November 27, 2020 6:00am

Majority favor partial shutdown amidst coronavirus spike

Most Palm Beach County influencers who responded to a Palm Beach Post poll this month support partially shutting down businesses as the latest COVID-19 wave rages across the county and Florida.

Palm Beach Post Staff
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Most Palm Beach County influencers who responded to a Palm Beach Post poll this month support partially shutting down businesses as the latest COVID-19 wave rages across the county and Florida.

The Post’s monthly Palm Beach County Power Poll surveyed 405 local politicos, educators and civic leaders, receiving responses from 109 of them, 73 of whom said they would be receptive to limiting places such as bars and restaurants to operating at 25 percent capacity to slow the disease's spread.

State health officials have logged more than 100,000 new infections since Nov. 8. The total statewide tally stood Monday at 944,745. In Palm Beach County, 6,829 of the 62,278 cases — 11 percent — have been discovered in the same time frame.

Coronavirus updates: Hundreds wait hours for tests as cases spike again in Florida, Palm Beach County

"(Gov. Ron) DeSantis should declare a statewide mask mandate that is enforced, allow virtual meetings of local governments," said U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, a Democrat from West Palm Beach, adding he should "continue virtual option for schools set set to expire in January, allow local government to impose restrictions, and limit indoor capacity where appropriate."

DeSantis on Sept. 25 allowed all businesses in Florida to reopen. Since then, a growing share of people have discovered they're infected with the deadly respiratory disease. He has barred local officials from closing businesses.

About 7.9 percent of those getting COVID-19 tests in the two weeks leading up to Saturday discovered they had the disease. Health experts say a sustained positivity rate below 5 percent is a sign that the contagion is under control.

"A 'lockdown' at this point of the pandemic is unnecessary," Palm Beach Gardens Councilor Mark Marciano said. "However, the need to make masks mandatory and putting some restrictions on certain businesses is critical to keeping our infection rate low."

America's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said the nation can slow the spread of coronavirus and avoid a "lockdown" if people wear masks and stay a safe distance away from one another.

"The best opposite strategy to locking down is to intensify the public health measures short of locking down." Fauci said on Nov. 12 on the television show "Good Morning America."

Trump's election overturning effort

As outgoing President Donald Trump attempts to overturn the Nov. 3 election results that delivered a victory for his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, 85 of the Power Poll's 109 respondents said Trump should concede.

Of all respondents, 44 agreed that Biden is the clear winner; 41 said Trump has the right to contest the results, but with no evidence to support his claims of voter fraud, he should concede; and 24 said Trump has the right to challenge the results.

Trump's campaign has filed lawsuits since Election Day in key states Biden won — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania — to stop them from counting mail-in votes, which heavily favor Biden, and stop or delay those states from certifying their election results.

Those efforts have failed as judges dismiss the campaign's cases them or deny their requests, citing lack of evidence supporting its voter fraud claims.

Despite this, some Palm Beach County Republicans respondents echo Trump's thinking.

"The thought that Trump should prematurely concede is ludicrous on its face," former Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein said. "President Trump's fraud allegations will get their day in court."

Dinerstein said in last month's Power Poll that Biden would refuse to concede.

Palm Beach Post Power Poll: Most influencers trust system, even without winner on Election Night

"The danger posed to this country because of President Trump's failure to concede and the doubt he is creating in his followers' minds (who hang on his word as gospel and need no proof) about the integrity of our electoral system cannot be overemphasized," Palm Beach Gardens Councilor Rachelle Litt, a Democrat, said.

Fights broke out during mostly nonviolent demonstrations on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C., as hundreds of Trump supporters and counterdemonstrators clashed. Someone stabbed a man in his 20s. Baton-wielding Trump supporters fought anti-Trump protesters. Police arrested at least 20 people, including four on gun charges, The Washington Post reported.

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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