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Vice President Mike Pence and Coronavirus Task Force Visit Tampa, Talk Rising Florida Cases

Photo: Mike_Pence
Photo: Mike_Pence

At a press conference in Tampa today, Vice President Mike Pence said any decision to shutdown Florida amidst rising cases would be up to the governor. 

But Pence said he didn’t think that action would be needed if people in the state would follow mitigation measures.

“If all of us will do all that we should do. If over this coming holiday weekend we practice social distancing, we wash our hands, good hygiene, we continue to be mindful of those most vulnerable around us that we’ll make steady progress here in Florida and all across the Sun Belt," Pence said.

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Pence said DeSantis had followed science and "the data" in his reopening plan and actions, which experts have questioned as the state continued to reopen bars and restaurants during a surge of new cases.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar did not speak to a potential stay-at-home order in the state, but said it was up to young people in particular to calculate their risk this Fourth of July before going out.

“But you’re protecting vulnerable people in your household. You’re also protecting the stranger standing next to you in the grocery store line and you don’t know if that person is vulnerable and you don’t want that on your conscience.”

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Azar who is in charge of the vaccine development project called Operation Warp Speed - said before a vaccine is ready he would work with states like Florida to plan nationwide distribution.

The coronavirus task force’s visit to Florida comes as the department of health reports more than 169,000 cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic and 10,000 new cases on Thursday.

If you'd like to listen to this story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.