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Photo: NBC Miami/ NBC 6
Photo: NBC Miami/ NBC 6

All eyes are on Mayor Gimenez, Gov. DeSantis as Miami becomes new COVID-19 epicenter

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell takes the backlash as an opportunity to boost the defense of her Congressional seat, as Gimenez is her challenger.

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Florida made the headlines again over the weekend, for all the wrong reasons. 

Shortly after Disneyworld reopened, Florida surpassed the nationwide record for coronavirus, reaching an alarming 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day, and the most single-day cases recorded by any state so far.

“Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic. What we were seeing in Wuhan six months ago, Five months ago, Now we are there,” Dr. Lilian Abbo, an Infectious Disease Expert from Jackson Health System in Miami told CNN.

Miami-Dade County’s positivity rate is nearly 30%.

On Wednesday, 54 Florida hospital ICUs reached capacity as Miami-Dade County reported COVID-19 ventilator use is up to 92%, according to data released by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Ten of these hospitals are in Miami-Dade County.

Governor DeSantis and Mayor Gimenez have come under nationwide scrutiny for their handling of coronavirus response in Florida and Miami.

Gimenez is currently challenging the congressional seat of Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, the first South American immigrant to become a U.S. congresswoman. 

Mucarsel-Powell has not been afraid to criticize both Mayor Gimenez and Gov. DeSantis for mixed messages regarding the coronavirus, and DeSantis’ quick action to reopen Florida despite not even reaching a plateau. 

Now, Florida and Miami are major hotspots.

“This is where we ask: How much do state & country leadership value Floridian lives? Yesterday we broke a record for number of single-day deaths. This didn’t have to happen.” wrote Mucarse-Powell on Twitter, regarding Tuesday’s alarming number of over 9,000 cases and 133 deaths in a single day — the most deaths in a single day.
 

The situation presents an interesting opportunity for Mucarsel Powell to boost her campaign, as her opponent is now facing backlash for his coronavirus response in a city which is nowthe world’s epicenter of COVID-19.

"This has gotten out of control. The lack of leadership has devastated our community and my heart is broken for what we are enduring. We need contact tracers, more testing, more education, and the hard decisions need to be made faster. We need to act now," she wrote on Twitter on July 1.

“New reports reveal that Miami-Dade’s Mayor Gimenez has been stalling the hiring of contact tracers. Miami-Dade is the epicenter of Florida’s coronavirus crisis. I. Am. Speechless,” Mucarsel-Powell tweeted on July 8.
 

Mayor Gimenez is taking action, but it is slow. He recently signed an agreement with the state to hire 250 more contact tracers, but warned his city that contact tracing isn’t a “silver bullet.” 

DeSantis, has yet to respond to suggestions for a statewide mask mandate.

Current trends are not boding well for Gimenez’s upcoming election, but the bigger picture is that thousands of lives are on the line —  a direct link to the current leadership. 

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