World Leaking wastewater reservoir threatens Florida community, ocean
Florida's Median Age for COVID-19 Infections Drops to 35 as Spring Break Rolls On
State public health data released on March 1 revealed that half of Florida's COVID-19 cases were found in people under the age of 39—but that median age has now fallen to 35. Health care workers across the state say that several infectious mutations of the virus have been found, including the so-called "British strain," which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered among 1,042 people. The CDC noted Monday that Florida does not publish real-time information regarding coronavirus variants and that most data reflect a vast under-count of cases.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was due Sunday to visit the site of a leaking toxic wastewater reservoir, threatening nearby homes and an environmental disaster in the sensitive Tampa Bay.
DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday to free up additional funds to tackle the potential crisis at Piney Point in the Tampa Bay area, where a plastic liner at the reservoir holding hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic and slightly radioactive water has sprung a leak.
Authorities are working to plug the hole and pumping water to ease the pressure in the pond, but have warned that dirty water could spill into the community.
Covid scare in Melbourne as seven suburbs are sent urgent health alert
A Covid scare in Melbourne's west has seen the Department of Health issue an urgent warning for residents in seven suburbs to remain on high alert for possible symptoms. Victoria chalked up 34 consecutive days with no new locally acquired cases on Thursday, but the alert was released after coronavirus fragments were detected in a wastewater sample collected from the Altona wastewater treatment plant.The positive sample - taken on March 26 - was confirmed on Thursday following intensive testing.
Manatee County officials ordered Saturday a "complete evacuation" of the area around the reservoir site due to "further collapse of the phosphogypsum stacks."
Phosphogypsum is a byproduct of fertilizer production and is considered weakly radioactive as it contains naturally occurring isotopes such as radon.
More than 300 homes are affected by the evacuation order.
Video: Wastewater leak prompts state of emergency for Tampa area (NBC News)
According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, authorities have already released millions of gallons of wastewater into the Tampa Bay, raising concerns the phosphate-rich discharge could fuel a "red tide," or algal bloom, that poses a grave threat to marine life and could deter tourist activity.
DeSantis tweeted he was headed to Manatee County on Sunday to meet with local officials regarding Piney Point.
"All residents impacted should heed local evacuation orders," he wrote.
Florida's agriculture commissioner, Nicole Fried, wrote to DeSantis saying the current emergency was only the latest in a difficult history at the facility.
"For more than 50 years, this Central Florida mining operation has caused numerous human health and environmental disasters and incidents," she wrote, adding there had been several earlier failures of the reservoir's lining.
Noami Watts to star in Goodnight Mommy remake .
Naomi Watts is to star in the Amazon Studios English-language remake of the psychological thriller 'Goodnight Mommy'.The 52-year-old actress will star in and executive produce the Amazon Studios take on the Austrian psychological thriller, which became a cult classic when it was released back in 2014.