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measles

Ten Cases of Measles Confirmed in Florida Elementary School Outbreak

On Tuesday, the Broward County schools superintendent announced that seven children at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston, Florida, have tested positive for measles. According to the Florida Department of Health, ten cases have been reported statewide.

Lawmakers and health officials are urging parents and state officials nationwide to take extra precautions to safeguard their children.

In a letter last week, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said the health department is “deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance.” The letter also stated that “up to 90% of individuals without immunity will contract measles if exposed.” However, “Individuals with a history of prior infection or vaccination who have received the full series of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) immunization are 98% protected and are unlikely to contract measles.”

“Because your child may have already been exposed, you should watch your child for signs and symptoms of the disease, including a rash that often develops on the face and neck before spreading to the rest of the body. Other symptoms include high fever, which can reach 105°F, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. All children presenting with symptoms of illness should not attend school until symptoms have fully subsided without medication.”

According to the most recent data from the Florida Department of Health, nine out of the state’s measles cases have been reported in Broward County, and all of those cases have involved children. Two of the children are younger than four years old.

The Florida Department of Health released a memo to healthcare workers, reminding them to report any suspected cases.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) lists measles as one of the world’s most contagious diseases, which spreads through respiratory droplets. The virus remains active and infectious in the air and surfaces for up to two hours.

“Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads easily when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. It can cause severe disease, complications, and even death. Measles can affect anyone but is most common in children. Measles infects the respiratory tract and then spreads throughout the body. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and a rash all over the body.”

Its complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection causing brain swelling), severe diarrhea, ear infections, and pneumonia. “Measles itself also weakens the immune system and can make the body ‘forget’ how to protect itself against infections, leaving children extremely vulnerable.”

The organization also recommends that all children get the measles, mumps, and rubella MMR vaccine. Due to widespread vaccination efforts, the United States had eliminated measles in 2000. It is unclear what the vaccination status was for the children under four.

US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, who represents the city of Weston, urged Florida Surgeon General Ladapo to declare a public health emergency and make it a requirement that unvaccinated children stay home during the outbreak.

In contrast to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, Ladapo’s advisory suggests that parents of unvaccinated children make their own decisions about whether or not to send them to school. The CDC advises unvaccinated individuals to remain home for at least 21 days after exposure, around the time it takes for symptoms to manifest.

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In addition to demanding that DeSantis do more to protect Floridians, Wasserman Schultz demanded that Ladapo resign or be fired.

“I would have thought he would have stepped in here or made sure there was some communication to ensure that irresponsible guidance isn’t issued by his surgeon general. And the fact that he hasn’t taken action to roll that back is representative of Ron DeSantis’s disinterest in keeping the public’s health safe.”

On Monday, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Chief Medical Officer Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, issued a statement responding to the outbreaks.

“Measles can be particularly serious for children and potentially deadly. At least 1 in 5 unvaccinated people in the United States who contract measles is hospitalized. Nearly 1 out of 20 children develop pneumonia, the most frequent cause of measles-related death in young children. Approximately 1 child out of every 1,000 with measles will suffer brain injury, potentially causing convulsions, deafness, or intellectual disability. For unvaccinated babies who contract measles, 1 in 600 can develop a fatal neurological complication.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but is still the most easily transmitted human virus presently in circulation. Thankfully, by following established public health principles, Americans can make informed decisions, prevent outbreaks, and protect our communities.

Vaccination is the best and safest way to protect children. Two doses of measles vaccine are more than 97% effective in preventing the disease entirely, and vaccinated people may continue to engage in routine activities even if they are exposed to someone with the disease.”

A total of 58 cases were reported last year, and 35 measles cases have already been reported in several states this year. With just 91.7% of Florida’s kindergartners vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, the state is falling short of the national 95% vaccination rate target.

measles

Measles Outbreak In Florida Has Health Officials And Parents Concerned 

As of Monday this week, health officials in Broward County, Florida have confirmed eight cases of the measles virus, including one in a child under the age of 5.

The outbreak has mainly been traced to the Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, near Fort Lauderdale, which the 5-year-old patient doesn’t have a direct connection to. However, experts knew that with a virus like this, spreading to various age-groups in different areas is almost guaranteed, according to reports from NBC News.

According to Dr. David Kimberlin, the co-director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “cases are not going to stay contained just to that one school, not when a virus is this infectious.”

