TAMPA, Fla. — Vice President Mike Pence visited Tampa on Thursday to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis regarding the efforts the state is making to combat COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • VP Mike Pence visited Tampa Thursday 
  • VP last met with Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 20 
  • CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES: In the Central Florida area | In the Tampa Bay area

Recent testing data is causing concern of a surge in COVID-19 cases that some fear will flood hospitals and lead to a second lockdown across the state.

Dr. Deborah Birx was also part of Thursday’s visit and spoke at a news conference.

“This virus begin to spread through Tampa at the end of May,” she said. “We all have a critical role to play the next two to three weeks to stop the spread.”

Birx also asked any Florida resident under the age of 40 who has recently attended a gathering of 10 or more people and didn’t social distance or wear a mask to come forward for a COVID-19 test.

The Vice President met with DeSantis on May 20 as the state was reopening for business.

During a press conference with the Vice President at that time. DeSantis became agitated after questions about whether Florida was reopening too soon.

“We’ve succeeded and I think that people just don’t want to recognize it because it challenges their narrative, challenges their assumption so they gotta try and find a boogie man,” the DeSantis said. “Maybe it’s a black helicopter circling the department of health.  If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.”

Since May 20, Florida’s coronavirus cases have tripled, from just under 50,000 to more than 159,000.

Most major cities across the state are now under mask orders, although the Governor has not issued a statewide mask order saying some rural areas aren’t seeing spikes in cases.

Last Friday, the state banned alcohol sales at bars, essentially shutting them down again.  

The move was an apparent effort to stop the growing number of cases in people under the age of 35, which has seen the biggest surge in cases since the re-opening.

Pence visited Arizona on Wednesday, where a coronavirus spike is underway as well.

The Vice President urged people to wear masks and support a new round of business closures.  

He also announced an additional 500 health care workers being sent to the state to help with the growing number of cases.

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