Immokalee, Florida Emerges As Coronavirus Hotspot

Medical anthropology professor says the town, home to thousands of agricultural workers, could soon be the nation's largest hotspot for COVID-19 after positive infections increased more than tenfold in May. WBBH's Jennifer Kveglis reports.

(WBBH/NBC News) — Immokalee, Florida is in danger of turning into the nation’s biggest COVID-19 hotspot inside a single community, according a medical anthropology professor.

Dr. Seth Holmes, professor of medical anthropology at UC Berkeley, said has volunteered on the front lines of the pandemic in Immokalee for the past month. In that time, infections in the town have increased more than tenfold.

“I do think there are these warning signs that it is a hotspot, that there is an outbreak going on, and that it looks like it is particularly affecting farmworkers, who are essential workers that can’t shelter in place, and they live and work in crowded situations,” Dr. Holmes says.

Holmes is calling on the broader community to help provide masks and other resources to the workers.

Oscar Otizoy, a member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, says the worry is painted all over his fellow farmworker’s faces.

“It’s definitely something that has been affecting us here in the community. It’s something that we’ve seen increase greatly. It’s something that we knew was going to happen from weeks ago,” Otizoy says.

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