So far in 2024, there have been at least 35 cases of the measles reported across 15 states, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Florida’s outbreak is the biggest in the US. 

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Experts are warning parents about just how contagious measles is, especially with its long incubation period. Health officials are warning residents to take it seriously, and that State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo’s decision to let parents decide whether or not to quarantine their children or continue to allow them to go to school, will likely allow cases to spread. 

“Measles is the most infectious pathogen in humans that we know of. It’s like a heat-seeking missile. It will find the people who are not immune, and they’re going to get sick.”

NBC News also reported that unvaccinated individuals have a 90% chance of becoming infected if exposed to the measles virus. Katelyn Ketelina tracks illnesses for a website called “Your Local Epidemiologist,” and she stated that “Epidemiology 101 is identify and isolate. This is especially true for outbreaks of measles because of how incredibly contagious the virus is and the fact that people who are infected can spread it for up to three weeks.”

Dr. Ladapo wrote a letter sent to parents at the elementary school last week, stating: “Due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school, DOH is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance.” 

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Back in 2022, Ohio experienced its own measles outbreak where 85 children, mainly unvaccinated toddlers, were infected. 42% of those children had to be hospitalized, and when the outbreak began, Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts took a different approach to advising parents.

Roberts encouraged parents of unvaccinated children who became infected to have their kids receive one dose of the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine as a “form of post-exposure prophylaxis.” Kids who received the treatment would only need to quarantine for 72 hours, as opposed to the 21-day quarantine requirement for those who remained unvaccinated. 

The MMR vaccine offers 97% protection against infection. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 measles patients are hospitalized, and 1 in 3 out of every 1,000 patients will die. 

“More and more people are questioning vaccines and why people need vaccines. They’re gonna find out pretty soon,” said Dr. Kimberlin. 

sale

What’s Happening With Governor DeSantis’ Ban On Chinese Homeownership In Florida?

In May, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bipartisan law, SB 264, which banned certain Chinese nationals from buying property within the state as a means of avoiding “the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party in the state of Florida.” 

According to reports from NBC, a group of Chinese immigrants that are backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and additional civil rights groups, have been working to invalidate the new law, and the Justice Department even backed their effort in an official court filing this summer. The Justice Department stated that the law is unconstitutional, however, a judge ruled against that challenge back in August and settled with an appeal. 

Many workers within the real estate industry have stated their disdain for the law, claiming that it’s ambiguous and is fueling a major risk for discrimination against Chinese buyers. According to the law, sellers who violate the restrictions knowingly could face up to $1,000 in fines and one year in prison while Chinese nationals who buy property in Florida face up to 5 years in prison and even higher fines. 

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Khalid Muneer of the Greater Orlando chapter of the Asian American Realtors Association recently spoke to the media regarding the discriminations and difficulties this law created. 

“Are we supposed to be FBI agents investigating people and asking them all kinds of questions?”

A veteran Florida real estate agent, Frank Lin, told the media that his business has been cut in half due to the fact that he has to turn down clients to comply with the law. 

Additionally, Chinese nationals who already own property in Florida “are required by the new law to register with the state’s Commerce Department, but they don’t even have a form yet or place or website, so that’s confusing everyone. Failure to register by 2024 could trigger fines of up to $1,000 a day,” Lin said

According to a Florida Commerce Department spokesperson, “a hearing is set for this week over a proposed rule on the registration requirement, the agency is dedicated to implementing SB 264 as outlined in law.” 

Muneer spoke further on the discriminations that this law has created and the potential hostility it could create. 

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“If somebody comes in and is Asian-looking, you’re automatically going to start asking questions about where you’re from, which never used to happen.”

Many Asian American community members are viewing the Florida law as resembling xenophobic “alien land laws” of the early 20th century, which were later deemed unconstitutional. 

The restrictions of the law cover both commercial and residential properties and apply to all Chinese nationals who aren’t US citizens or permanent residents and/or already owning property in China. 

“If somebody comes in and is Asian-looking, you’re automatically going to start asking questions about where you’re from, which never used to happen,” said Khalid Muneer, founder of Jupiter Properties in Central Florida and president of the Greater Orlando chapter of the Asian American Realtors Association.

“Is this racism? Is this stereotyping? We are very well aware of the fact that we can have issues. We can be accused of discrimination. Some of [my] associates with heavily Chinese or Venezuelan clientele have seen a major, major drop in business,” Muneer said.

