(MIAMI) — Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, shared a piece of advice to young people who are ignoring social distancing recommendations and gathering on the beaches of Florida.
Suarez, 42, was tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday, four days after attending an event for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s visit to South Florida. He said on The View Friday that “it’s very possible” that he “shook hands” and “had close conversation” with the Brazilian official that tested positive for COVID-19, likely exposing himself to the virus.
Suarez has been isolated from his family for one week while he recovers from what he claims are symptoms that resemble a mild cold. He said that it’s crucial for spring breakers and young people in the U.S. to take the pandemic seriously as the country faces a critical point in time to “flatten the curve.”
“My advice to spring breakers is to respect social distancing. If you can go back home, it probably is worth going back home because none of the businesses in Miami are open right now,” Suarez said. “There’s not gonna be any opportunity to party or congregate.”
“My recommendation for them is to take this seriously,” Suarez continued. “The responsible thing to do is to stay home, to respect social distancing. We’ve got to take this seriously so we can get ahead of this.”
Ultra Music Festival, an electronic music festival held in Miami that was scheduled for March 20, 21 and 22, was cancelled by Suarez due to concerns over the virus.
“That music festival, people would have been … coming from 105 different countries,” he said on The View.
“What people don’t understand is that as mayor, I don’t have the authority to close the beaches,” Suarez said, adding that “thankfully” Florida’s Miami-Dade County mayor closed beaches.
Although 80% of deaths associated with the novel coronavirus are in adults over the age of 65, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that younger people still face a high risk of infection. The agency reported that out of 508 people in the U.S. who were hospitalized for the infection, 17% were aged 55 to 64, 18% were 45 to 54 and 20% were 20 to 44.
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