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Miami-Dade mayor: Residents 'kind of let their guard down' during reopening

Miami-Dade mayor: Residents 'kind of let their guard down' during reopening
© Jason Koerner/Getty Images for BioReference Laboratories

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R) blamed county residents “let[ting] their guard down” since the state began to reopen for Florida becoming a recent hotspot for the coronavirus.

“My residents also kind of let their guard down in late May, early June, and also some of the protests we had here I think contributed to it,” Gimenez said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“We saw a rapid rise in young people being positive for COVID-19 around mid-June, and I think that had a lot to do with probably socializing, young people going to parties, maybe graduation parties at home,” he added.

While public health experts have expressed concerns about the potential of the protests against police brutality and racism that erupted in late May as a vector for the spread of the virus, the cities that saw the biggest demonstrations, such as New York, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., have not seen spikes in the virus since the protests began.

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Gimenez also expressed concerns about increasing positivity rates in testing for the virus, saying rates had grown from a low of 8 percent to around 20 percent in recent weeks. He also pushed back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE’s characterization of the virus as “harmless” in 99 percent of cases.

“No, the virus is not harmless. If it was harmless I wouldn’t be taking the steps I am now,” he said.

Florida reported 11,458 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a new record high in single-day cases, breaking a record it hit the previous Thursday. Various cities and localities have made masks mandatory but Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans Group of Florida mayors calls on DeSantis to issue mask mandate DeSantis promises to keep Florida open despite recent coronavirus case surge MORE (R) has said he will take no such steps at the state level.