The coronavirus is surging in Florida, and so far 3,840 people have died. That's roughly 1.8 percent of the total 213,786 confirmed cases. Last month, 17-year-old Carsyn Davis died from COVID-19 complications. She was a cancer survivor with an autoimmune disorder, so she suffered from those trivial “comorbidities" that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows dismissed when he said Monday the "risks [from COVID-19] are extremely low and the president's right with that."

Even before Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted the state's stay-at-home order, he'd permitted people to gather in churches, because he'd confused the coronavirus with vampires. Davis attended a church event in June with about 100 other people. No one wore masks or socially distanced themselves.

Three days later, she started showing symptoms — sinus pressure, a mild cough, and a headache. Her parents, who I hope are eventually named "the defendants," assumed she just had a sinus infection and left her to walk it off for nine days. This is 2020. We're well past "putting Robitussin on it."


Carsyn's mother, Carole Brunton Davis, is a nurse, and her stepfather is a physician's assistant. The couple treated her at home with doses of azithromycin, which isn't proven to do shit, and goddamn hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that Donald Trump pitched in April on his late-night infomercial posing as a coronavirus briefing.

The Food and Drug Administration warned on April 24 that “hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19." Without proper supervision, the drug could cause "serious and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm problems."

It turns out you do in in fact have a lot to lose if you take a random, unprescribed pharmaceutical. It might seem less risky than wearing a cloth mask, but trust us on this.

Carole Brunton Davis's Facebook feed is reportedly filled with QAnon conspiracy theories and assorted gibberish. She should not be professionally nursing.

Facebook

Davis's parents also gave her oxygen with her grandfather's portable machine. I'm not going to question what people keep around their house, but once your daughter can no longer breathe unassisted, you really need to take her to a hospital with actual, real-live doctors.

She was finally admitted to a hospital on June 19. The doctors recommended intubation, but her parents refused the procedure because they are monsters or idiots or monsters who are idiots. They relented three days later, but Davis died the next day.

Data scientist Rebekah Jones oversaw the Florida Department of Health's COVID-19 dashboard, but she lost her job in May as the state began to reopen. Yeah, why should anyone continue to keep track of this stuff? Jones continues tracking virus data through Florida COVID Action. This is how she came upon the medical examiner's report on Davis.

JONES: I started looking into her mother, the church where the COVID party was held with more than 100 children, her health history, and who she was and I felt so angry and sad that this happened.

Davis belonged to the Fort Myers' First Assembly of God, and the church reportedly advertised a “party" on Facebook. The First Assembly of God denies the gathering was overtly a "COVID-19 party," as some have claimed. However, the Facebook post that advertised the event was deleted this week. Screenshots of the post show that it was promoted as "release party" with a DJ, karaoke, and basketball. (Those are three things I don't enjoy hosted at a place I try to avoid.)

First Assembly of God released a statement claiming the church is "following all health protections and protocols recommended by the state and local government" during events. This is bullshit because Florida has no statewide mask mandate or regulations regarding social distancing. If church leaders are sincere or at all troubled that a member of their congregation died, they should advocate strongly for both.

Carsyn Davis was let down by her family, her church, and her elected officials who've turned a public health crisis into a partisan struggle. She beat cancer but couldn't survive the coronavirus, which has so many willing accomplices.

[Newsweek / Tampa Bay Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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