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In recent months, some of the realtors are afraid to deal with [Chinese nationals] because they are looking at getting prosecuted for ‘not doing their job.’ But then again, are we supposed to be FBI agents investigating people and asking them all kinds of questions?” Muneer continued

“The law is upending peoples’ lives.”

Florida in general receives about 23% of all foreign buyers throughout the US, the highest percentage of any state, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

NBC reported that five percent of Florida’s closed sales were to foreign buyers, according to a separate report from Florida Realtors. However, the bulk of Florida’s foreign buyers are Latin American, at 46%, and Canadian, at 24%. Among Chinese buyers, California is the most popular destination, drawing 33% of Chinese buyers to Florida’s 16%.”

“When you get a situation like this, where your main cash buyers are not allowed to buy, it does start hurting the market as well as sales agents who will depend on those sales for their living,” Muneer stated. 

Gregory Burge, an economist, said “ownership bans like Florida’s don’t make a lot of sense from an economic standpoint. Top talent coming from these nations would certainly involve families wanting to retain their citizenship in their home countries, and then facing the barrier of buying in Florida under the new law,” he said. “That could act as a negative factor for slowing economic growth.”

hurricaine

Hurricane Idalia Continues Tracks Through Southeastern Georgia After Pummeling Florida

Hurricane Idalia has already made history in some parts of Florida after making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph on Wednesday. It is the strongest hurricane to hit Florida’s Big Bend Area in over 125 years.

In 1896, an unnamed Category 3 hurricane struck the state’s gulf coast at sustained winds of 125 mph. Since then, no hurricane of Idalia’s strength has hit the region.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee issued two extreme wind warnings on Wednesday morning. The warnings are only issued when winds exceeding 115 mph are expected in the area, and there have only been 27 such warnings for extremely high winds in the contiguous United States prior to Hurricane Idalia. Most of these advisories were issued in Florida.

While moving over the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, Hurricane Idalia experienced a period of rapid intensification, drawing its energy from the heightened sea surface temperatures.

Any increase in wind speeds by more than 35 mph within 24 hours is classified as rapid intensification, and Hurricane Idalia’s winds strengthened by 55 mph over 24 hours.

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Scientists have long been concerned about warming ocean waters due to climate change. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and Southern Florida reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this summer.

On Wednesday, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell said in a White House briefing that storms have become more frequent and severe due to global warming.

“These storms are intensifying so fast that our local emergency management officials have less time to warn and evacuate and get people to safety.”

Recent measurements show that the surface waters in Idalia’s path had reached nearly 88 degrees Fahrenheit, an all-time high since the early 1980s.

A rare blue supermoon will likely make the storm worse, with its gravitational pull causing tides to rise further. Brian Haines, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service office in Charleston, South Carolina, told The Associated Press, “I would say the timing is pretty bad for this one.”

The supermoon is expected to exacerbate flooding not only in Florida but also in states such as Georgia and South Carolina. Some parts of Charleston, South Carolina, could be underwater by Wednesday night.

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According to CNN, on Wednesday morning, Idalia’s storm surge was record-breaking from Tampa to The Big Bend region, with surges of more than 8 feet in Cedar Key, Florida, around 6.8 feet above their normal tides. The measurement surpassed the previous high water level of 5.99 feet from Hurricane Hermine in 2016. Wednesday morning’s high tide in Tampa Bay was 4.5 feet, topping the 3.79-foot mark set by Tropical Storm Eta in 2020.

At 4.05 feet, the tide at Clearwater Beach was higher than it had been since the 1993 Storm of the Century, which had been recorded at 4.02 feet. The Steinhatchee River in Steinhatchee, Florida, saw a 9-foot rise in water levels in just two hours.

As of 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday,  Hurricane Idalia has weakened to a Category 1 hurricane as it barrels through Southeastern Georgia, moving at 20 mph with maximum sustained winds of around 75 mph. It still remains an active threat to the Southeast.

FEMA Administrator Criswell also told reporters President Biden contacted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis “to let him know that the federal family continues to be there to support him.”

“The president reiterated that if anything is needed from the federal government, we will be able to support; and we have over 1,000 personnel currently deployed, prepared to support not just Florida, but all of our states that are in the path as needed.”

cdc

Cases of Leprosy Spike in Central Florida

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an increase in leprosy cases across Central Florida. Growing evidence suggests that the region has become an “endemic location for leprosy,” accounting for one-fifth of all cases nationwide.

