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Sudden spike in Florida coronavirus cases has residents, business owners fearing another stay-at-home order

State numbers being questioned by former scientist that was fired in May

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez news conference on Monday, June 15.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez news conference on Monday, June 15. (WPLG)

MIAMI – For the second day in a row, the Florida Department of Health reported another huge increase in the state's number of COVID-19 cases.

“The best way that you can avoid either acquiring or transmitting infection is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask," said Dr. Anthony Fauci with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

It's a new reality, which doesn’t seem to be realized by everyone.

"I do think people are letting their guard down," said Coral Gables resident Kate Haman. "I think because so many other things have been in the news."

That is perhaps part of the reason for the state’s recent COVID-19 case spike, with another 2,000 new cases reported Sunday, just 500 cases shy of Saturday’s record high number.

The sharp increase prompted the mayor of Miami on Saturday to propose a possible pause of the city’s reopening.

"There are major concerns as the cases continue to rise," said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. "The data is concerning; we may have to make some decisions after this weekend.”

But for small, non-essential businesses like The Nail Venue on Biscayne Blvd., a second shutdown could prove to be a fatal blow.

"The last shutdown, we were already struggling to find money," said The Nail Venue Manager Thanh Le. "And even after we opened, business has been pretty slow."

In the meantime, statewide numbers are coming under increased scrutiny after the scientist who was fired for supposedly refusing to manipulate that data decided to start her own coronavirus dashboard.

While the two sites look similar, the one launched by Rebekah Jones last week shows about 8,000 additional COVID cases with about 300,000 fewer people being tested.

[RELATED: The Latest: What are the numbers of cases in your city?]


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