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Monday, May 16, 2022

Coronavirus fears could cast pall over VP’s event in The Villages

Kay Marino of the Village of Silver Lake isn’t holding back. She said Vice President Mike Pence’s Saturday visit to The Villages is a “dumb idea.”

The vice president is scheduled to appear at 3:30 p.m. at Brownwood Paddock Square.

The gates for the event will open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets were made available online and those with tickets must be in the staging area prior to 3 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Barnstorm Theater.

The stage was set up Friday ahead of the vice president’s appearance Saturday.

Marino said she doesn’t have any desire to be in that crowd.

“Just because he tests negative doesn’t mean he can’t pass the virus around to other people. He has been exposed with many other people in the White House. People better smarten up to this virus. How dumb can you be?” Marino said.

President Trump is recovering from the Coronavirus and is eager to get back on the campaign trail. Pence continues to say he’s been testing negative, but a red eye on debate night earlier this week stoked fears that he is secretly carrying the Coronavirus.    

In Florida, more than 720,000 residents have been infected since late February. 

Chairs for the Mike Pence event were being set up with social distancing in mind.

Florida Democrats have been critical of Pence’s role as head of the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Task Force. The Democrats have assembled this timeline of Pence and Coronavirus in Florida:

February 28: 0 confirmed COVID cases

Days after being named head of the coronavirus task force, Floridians were charged $25,000-per-plate to dine with the Vice President for a high dollar fundraiser in Longboat Key, Florida.

May 20: 47,471 confirmed COVID cases

Pence visited Orlando to partake in a premature victory lap with DeSantis, during which they held a maskless photo op in Orlando. During this visit, Pence declared that Florida had “flattened the curve” and DeSantis claimed he had “succeeded.” Dr. Fauci later said Florida “jumped over a couple of checkpoints” and reopened too soon. 

May 30: 55,000 confirmed COVID cases

Pence attended the Space X Demo 2 Launch and his only reference to the Coronavirus was that the nation was taking its “first steps to reopen and recover from an unprecedented pandemic.”

July 2: 169,106 confirmed COVID cases

As the state broke records for daily increases in confirmed COVID cases, Pence visited Tampa to stump for Trump after cancelling a “Great American Comeback” bus tour across Florida. 

Pence promised that “We’re going to make sure that Florida has the resources, the medicines, the testing, and the supplies to meet this moment.” Not even two weeks later, South Florida hospitals reported supply shortages and three months later, hospitals continued to experience supply shortages. 

July 8: 223,783 confirmed COVID cases

At a White House Coronavirus task force briefing, Pence again claimed that there were “early indications” that Florida was flattening the curve, despite the positivity rate continuing to rise. His remarks were later denounced as “obvious propaganda” by the head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. 

July 11: 254,511 confirmed COVID cases

Pence flouted a local mask mandate for a private meeting with the Jacksonville RNC Host Committee. He did this as cases in Duval County began spiking and several Northeast Florida hospitals reinstated visitation restrictions.

July 27: 432,747 confirmed COVID cases

In Miami, Pence touted the “the favorable trends that are beginning to emerge here in Florida are a great tribute to the strong leadership of your governor and his administration…” The positivity rate at the time was 11.39 percent

August 5: 500,000 confirmed COVID cases

As Florida announced a record-high weekly death average and added the highest number of coronavirus hospitalizations in a single day, Pence again returned for a crowded indoor campaign event where, according to the Tampa Bay Times, “as the event progressed inside the ballroom some attendees removed masks to speak to each other.”

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