Florida State Representative Randy Fine torched several local leaders in Brevard County on Facebook Wednesday, while answering questions from thousands of frustrated constituents about topics ranging from local beach ordinances to the state’s overwhelmed unemployment system. Fine also suggested that residents and local leaders needed to take the COVID-19 outbreak more seriously. The Melbourne Beach Republican also added another post Wednesday afternoon that explained the mathematics of COVID-19 and why he believes people should be more careful.
At press time, the video had garnered over 3,700 views and more than 500 comments from constituents.
“For whatever reason, some folks just aren’t taking this whole thing seriously,” Fine said early in his opening remarks. “Unfortunately, Brevard County is the only county on the east coast where our beaches are open to anybody…it’s a little bit crazy.”
Addressing frustrations with the state’s unemployment system, Fine urged constituents to be patient. He attributed the system’s failure to the fact that the website is overwhelmed with site visitors all trying to apply for unemployment at the same time.
“You’ve got a fire hydrant feeding into a straw,” he said. “We’re making the straw bigger, but no one could have anticipated this.”
After a question about who to blame for the overwhelmed unemployment website, Fine acknowledged that a lot of money had been spent and it’s “not okay” that it doesn’t work, but added that “even in the best circumstances, no one would have ever built a website for the situation we find ourselves in. We went from the lowest unemployment ever to the highest unemployment in a couple of weeks. No system would have worked.”
Fine spent a large portion of his time addressing COVID-19 and how his community is dealing with the situation.
“I worry that as the county [Brevard] that has done literally the least of any county on the east coast of Florida…I hope that we don’t become a hotspot,” Fine said. “I hope all these people who think it’s all a hoax are right…but I worry about what if they’re wrong.”
Fine also addressed a frustration that there’s no data on the number of people in Florida who have recovered from COVID-19.
“The reason for that is that DOH does not have a good definition on what ‘recovered’ means,” Fine explained, “but obviously, I’d be focused on new cases.”
Requests by The Capitolist for more information about the numbers of hospital discharges of COVID-19 patients from Florida’s Department of Health and Emergency Managers have gone unanswered for more than a week.
In addition to the 30-minute Q&A session on Facebook Live, Fine also posted again a few hours later, this time explaining in mathematical terms why people need to take COVID-19 more seriously:
I feel obligated with some of the debate in Brevard County to give a little straight talk. This isn’t political, and isn’t necessarily what some will want to hear. And it isn’t my opinion. It’s something I’m actually good at — math.
Last flu season, 34,000 Americans died of the flu. That works out to 93 a day. If we assume the flu is seasonal, lets assume it only kills people during six months of the year. That works out to a little less than 200 a day. And that is with us living life the way we always have — going to work, to school, to parties, etc. No social distancing.
Yesterday, just in New York, 779 people died of COVID-19. That’s not in America — that total YESTERDAY was more than 1800. And that is with us still moving up the curve and completely changing how we live with all of this social distancing. Imagine what it would be without those lifestyle changes!
So with this radical clampdown on our cities and country, four times as many people died in New York from coronavirus as die from the flu nationwide in one day where we take zero precautions. Folks, this ain’t the flu.
We are “lucky” in Brevard in that we have “only” had two deaths. But there was a time that was the case in New York as well. So tell me this — what is so special about Brevard County that we will somehow avoid this fate if we do not take appropriate precautions?
These are serious times, and they deserve serious leadership.
To watch the full video of Fine’s Facebook Live Q&A, click here.
Brian Burgess contributed to this story.