Miami Mayor Francis Suarez addresses the climbing COVID-19 cases in Florida.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday that he believes the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Florida has more to do “with behavior and how we socialize in this pandemic world” than when the state reopened.
“Unfortunately, we have to make some changes and one of the changes that we’re making in the city of Miami is we’re requiring people to wear masks,” Suarez said.
“To me it’s no different than asking people to wear a seatbelt. It’s the responsible thing to do.” The mayor added that “if you get in a car accident, wearing a seatbelt doesn’t mean you are definitely going to survive the accident, but it means you have a better chance of survival.”
“Same thing with a mask,” he continued, explaining that there is a greater chance of limiting the spread of COVID-19 “if everyone in the community is on board with wearing a mask.”
Earlier Tuesday, Florida health officials confirmed 7,347 new coronavirus cases and 63 additional deaths. The total number of positive tests in Florida has increased to 213,794 — nearly one percent of the state’s population.
On Monday Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced restaurants and gyms must close again to combat the spread of COVID-19, but on Tuesday he tweeted that he had changed his mind.
He said he met with medical experts and the county’s wellness group and agreed to keep gyms and fitness centers open. However, anyone participating in indoor activities will have to wear a mask or train outside and maintain a distance of 10 feet from others if they do not wear a mask.
Gimenez also decided to allow outdoor dining at restaurants after meeting with his restaurant industry group and medical experts, but no more than four patrons can be seated at a table.
Suarez was critical of Gimenez’s original decision, tweeting on Tuesday, “Yesterday’s county order caught everyone by surprise. Our communities need a clear strategy for a sustainable path to recovery. The decision making process should be transparent and driven by facts, not impulses. All leaders must communicate and collaborate more.”
“We’re starting to see some very worrisome statistics in our hospital system, ICU is up, hospitalizations are up and the biggest statistic that worries me, which is [sic] ventilators is up,” Suarez told “America’s Newsroom.”
He added, “When we see the ventilator numbers go up that means that inevitably that the death rate will go up as well.”
Suarez said he believes that “once everyone gets on the same page and we all start speaking about how to prevent this scene, I think that’s when everyone will get on board and we will start to see real change.”
The mayor also emphasized that Miami has “a variety of different ways that we can expand [hospital] capacity” should it be necessary.
“Our large public hospital already shut down elective surgeries as a means of increasing capacity,” he said, adding there are also “portable hospitals outside of the hospital system,” including one at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“Take responsibility not only for your life, but for the life of your family members,” Suarez said, adding that “wearing a mask is a responsible thing to do.”
Fox News’ Heather Lacy, Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.