Medical experts counter DeSantis’ claim regarding increase in COVID-19 cases

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Medical experts are claiming that the recent increase in coronavirus cases throughout Florida are concerning, despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ claim that the increase is not evidence of a spike.

As workers continue to conduct swab tests for the virus at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, confirmed cases of the virus continue to rise across the U.S.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, compared the positive cases in the U.S. to Italy’s. The data showed the two countries are in two different stages of the battle against the virus.

“We haven’t gotten out of the first wave yet,” Gupta said. “We’ve plateaued a bit here. It’s very likely these numbers are just going to go back up. Italy has had more of a true decline. We never got there in this country.”

Florida is one of 18 states in the U.S. seeing an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, the state reported 2,610 new cases, with 532 of those in Miami-Dade County and 314 of them in Broward County. Experts and local officials have said they are seeing an uptick in hospital stays, which is another factor in the state’s fight against the virus.

“It’s a bit scary that we’re opening up and also climbing,” Martha Baker, the president of the local SEIU Healthcare union, said. “We’re already at nearly 90%, and if we have more COVIDs, we’ll be tight.”

DeSantis said during a Tuesday press conference that the increase in cases was expected.

“I made the point that, as you test more, you will see more cases because you’re identifying those subclinical cases that just would not have been tested previously,” DeSantis said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a tweet Wednesday afternoon, “With the uptick in cases, we must all remember the importance of individual responsibility in stopping the spread.”

He added that Miami-Dade Police are looking for violators of social distancing regulations, both individuals and businesses.

“We continue to see an uptick in the number of positive COVID-19 cases for Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said. “If you’re not going to take personal responsibility, we certainly are going to call you out for it because lives are at stake here. We’re seeing some people getting a little too comfortable about not wearing masks when they go to stores or restaurants.”

The mayor said he is not afraid to shut down businesses that are not adhering to the rules.

“As I’ve said all along, we expected to see an increase as we started to open up the economy, and we have more testing going on,” Gimenez said.

Gupta, however, disagrees with the governor’s claim, saying an increase in testing should cause cases to decrease.

“As you increase testing, case counts should go down, not up,” Gupta said. “That’s because you find people who are carrying the virus, you can isolate them, and you can prevent further spread. That’s the whole point.”

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist at Florida International University, said preventing the spread of the virus is the public’s responsibility.

“The bottom line is it so totally depends on us,” she said. “If we can follow the new normal guidelines, we can have an open economy and not continue to see these rises in cases. It’s very real, and it’s very worrisome. We’re definitely seeing a trend upward. There are days with more and some days with less. It’s a reflection of a lot of different things that can happen.”

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has encouraged the public to get tested for the virus and want businesses to consider making employee testing a priority.

“It’s free testing. It doesn’t cost anything,” spokesperson Mike Jachles said. “That gives the business owners the reassurance that they’re doing something right in checking their employees and also sends a message to their customers that we’re taking steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Both COVID-19 and antibody testing at the Hard Rock Stadium site continues daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those willing to take a test must be 18 years old or older and have photo identification.

Another antibody testing site is set to open at Miami International Mall in Doral on Thursday morning. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez will be attending the grand opening of the testing site.

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.