At an event at the White House Friday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez spoke about the city's response to the coronavirus and his relationship to the Biden administration alongside Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
"Cities like Miami didn't get a lot of money from the first CARES Act," Suarez said in response to a reporter who brought up criticisms that the city had unused funds.
"Our residents got a fraction of the help they needed," Suarez continued. "It's uncertain what our budget is going to look like this year. We won't know for sure, but we're going to put our money to good use."
One reporter mentioned Suarez's previous criticism of the Trump administration for a lack of willingness to communicate, and asked whether the mayor had felt a change with the new president.
"I've spoken to the president and vice president more times in the short period that they have been in office than I had spoken to the prior administration entirely," Suarez said. "To me, that's an intentional desire on their part to really plug in with the mayors."
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Suarez added that he has spoken about a variety of issues with the Biden administration, including vaccination and climate change.
The press also addressed the threat that new Covid-19 variants pose to populations like Miami. "Miami has been relatively open," one reporter said. "We're seeing more and more cases of the variants, what's the plan?"
Suarez said he had always been a firm supporter of mask-wearing in public, and noted that though it's been difficult to consistently mandate the rule, there's been a "broad acceptance" of mask-wearing in public.
"We have seen a decline in cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations. Hospitalizations during the summer were at a peak high, and they're slightly under a thousand at this particular junction," he said.
"We're hopeful that the measures we've taken, and the rules we've hammered home within the community, including social distancing, mask-wearing and good hygiene, will continue to drive the numbers down."
Speaking on the city's vaccination efforts and concerns about community hesitation, Suarez said that in "some sub-populations, acceptance is an issue," and officials try to coordinate their messaging accordingly.
"As it's taken on more and more, people are starting to realize that there's a correlation between getting vaccinated and getting to some normalcy."