Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Conspiracy Theorist In Boca, And High School Football
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on the pandemic and the Surfside tragedy. Plus, a QAnon member in Boca Raton and the return of high school football to South Florida.
On this Thursday, Aug. 26, episode of Sundial.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava
A surge of new coronavirus cases is pressuring Miami-Dade hospitals and nursing staff. As of Wednesday, there are more than 1,700 COVID patients currently being treated with close to 400 of them in intensive care units. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava explained the pandemic is one of the unvaccinated.
“The latest numbers [are a] 15 percent positivity rate and 90 percent of those in the hospital are with no vaccination," said Levine Cava. "The vaccine is the only thing that stops this thing. And we know the masking is important because we know with the delta variant, we can still spread it even when we are vaccinated."
She also noted the opening of a new monoclonal antibody treatment site in Tropical Park, which is available to those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. However, Levine Cava was clear that the treatment is not a replacement for the vaccine.
The mayor also discussed the county's ongoing response to the Surfside tragedy and a review of county buildings older than 40 years, that require recertification. The county will be convening congressional and state leaders, as well as county commissioners, Aug. 30 to discuss what greater scrutiny is needed of building safety.
QAnon in Boca Raton
One of the most prolific QAnon influencers spreading anti-Semitic comments and misinformation online lives in Boca Raton. The intelligence firm Logically released a report which explains how researchers were able to identify Robert Small as the individual behind the account GhostEzra. Members of QAnon have a history of espousing conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, vaccines and supporting racist ideologies.
Mike Rothschild is a journalist and author of the "The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult and Conspiracy Theory of Everything." Rothschild explained how figures like GhostEzra, who has more than 300,000 followers on Telegram, are able to gain a massive following.
“What he does is kind-of a unique combination of really blatant anti-Semitism, really out there conspiracy theorizing and really throwing out red meat to conspiracy-theorist believers. It’s this huge tent that offers something for almost everybody as long as they believe something on the fringe,” Rothschild said.
Rothschild argued that believers in QAnon conspiracy theories do not fall into any particular category and live across the country. The immediacy of misinformation on social media platforms and the nature of highly produced content has massively grown the audience of this material. He offered advice to those who have family members or friends that are spreading conspiracy theories online.
“You want to approach it from a place of caring. Letting that person know that they mean more to you than the conspiracy theory does to them. Try to get them offline if you can," said Rothschild. "We’ve seen if you can get someone online for just a day or two, it really does break the constant churn of conspiracy theories and paranoia."
High School Football
With the start of the new school year, the high school football season is set to get underway in South Florida beginning this weekend. Schools are planning for a full season despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and a number of games have already been postponed due to players and staff testing positive.
“Teams are allowing fans back in the stands but masks will be required at certain school games,” said Adam Lichtenstein, covers high school sports for the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Broward County.
You can find more details about this year’s high school football season and share your favorite memories of high school sports by heading to Sundial's Facebook page.