- Corey Hannon, a New York man, went viral after he posted on social media that he went to Fire Island beach despite believing he had recently contracted COVID-19.
- While Hannon apologized, Fire Island and other beaches around the country were still packed with many tourists and locals over the Fourth of July weekend.
- Many fear that could now lead to a spike in cases and most states have already been seeing their daily number of cases climb over the last few weeks.
Fire Island: Corey Hannon Viral Video
Spring Breakers and Memorial Day beachgoers sparked frustration earlier this year for flocking to the shores in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, celebrations over the Fourth of July weekend have prompted similar outrage.
One of the weekend’s most audacious beachgoers facing a slew of backlash online is Corey Hannon: a 27-year-old man who traveled to Fire Island Pines, New York less than two weeks after suspecting he had COVID-19.
Hannon went viral on social media Saturday after he posted a photo to his Instagram story that read: “I wanna Kiki but my body says, nope not yet… thought the COVID was gone.”
Hannon’s photo then began to circulate on social media, where he soon caught criticism for potentially exposing others to COVID-19 in the name of going to the beach.
“They really need to charge people like this with something. Knowingly going out like that is ridiculous,” one person tweeted.
The online eventually picked up so much traction that Hannon seemingly posted a response on Instagram later in the day.
“You know, I did have COVID,” he said. “Everyone knows I had COVID, and you know what I did? I sat in my fucking bedroom and quarantined myself for eight fucking days and suffered through COVID. And now I’m out celebrating, so go fuck yourself. I hope all of you get fucking COVID. You nasty, nasty trolls.”
While that video was only up for about 10 minutes according to Hannon, it was screen-recorded and shared by multiple people.
“8 WHOLE DAYS?!” one Twitter user sarcastically said. “Why, no one in the world has ever stayed home that long! What a hero! What a tower of strength! People will share the story of the man who stayed home for 8 days during a pandemic for generations to come.”
8 WHOLE DAYS?! Why, no one in the world has ever stayed home that long! What a hero! What a tower of strength! People will share the story of the man who stayed home for 8 days during a pandemic for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/bojVzwFlMO— Lovethisjourneyforus (@southerngalsgde) July 5, 2020
In a Facebook video on Sunday, Hannon apologized for his actions, saying that he would “never maliciously go out and infect people.”
“I am not a murderer. I’m not a bad person,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and I think I’ve paid the price for them. I apologize if you think I’m a bad person because of this.”
In that post, Hannon explained his timeline with the virus, saying he started feeling ill on June 22. On June 30, he got tested for COVID-19. He then stayed in his apartment until July 3rd. The next day, the Fourth of July, he went to Fire Island—12 days after he became symptomatic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control: “You can be with others after: 3 days with no fever and Respiratory symptoms have improved and 10 days since symptoms first appeared.”
The CDC also has lengthy considerations for when and how to visit beaches.
In his Facebook video, Hannon apologized for even going to Fire Island in the first place and potentially infecting people.
He said he deleted his original video about 10 minutes after it was posted because he meant to send it to a friend instead of his story. He also said that his test result still hasn’t come back yet, so he hasn’t actually tested positive for COVID-19.
Nonetheless, Hannon said he believes it was COVID-19 and that he should have stayed in.
Fire Island Fourth of July Party
While Hannon attracted most of the attention over the weekend, it wasn’t just him. In fact, on Saturday, Fire Island was packed.
“Fuck Your mask,” Fire Island beachgoer Giancarlo Kristian Albanese said on Instagram. “Fuck your social distancing. Fuck your vaccine.”
Police were also called to the beach twice on Saturday over reports of people not social distancing and not wearing masks, however, police said they did not issue any citations. Monday morning the Island Pines Property Owners Association told local news outlets that police have agreed to shut down any beach party going forward.
“Please y’all, as things continue to open up / spiral out of control 😅 be responsible with yourself,” Queer Eye hair stylist Jonathan Van Ness said on Instagram Sunday. “If you’re partying, you are risking every single last one of our health.”