The report released by the CDC states the most recent data shows there were 159 new cases of leprosy across the country in 2020, significantly lower than the 216 reported in 2019. However, the number of cases in Southeastern United States has more than doubled over the last decade.

“Central Florida, in particular, accounted for 81% of cases reported in Florida and almost one-fifth of nationally reported cases. Whereas leprosy in the United States previously affected persons who had immigrated from leprosy-endemic areas, ≈34% of new case-patients during 2015–2020 appeared to have locally acquired the disease.”

According to the federal Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), most new cases have been found in Florida, California, Louisiana, Hawaii, New York and Texas. However, a travel advisory for Central Florida is included in the report due to a disproportional uptick in cases in the region. In the last year alone, the Florida Department of Health reported 19 cases.

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“Travel to this area, even in the absence of other risk factors, should prompt consideration of leprosy in the appropriate clinical context. By increasing local physician efforts to report incidence and supporting further research to assess routes of transmission, a congruent effort can be made to identify and reduce spread of the disease.”

The HRSA states, “95% of the human population is not susceptible to infection with M. leprae, the bacteria that causes Hansen’s disease (leprosy).” Treatment with antibiotic drugs is very effective in combating the disease, but an early diagnosis is critical.

Without treatment, leprosy can damage nerves and lead to permanent disabilities, but early treatment can prevent this. In the absence of nerve involvement, the HRSA states leprosy would only present as a “minor skin disease.”

Leprosy is spread through droplets “from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.” The CDC states that though uncommon, leprosy can also be contracted via contact between humans and armadillos.

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“In the Southern United States, some armadillos are naturally infected with the bacteria that cause Hansen’s disease in people, and it may be possible that they can spread it to people. However, the risk is very low, and most people who come into contact with armadillos are unlikely to get Hansen’s disease.”

Still, the HRSA advises that armadillos are “wild animals and should be treated as such, with all the proper precautions.” In the report, the CDC cited a recent case of a 54-year-old man who contracted the disease in Central Florida. The man “denied any domestic or foreign travel, exposure to armadillos, prolonged contact with immigrants from leprosy-endemic countries, or connections with someone known to have leprosy.”

He is described as having resided in Florida his entire life, working in landscaping and spending long periods of time outdoors.

“The absence of traditional risk factors in many recent cases of leprosy in Florida, coupled with the high proportion of residents, like our patient, who spend a great deal of time outdoors, supports the investigation into environmental reservoirs as a potential source of transmission.”

trump

Donald Trump And Supporters Attempting To Undermine Criminal Charges Ahead of Federal Court Appearance This Week

Donald Trump and his allies are taking extra steps to undermine the criminal charges made against him as the former president prepares for his history-making federal court appearance where he’s facing dozens of felony charges for illegally hoarding classified information.

naacp

NAACP Issues Advisory Warning Black Americans And People Of Color Not To Travel To Florida

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson recently spoke with CNN to defend the organization’s decision to issue an official travel advisory to Florida for Black Americans and people of color. 

“The governor has perfected the art of pulling stunts to gain campaign contributions. Unfortunately, this will impact people’s lives,” Johnson said, referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

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“We should not use race or othering as a tool to weaponize against people and unfortunately for a large percentage of Floridians, that’s what he has done. Therefore, we are advising African Americans and others that if you travel to Florida, beware that your life is not valued.”

This past Saturday, the NAACP released a statement saying that Governor DeSantis has been on a quest to “silence” Black Americans, and has made it clear that they’re not welcome in the state. “[The state] devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”

“Due to this sustained, blatant, relentless and systemic attack on democracy and civil rights, the NAACP hereby issues a travel advisory to African Americans, and other people of color regarding the hostility towards African Americans in Florida,” the group stated. 

Within the past year alone, DeSantis has signed a multitude of legislative measures that many have argued is discriminatory, and anti-Black. He signed the “Stop WOKE Act,” meant to restrict how schools and workplace address race, has been a major advocate against critical race theory; an academic framework that looks at US history with the understanding of racism and its roots in the nation. 

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DeSantis also banned an Advanced Placement African American studies pilot program from being implemented in schools, and just recently prohibited colleges and universities from using public funding on programs involving diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Johnson stated that DeSantis is “minimizing the quality of education and issuing policies that are harmful to far too many individuals.”

