Miami mayor says city 'breaking record after record after record' of coronavirus cases

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said Sunday he's hopeful measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus will prevent city officials from needing to enact even more dramatic restrictions in the coming weeks.

Both Miami and Florida are seeing record numbers of new COVID-19 infections. Florida reported a record 11,458 cases on Saturday, and as of Friday, 1 in 5 coronavirus tests in the Miami-Dade region was coming back positive. 

"It’s clear that the growth is exponential at this point," Suarez said on ABC's "This Week." "You know we’ve been breaking record after record after record all in the last couple of weeks."

Suarez said that though Miami was the last city in Florida to reopen, "there's no doubt" the pace of reopening played a role in how quickly coronavirus case counts began rising.

"I was criticized for waiting so long," he said. "But there's no doubt that the fact that when we reopened, people started socializing as if the virus didn't exist." 

Before the stay-at-home order, Suarez said, Miami was seeing 35 new cases a day. After implementing the stay-at-home order, that dropped to 14 new cases a day, but last week saw 91 new coronavirus cases per day in Miami, he said.

Suarez said he hopes recently enacted policies — including requiring masks, closing area beaches for the July Fourth weekend and increasing penalties for businesses that don't comply with safety regulations — will have a positive impact.

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Suarez also said some people were upset with the restrictions but that he's seen widespread compliance. On the mask requirement, the city hasn't done "massive amounts of enforcement," he noted. 

"The way it works is, it’s similar to when we did a stay-at home-order. You know, we don't actually go door to door and knock on people's homes," he said.

Suarez added, "The reason why we do it is, it's no different than telling people they need to wear a seatbelt. You know, if you get in a car accident, you know, there's a good chance that you'll walk away if you're wearing a seatbelt. The same thing with a mask. 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."