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'No Substitute for Closing Down' Congresswoman Donna Shalala Calls For Two-Week Stay Home Order

Rep. Donna Shalala, a Miami Democrat, has called for a two-week stay home order.

Florida registered another 132 deaths due to COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 4,409. Florida has seen the highest number of deaths in a day for any state in the country and on Sunday, registered the highest daily number of new coronavirus cases.


Democratic Congresswoman Donna Shalala has called on Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to implement a two-week stay at home order. 

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“COVID is now out of control. And there are no little nuances that you can do, there is no substitute for closing down. I said four months ago the worst thing we can do for our community is if we have to close down again. We didn’t do it right the first time, we have to do it right this time,” said Shalala on Sundial. 


It’s unclear whether there’s any political will to reinstate a stay-at-home order. Gov. DeSantis said during a press conference in Miami that he has no plans to roll back the economy although bars will remain closed for the time being. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he wants to see whether the county's ongoing restrictions will be effective in reducing the spread of the virus.

Dr. Aileen Marty is a member of Miami-Dade County's coronavirus task force and an infectious disease expert at FIU.


“It’s important to understand the natural history of disease. It takes four or five days after exposure for someone to show symptoms. It takes another four or five days before the patient is showing severe symptoms and needs to go to the hospital. You have to bear that in mind whenever we implement new changes," Marty said.


Dr. Marty also argued we failed during the first stay-at-home orders to take the steps necessary to stem the spread of the virus.

“During the lockdown, you do not belittle the virus, you do not give false information in terms of the risk. And when we do reopen you need to follow the new normal guidelines. And in the interim, we need to build up contact tracing and hire more contact tracers,” Marty said.   


Congresswoman Shalala said that the potential impact of another shutdown on local businesses was a major factor in her urging for the passage of the HEROES Act in the U.S. Senate. Below is an excerpt of our conversation with Rep. Shalala.


WLRN: Congresswoman, how much of this is a change that is required by local leadership and to what extent is it about what's going to happen in Tallahassee or in the White House? 


SHALALA: It's too bad we don't have either national leadership or state leadership. Our local governments have been struggling with this. And this is an international disease. And we haven't had that leadership. I don't know why people run for office if they're not willing to make tough decisions. And the idea of not following science is just, it's dangerous as we have seen. And this is about life and death, we're not talking about some political ideology. We're talking about life and death. And that's why I strongly believe that people in our community understand this and they will understand it if we're very clear, very honest with them about the science and about what we need to do as a community.  


We have the city of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber calling for greater federal funding to support Coronavirus relief efforts. The House, of course, as you mentioned, has passed its Heroes Act. But you're still waiting for the Senate.


Yeah it's like "Waiting for Godot," the same as the Samuel Beckett play. 


The situation then becomes this: Are we as Americans and just going to have to wait 'till November and hope there's a switch of position so that we can get something done?  


Absolutely not. I'm going up to Washington on Sunday and I'm not coming back unless I'm coming back with the resources for Miami Beach, for Cutler Bay, for the city of Miami, for for South Miami, for Coral Gables, for all the communities in my district. And of course, for Miami-Dade. We're going up and we're going to stay until the Senate passes a serious bill that will help our community. 


Are you reaching across the aisle? Do you find anybody on the other side?  


There is bipartisan support in the Senate for getting money to state local governments for COVID-19. Whether we're debating between 500 billion and one trillion of that will be part of the negotiations. But the most important thing is, we need to get a bill out of the Senate. And Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the Senate, is going to introduce his bill on Monday. We'll see what he suggests, but that'll be the start of the negotiation.


But be assured, I'm not coming home without coming with resources for our community and not only for our community, for individuals in our community, for people that are running out of unemployment for more PPP if we can do it for small businesses. We need to get money into people's pockets as well as save municipal workers and fill the gaps for the billions that our communities have spent on COVID-19. 

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.