“We are witnessing firsthand how he’s governing, and he’s governing to a small vocal minority of the community, not the majority interest of Florida. Nor is he governing towards a future of Florida, which will not not look like the small minority that he’s speaking to at this moment.”

The governor was recently questioned regarding this specific travel advisory before it was implemented. 

“This is part of the reason why our country, it goes through all these —  we get involved in these stupid fights. This is a stunt to try to do that, a pure stunt, and fine, if you want to waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine. But I’m not wasting my time on your stunts,” the governor said.

covid

New Study Reveals Details Of Lingering Covid-19 Symptoms After Infection 

A recent study published in Nature Communications has given a larger understanding over lingering Covid-19 symptoms experienced by people who contracted the virus. The study utilized electronic health records from the National Institutes of Health’s RECOVER Initiative. 

The study was led by Dr. Rainu Kaushal, the chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine and physician-in-chief of population health sciences at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The study gave a deeper insight into the reasoning behind lingering Covid-19 symptoms after one experiences an acute infection. 

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The study also analyzed the likelihood of these symptoms and how they differ throughout various populations and demographics throughout the United States. 

“Long COVID is a new disease that is very complicated and quite difficult to characterize. It affects multiple organs and presents a severe burden to society, making it urgent that we define this disease and determine how well that definition applies among different populations. This paper provides the basis for furthering research on long COVID,” said Dr. Chengxi Zang, an instructor in population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine and lead author on the paper. 

The team utilized multiple research outlets to make their conclusions, including health records from two clinical research networks within the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. One set of data included information from 11 million New York-based patients, and another network that was utilized included 16.8 million patients from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. 

The research conclusions the team came to showed there was a large list of diagnoses that occurred more frequently in individuals who had Covid-19 compared to those who didn’t. In New York City specifically, the researchers found that residents who had Covid experienced more types of symptoms and were at a higher risk of long Covid. 

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Between New York City and Florida, populations had specific conditions including dementia, hair loss, sores in the stomach, fatigue, and blood clots in the lung. 

“Our approach, which uses machine learning with electronic health records, provides a data-driven way to define long COVID and determine how generalizable our definition of the disease is,” Dr. Zang said. 

“Some of the differences between the results from the two populations might be explained by the fact that New York City had a more diverse patient population, endured one of the first waves of the pandemic and faced the lack of personal protective equipment such as masks, compared with Florida,” Dr. Zang said.

“In this new research, we examined a broad list of potential long COVID conditions one by one. These findings can help us better recognize the broad involvement of multiple organ systems in long COVID, and design appropriate plans for patient management and treatment development,” said Dr. Fei Wang, co-senior author of the study.

tsa

Gun Found Stuffed Inside a Raw Chicken at Florida TSA Checkpoint

A Florida air passenger attempted to smuggle a gun onto a flight using a raw chicken on Monday. Transportation Security Administration officers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport caught the firearm at one of its checkpoints, wrapped in thin paper packaging inside a Kikiri Quirch brand baking hen. 

The passenger had stashed the chicken in his carry-on and was headed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, according to Sari Koshetz, a TSA spokesperson for the Gulf region. 

The official TSA Instagram account shared a post on Monday containing a photo of the raw chicken being examined inside the security area alongside the gun. It was captioned, “there’s a personal fowl here…”

“The plot chickens as we barrel our way closer to Thanksgiving. For us, it’s a time to be thankful that our officers are always working around the cluck to keep you safe. Take for instance this ‘hen you believe it?’ find at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. We hate to beak it to you here, but stuffing a firearm in your holiday bird for travel is just a baste of time. This idea wasn’t even half-baked; it was raw, greasy, and obviously unsupervised. The only roast happening here is this poor packing choice! Feather you like it or not, there are rules for traveling with guns and ammunition. So, don’t wing it; roost over the proper packaging info through the link in our bio.”

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Passengers are permitted to transport fresh meat and seafood in their carry-ons if they follow special instructions provided by the TSA. People who want to travel with guns and ammunition must pack the firearms unloaded in locked, hard-shell containers within their checked bags. They must also declare the items at the airport ticket counter.

“You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.”

A criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is ongoing. Nestor Iglesias, a spokesperson for Homeland Security Investigations, told CNN he could not provide additional details since the incident is a “criminal case which has been accepted for prosecution.”

