On Sunday, Florida surpassed the nationwide record for coronavirus cases nationwide with an alarming 15,300 new reports of COVID-19. The state has seen a steep increase in cases over the last two weeks, with 514 deaths reported last week alone. Miami-Dade County has the highest number of cases and deaths thus far. On Monday, the county’s mayor, Carlos Gimenez, held a press conference alongside medical experts.
The doctors who attended the virtual conference were visibly at wit’s end. One main reason for the spikes? “Public perception of the outbreak,” said Dr. Aileen Marty. Florida residents are not taking the pandemic seriously, she believes and urges folks to take appropriate precautions.
Local viewers were told things other cities have heard time and time again, and taken seriously, for months now. (Think “wear a mask,” or “don’t leave the house if you’re sick.”)
“[Stay] at home whenever you can,” said infectious diseases specialist Dr. Lilian Abbo. “It’s more important now than ever… Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic. What we were seeing in Wuhan five months ago, six months ago… now we are there.”
Dr. Abbo is, of course, referring to Wuhan, China—the city where the coronavirus first emerged. Miami-Dade is at least 70% Latinx, according to the most recent census.
“All the measures that are being put in place are for your safety,” Dr. Marty assured. Hospitals will reach their tipping point if a shift in attitude isn’t adopted soon, doctors assured.
“We need to be good citizens and safeguard each other,” Mayor Gimenez said, “that’s going to be a heck of a lot more effective than any enforcement that we do.”