Miami Mayor Francis Suarez claims the city is breaking record after record of Covid-19 reports as Florida passes 200,000 cases.
Suarez said he’s hopeful that measures that are currently in place to curb the spread of the virus will prevent Miami specifically from needing to enact “even more dramatic restrictions in the coming weeks.” Florida has already seen such a surge in cases that health officials are predicting it to be the next epicenter for the virus to spread for a second wave.
Florida itself is seeing record-breaking new Covid-19 case numbers everyday. This past Saturday alone the state reported 11,458 new cases, breaking the previous day’s record, and the one before that. As of this past weekend, officials have reported that 1 in 5 coronavirus tests in the Miami region are positive. In fact, 43% of all the cases in Florida are in just three counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.
Suarez is worried about this exponential and continuous growth, noting that Miami was one of the last cities to reopen in Florida, leaving the Mayor susceptible to a lot of public backlash, and now he’s receiving just as much backlash from out of state residents for not remaining closed. Florida is unfortunately not alone in this either, as over half of the states in the US are reporting continuous growth in Covid-19 cases due to a multitude of premature reopenings.
“I was criticized for waiting so long, but there’s no doubt that when we reopened, people started socializing as if the virus didn’t exist.”
Miami closed it’s beaches for this past fourth of July weekend in hopes that it would encourage residents to stay home, now only time will tell if that actually made an impact for the county. Suarez also claims that government officials are closely monitoring hospitalization and death rates as they believe the numbers haven’t fully matched the severity of the situation.
Before the initial stay-at-home order Miami itself was seeing around 35 new cases a day. Once the order was enforced, the number dropped down to 14, now, the city is seeing around 91 new coronavirus cases every day.
The beach closings, requiring masks to be worn in all public settings, and increasing penalties for businesses/individuals refusing to abide by these regulations will hopefully begin to curve that spread again. However, basic health and safety measures have been known nationwide since the beginning of this pandemic, so citizens aren’t as convinced Florida residents, along with every other reopened state’s residents, are going to start listening now. Enforcing these regulations is where the real difference will occur, according to Suarez.
“On the mask requirement, the city hasn’t done massive amounts of enforcement, but if people are wearing the masks in public, there’s a very good chance that we’re going to be able to slow down or stop the spread. So that’s the reason why we do it.”
The Mayor of the Miami-Dade county, Carlos Gimenez, recently blamed these record breaking case risings to the people in his county “letting their guard down in late May, early June.” However, while there is a substantial amount of blame to be put on citizens blatantly ignoring public health officials pleas to wear a mask, it’s up to local, state, and federal governments to enforce these policies so that its citizens take it seriously. Regardless of what the world’s leading health experts are saying, if individuals running this country aren’t actively trying to get its citizens to stay indoors and only leave the house when absolutely necessary, they most likely won’t.
In that same realm of thinking, if state governments are going to begin reopening bars, restaurants, and clubs, which individuals have been missing for the past few months, then it should be expected that these establishments will see an influx in big crowds. In fact, bar reopenings have already been directly linked to massive spikes in Covid-19 cases.
“We saw a rapid rise in young people being positive for COVID-19 around mid-June. And, I think that that had a lot to do with probably socializing, young kids going to parties, maybe graduation parties at homes, because it’s – it’s been pretty locked down here for some time.” As of right now Florida is seeing the ninth highest death count in the US overall with 17 deaths per 100,000 people.
Arizona, Texas, and California are among the other states seeing just as massive of a rise in cases, and are also breaking their own records for new hospitalizations and deaths. This is causing some governors to roll back their reopening plans, and many citizens are preparing for when the entire country has to inevitably close down again. For now, it is extremely important to listen to the very real facts that health care providers are telling us. The US has now seen over 130,000 deaths due to the coronavirus; that’s more than the amount of American lives lost during WW1. Stay inside, wear a mask, socially distance, and continue to wash your hands as often as possible.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.