“Since black and brown people are dying at much higher rates your refusal to wear masks in crowded spaces is literally racist,” he added. “Have a good Sunday.”
As many have pointed out, the Fire Island incident took place in New York, a state that at one point, had one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. Because of that, many worry Fourth of July parties will lead to another spike in a couple of weeks.
That’s on top of county officials planning to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 on Wednesday. That move will open up colleges and non-essential businesses such as aquariums, though, it will still keep things like malls, gyms and movie theaters closed.
Other Beaches Packed
In fact, while this weekend was a very different Fourth of July for many, that didn’t stop others from traveling to beaches.
In Virginia Beach, people still showed up in droves, even after the city cancelled its fireworks show to “help keep Virginia Beach safe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.”
At Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, similar crowds of people not wearing masks were reported. That’s despite the city amending its mask policy ahead of the weekend to include boardwalks and the sand.
On the west coast in California, people took to the beach in San Diego, even though many other beaches in Southern California were closed over the weekend as COVID cases in California continue to climb. On Sunday alone, the state recorded almost 11,800 cases.
Florida clocked in just behind that with 11,500 cases. Across the whole of the United States, Sunday yielded more than 49,000 new cases. Though that didn’t break Thursday’s single-day record of 54,000 total U.S. cases. According to The New York Times, the number of COVID cases being recorded each day has been and still is climbing in most states.
See what others are saying: (PIX 11) (Fox 5 New York) (Long Island News 12)
Florida Cracks Down on “Vaccine Tourism”
- Florida is now requiring that people show proof of either full-time or part-time residency in the state in order to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The state has been hit with “vaccine tourism” as many people, predominantly wealthy individuals, fly to the state from other parts of the U.S. and abroad just to get the shot.
- So far, nearly 41,000 of the 1.3 million doses administered in Florida went to out-of-staters, though it is unclear if all those people were tourists or if this figure includes some part-time residents.
Florida Requires Proof of Residency
Florida is cracking down on “vaccine tourism” and requiring that people show proof of either full-time or part-time residency in the state in order to get a COVID-19 shot.
Previously the state was allowing anyone 65 and older, including non-residents, to get the vaccine. This resulted in people flying to the Sunshine State from across the U.S. and abroad just for the purpose of receiving it.
According to state data, nearly 41,000 of the 1.3 million doses Florida has administered have gone to out-of-staters. It is unclear if all these out-of-staters are tourists or if this figure includes some part-time residents.
Now, people must show a form of identification like a driver’s license or mortgage payment to receive it. Exceptions will be made for healthcare workers.
Vaccine Supply Continues to Be Limited
Wealthy people in particular were quick to schedule travel plans to Florida for this reason. According to the Wall Street Journal, there was an influx of Canadians booking private jets to Florida. Some were looking to book flights there and back on the same day, leaving just enough time for them to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, people in Florida and across the country are waiting in long lines and struggling to book appointments on glitching websites to get their shots. Vaccine supply continues to be incredibly limited and not everyone in high-risk groups have received them.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said this rule is not made to impact snowbirds, people who live in Florida during the winter to escape cold weather up north.
“They go to doctors here or whatever, that’s fine, DeSantis said, according to CNN. “What we don’t want is tourists, foreigners. We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line.”
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (CNN) (Travel + Leisure)
Amanda Gorman Wows the Nation With “The Hill We Climb”
- Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, impressed the nation when she read “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration, making her the youngest inaugural poet in the nation’s history.
- Gorman’s said the Jan. 6 attack on the nation’s Capitol inspired her to focus on a message of hope, community, and healing in her poem.
- Big names like Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Barack Obama, and Lin-Manuel Miranda have all praised her work.
