Experts say Miami is now the coronavirus epicenter just as Wuhan once was

Healthcare workers help each other with their personal protective equipment at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A group of Miami-area medical experts joined Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on a Zoom news conference Monday morning and made clear that South Florida is in a dire position when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

“Miami is now the epicenter for the virus,” said Lilian M. Abbo, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Miami Health System and the Chief of Infection Prevention for Jackson Health System. “What we were seeing in Wuhan [China] five months ago, we’re now seeing here.”

The experts were speaking minutes after Florida announced 12,624 new cases of COVID-19 — a day after Florida set a record for any state with 15,300 new cases.

The experts stressed the need to restrict large gatherings of people in indoor spaces, and Gimenez said the biggest thing that needs to be done is residents following the safety guidelines.

“The reason [for the spike] is us. There’s no Boogeyman. The reason is us,” he said. “We have to change our behavior. The no. 1 reason is our behavior.”

Watch a replay of the news conference below:

WATCH LIVE: Mayor and medical experts give latest coronavirus updates

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is holding a Zoom news conference Monday morning along with several members of his team of medical experts. They'll discuss the latest coronavirus updates after a record-breaking spike of new cases Sunday.

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Monday, July 13, 2020

Doctors on the call included: Lilian M. Abbo, M.D., Infectious Diseases Specialist, University of Miami Health System; Tanira B. Ferreira, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Inpatient and Acute Care Services, University of Miami Health System; Aileen M. Marty, M.D., Infectious Diseases Specialist, Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine; Samir M. Elmir, Ph.D., P.E., DEE, CEHP, Director, Division of Environmental Health and Engineering, Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County; Yesenia D. Villalta, APRN, D.N.P., M.S.N, Executive Community Health Nursing Director, Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County; and Carlos Migoya, President and CEO of Jackson Health System.

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