Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez recently joined tens of thousands of Americans who have tested positive for COVID-19, or coronavirus.
Although Suarez displayed no symptoms, he had come into contact with a member of the Brazilian president’s delegation that visited Miami and then tested positive for coronavirus. Suarez entered quarantine on March 12 and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.
“This was an individual that I probably shook his hand and most likely had a conversation with,” Suarez said. “Someone sent me a picture that I was a few feet away from him. So, once I saw that I knew that I immediately had to quarantine.”
‘It’s been tough for my family’
To pass the time during his self-quarantine, Suarez has been documenting his day-to-day life on his Instagram. In his daily videos, some of which he records in Spanish, he has explained how he has experienced mild to almost no symptoms.
“I’ve been diarying [my symptoms] every single day so that people can take a little bit of comfort and reduce their anxiety levels knowing that they can be COVID-19 positive and still not have any major symptoms and not have any reason to panic,” he said.
Suarez has also used the time in self-quarantine to “connect with people that I have not connected with in a long time,” through phone calls and video calls.
“It’s been tough for my family obviously because I haven’t been able to see them and touch them, hug them,” he said.
Despite these challenges, his hope is that those within the city of Miami and anywhere in the world can watch his social videos and know that “if they do get infected, it’s not a death sentence.”
As of March 23, there have been 1,096 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida residents and 75 positive cases in non-Florida residents in the state, according to the Florida Health Department. Only one death in the state has been reported so far.
“I just think people need to take this seriously, Suarez said. “They need to follow the medical professionals. The more we work together, the faster hopefully we can get past this.”
He’s urged his residents to keep practice social distancing in order to stop the spread of the virus.
“The situation is that we’re asking people to stay home,” Suarez pleads. “We’re hunkering down as we have done during major storms, trying to weather this out so we can get back to normal life as quickly as possible.”
‘I was shocked, surprised’
The mayor described the coronavirus test as similar to how a flu test is administered.
“The process was basically two cotton swabs in your nose, deep in your nose, and two cotton swabs deep in your throat against the back of your tongue,” Suarez detailed.
From there, the gatherings are then placed in a test tube and shipped off to be evaluated. Suarez received his results within 24 hours.
“I was shocked, surprised,” he said. “I didn’t think it was real. I wanted to make sure it was … they were certain. I realized that this is something that was not only going to have ramifications for me personally, but it was going to have significant ramifications for the government that I run.”
Suarez isn’t the first politician to have coronavirus. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was revealed to be the first senator to test positive for it, after being tested out of an abundance of caution. This garnered criticism, though, as Paul (like Suarez) displayed no symptoms but was still able to get a test, but others around the country are still having difficulties obtaining one even if they are displaying symptoms.
Olivia is a social media editor for Yahoo Finance.