This is not the first time a passenger has attempted to conceal prohibited items using unconventional methods. According to CBS News, a “meth burrito” was confiscated in Houston last year. 

In 2022, passengers cumulatively brought more than 700 guns to TSA checkpoints at Florida state airports, a higher number of guns than any previous year. Twelve airports set records, according to a TSA news release

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“The largest number of guns TSA officers have had to intercept were: 129 guns at Orlando International Airport (MCO), 120 guns at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), 102 guns at Tampa International (TPA), 83 guns at Miami International (MIA), 58 guns at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), 37 guns at Southwest Florida International (RSW), 28 at Palm Beach International (PBI), and 24 at Pensacola International (PNS).”

Koshetz said that “every passenger bears the responsibility of knowing exactly where their gun is before entering the security checkpoint” since “an accidental discharge could result in tragedy.”

“Don’t let bringing a gun to a federal checkpoint be the reason you cannot answer ‘no’ to the question often asked on job applications: have you ever been arrested? As we enter the busiest holiday travel period, remember if you are going to travel with your gun, it must be in your checked bag, but be sure you know what the gun laws are on each side of your trip or you may be heading to jail instead of to your family gathering. Guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.”

Passengers who violate TSA rules could face civil penalties of up to $13,910, even if they are not arrested by law enforcement. 

Koshetz told USA Today that it was unclear whether the passenger’s gun was loaded. 

hurricaine

Hurricane Ian Barrels Toward South Carolina, Leaving Destruction in Its Wake

After pummeling Florida, Hurricane Ian has its sights set on South Carolina. The death toll from Ian, which made landfall as a category four hurricane in Florida, has now risen to 21. Authorities still have to confirm that the deaths were related to the storm.

Ian downgraded to a tropical storm before strengthening into a category one hurricane on its trajectory toward South Carolina. Meteorologists expect Ian to make landfall again in South Carolina today before moving northeast toward North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia Friday night through Saturday morning. It will be the first hurricane to hit South Carolina since Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

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Florida is still assessing the damage of Hurricane Ian, mostly from flooding. Early estimates say that the damage could cost up to $40 billion. Florida’s former emergency management chief told NYTimes, “Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island look like they will need to be 80% rebuilt.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said it would be a yearslong recovery.

President Joe Biden said it could prove to be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. Over two and a half million residents who were in the hurricane’s path are without power. Many are left with uninhabitable homes or do not have access to water, such as in Lee County, where a water main line broke.

“My message to the people of Florida and to the country in times like this: America comes together. We’re gonna pull together as one team, as one America. First thing this morning as I talked to Gov. DeSantis and again offered the fullest federal support.”

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said that Floridians affected by Ian need to rely on their own supplies for food and water for the next day or so. The government advises residents to save enough food and water for seven days before a significant storm. From days 3 to 5 after the storm, the National Guard and local community distribution will serve water and dry food. Hot food distribution will follow shortly after.

Governor DeSantis said 700 rescues had been conducted so far by air. Before the storm hit, the state government asked residents planning to shelter in place to fill out a survey to allow officials to have demographic information.

“Some of the damage was almost indescribable. I would say the most significant damage that I saw was on Fort Myers Beach. Some of the homes were wiped out, some of it was just concrete slabs.”

In 2013, during his time in the House of Representatives, DeSantis was against federal aid for the New York region after the damage of Hurricane Sandy. Now, he is asking for governmental assistance to help his state. He told Tucker Carlson, “when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything — if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.”

At the time, DeSantis and Ted Yoho were the only House members to oppose the assistance package for Hurricane Sandy.

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President Biden said that the government would provide uninsured people in Florida an assistance of $37,900 for home repairs and another $37,900 for property loss. In Thursday’s speech, President Biden thanked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their prompt response.

“I’ve seen you in action all across the country from the West Coast of the Northwest and the Northeast, down in Louisiana, all across this country. And just in the last two weeks, you’ve been working 24/7. No matter what, when emergencies happen, FEMA is always there. You deserve the nation’s gratitude and full support.”

South Carolina is already feeling the effects of Hurricane Ian, with 10,000 residents without power. In anticipation of Ian’s arrival, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia declared a state of emergency. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Ian will likely not strengthen beyond a category one hurricane as it approaches South Carolina, sustaining wind speeds of 85 mph.