Amanda Gorman Becomes Youngest Inaugural Poet
Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman wowed the nation on Wednesday as she spoke of healing, unity, hope, and what it means to be American while reading her poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
At 22-years-old Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in the nation’s history. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she was the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles in 2014 at the age of 16. She then became the first national youth poet laureate in 2017.
Now, her books are topping Amazon’s Best Sellers list and they are not even scheduled to be released until the fall.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden became a fan of Gorman after watching her give a reading at the Library of Congress. She then suggested that Gorman be a part of the ceremony.
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped That even as we tired, we tried,” Gorman recited during inauguration. “That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.”
Like President Biden, Gorman has struggled with a speech impediment and has been open about her experience overcoming it. She actually used poetry as a tool to correct it. First, she used it as a way of expressing herself without having to speak. Then she used it to bring her poems to life.
“Once I arrived at the point in my life in high school, where I said, ‘you know what? Writing my poems on the page isn’t enough for me,” she told CBS News. “I have to give them breath, and life, I have to perform them as I am.’ That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”
What Inspired “The Hill We Climb”
Gorman said the inaugural committee gave her freedom and flexibility when it came to choosing what to write about. She was well on her way before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Those events then influenced her writing.
“It energized me even more to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope, community and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
That message came across clearly and the insurrection was depicted in part of “The Hill We Climb.”
“It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy and this effort very nearly succeeded,” she said. “But while democracy can be periodically delayed it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future history has its eyes on us.”
Nation Impressed by Gorman
“Wow…Wow, I just, wow you’re awesome,” Cooper said when closing his interview with her. “I am so transfixed.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda also cheered Gorman on. “The Hill We Climb” notably references a line of scripture that appears in a “Hamilton” song. Gorman also said she used to sing the song “Aaron Burr, Sir” to help her say her R sounds and correct her speech impediment.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise!” Oprah Winfrey wrote. “Brava Brava Amanda Gorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I.”
Winfrey also gave Gorman a ring with a caged bird on it—a reference to the famous Angelou poem— which Gorman wore during the inauguration.
Actor Mark Ruffalo joined the onslaught of praise, saying that her words will lead the nation.
Former President Barack Obama echoed that idea as well, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Gorman promised to run for president one day.
See what others are saying: (CBS News) (New York Times) (Los Angeles Times)
SAT Drops Subject Tests and Optional Essay Section
- The College Board will discontinue SAT subject tests effective immediately and will scrap the optional essay section in June.
- The organization cited the coronavirus pandemic as part of the reason for accelerating these changes.
- Regarding subject tests, the College Board said the other half of the decision rested on the fact that Advanced Placement tests are now more accessible to low-income students and students of color, making subject tests unnecessary.
- It also said it plans to launch a digital version of the SAT in the near future, despite failing to implement such a plan last year after a previous announcement.
College Board Ends Subject Tests and Optional Essay
College Board announced Tuesday that it will scrap the SAT’s optional essay section, as well as subject tests.
Officials at the organization cited the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the reason for these changes, saying is has “accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to simplify our work and reduce demands on students.”
The decision was also made in part because Advanced Placement tests, which College Board also administers, are now available to more low-income students and students of color. Thus, College Board has said this makes SAT subject tests unnecessary.
While subject tests will be phased out for international students, they have been discontinued effective immediately in the U.S.
Regarding the optional essay, College Board said high school students are now able to express their writing skills in a variety of ways, a factor which has made the essay section less necessary.
With several exceptions, it will be discontinued in June.
The Board Will Implement an Online SAT Test
In its announcement, College Board also said it plans to launch a revised version of the SAT that’s aimed at making it “more flexible” and “streamlined” for students to take the test online.
In April 2020, College Board announced it would be launching a digital SAT test in the fall if schools didn’t reopen. The College Board then backtracked on its plans for a digital test in June, before many schools even decided they would remain closed.
According to College Board, technological challenges led to the decision to postpone that plan.
For now, no other details about the current plan have been released, though more are expected to be revealed in April.