Mayor of Miami says he’s willing to shut the city back down if he’s unable to contain the coronavirus surge with a mask mandate and new penalties

People wait in a queue to enter Island H2O Live! water park in the Orlando area over Memorial Day weekend.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump-aligned Republican, was slow to shut his state down to contain the coronavirus and quick to reopen it.
Florida’s coronavirus cases are now skyrocketing and the state is a new national epicenter of the pandemic.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told Business Insider that he hopes the governor follows his lead in implementing a mandate to wear masks in public places.
And he warned that he’s prepared to shut his city down again if hospitals reach a critical state.
The mayor said the rapidly rising rate of infection among young people is in part due to widespread noncompliance with social distancing orders.
He said Trump’s refusal to wear a mask has “without a doubt” undermined his efforts.
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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is saying “I told you so” to Florida’s conservative governor.

Back in March, while Suarez was quarantined at home with an asymptomatic case of the coronavirus, he warned that his city could become the next New York, which was then the national epicenter of the pandemic.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was slow to issue a state-wide lockdown, which he finally did on April 1 amid significant pressure. The lockdown only lasted for about a month, and DeSantis said his state had proven more “draconian” social distancing policies were unnecessary to contain the spread.

“Everyone in the media was saying Florida would be like New York or Italy and that has not happened,” DeSantis said at an event with President Donald Trump in late April.

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Trump called DeSantis’ pandemic response “spectacular.”

But earlier this month, Florida’s coronavirus cases began skyrocketing, and the state is now a national epicenter.

On Saturday, Florida recorded 9,585 new cases. The state’s daily infections have seen a five-fold increase over the last two weeks, The New York Times reported Sunday. And the percentage of positive tests has tripled since May — clear evidence of a surging infection rate.

Suarez told Business Insider in a Monday interview that the spike in Florida’s cases resulted from the state’s early reopening and widespread noncompliance with social distancing recommendations. He argued that his more cautious approach to reopening has helped Miami’s infection rate grow more slowly than elsewhere in the state.

“People thought this was over,” said Suarez, a registered Republican. “I can’t speak for all Floridians, but … I was the last city to open in Florida and I got criticized for it and I think now people see the wisdom in our more conservative approach.”

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist at Florida International University who is advising both Suarez and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on their pandemic responses, told Business Insider that DeSantis has “facilitated” the resurgence of the virus in his state.

“[DeSantis] chose to think of the virus as not being as serious as the economic problem,” Marty said in a Tuesday interview. “His actions speak very loudly that he did not realize that not taking the virus seriously will invariably lead to a worse economic fallout …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

      

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