Gun owners know very well that we are our own First Responders.

If danger threatens, whether at home or on the street, and you wait for government to protect you, bad things are bound to happen.

After all, when seconds count, help is minutes away, if you’re lucky.

This point was driven home to me, again, Sunday night.

A letter (above) began circulating on social media in Sarasota. In fact, pardon the pun, it went viral.

The letter alleged there was a patient at a local hospital — Doctors Hospital — who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

We threw a team of reporters at it — trying to verify whether the letter was legitimate.

They emailed and called county health officials, county emergency managers, state health officials and the CDC.

None of the officials would admit on-the-record that there was even an actual case of coronavirus here in Sarasota, much less acknowledge where they had likely acquired the virus, or whom they had come into contact with during the incubation period.

Instead, officials said nothing — nothing.

From our story:

Asked about the letter Sunday, Monica Yadav, the director of marketing and public relations for Doctor’s Hospital, said she could not provide any information and referred inquiries to the Sarasota County Health Department.

A person with the Health Department’s after hours answering service said Sunday evening that the department is currently “not answering any questions on this.”

To be clear, bureaucrats at the hospital wouldn’t even confirm the legitimacy of their own letter.

One of our reporters then had to reach out to a state senator to verify the letter was real.

Sarasota state Sen. Joe Gruters said late Sunday that he spoke with someone at HCA Healthcare, which owns Doctors, and “asked is it real?”

“They said ‘yes,’” Gruters said.

Finally, at 9:39 pm Sunday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed what everyone was starting to suspect was true.

Desantis declared a public health emergency stating there were two Coronavirus patients — one from Manatee County and another from Hillsborough County — who tested “presumptively positive” for coronavirus.

Takeaways

Reporting about the coronavirus is difficult. You want to inform the public of the latest developments, but you don’t want to add to the growing hype and hysteria. (Purell hand sanitizer is either sold out at most stores or selling for 10-times its MSRP).

We should be able to trust the government agencies that are responsible for tracking and treating the virus, but Sunday night proved that isn’t possible, at least not yet.

All of the agencies involved, a local hospital, county health and emergency management agencies, the Florida Department of Heath and the CDC failed to tell the truth in a timely matter.

I hope they do better in the future. I don’t think the virus is going to go away anytime soon.

In the meantime, I have my own plans for taking care of myself and my family.

I hope you do too.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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