Florida is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases, but Rep. Michael Waltz said Monday he believes the largest part of the Republican National Convention, including President Donald Trump's nomination speech, can be held safely in Jacksonville.
"I do think we can walk and chew gum," the Florida Republican told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" about his hometown. "We can do this safely. I think you are going to see more handwashing stations than you would see in a fine French restaurant. You will see GOP hand sanitizer everywhere."
Waltz said it will be "just like the businesses" he visited over the weekend because nobody wants "any of their clients or any of their employees to get sick. We don't want anyone to either. We can't just get to a total shutdown and that's what a lot of the left wants us to do through November."
Meanwhile, he pointed out that most of the coronavirus cases have been reported in South Florida, and the real numbers to focus on are hospitalizations and the death rate, not just testing numbers.
"The mainstream media is breathlessly reporting on numbers of cases but there are a number of reasons for that increase, mainly increased testing," said Waltz. "The other thing the media does is they treat all of Florida like it's South Florida. And since this entire pandemic South Florida has had about five times the death rate, sadly of North Florida."
In addition, there is now much more data and a better understanding of the virus than there was months ago, Waltz said, adding that bringing the convention to Jacksonville was a team effort.
"I want to give full credit to Ronna McDaniel, the head of the RNC for seeing my hometown for what it is, an amazing city," said Waltz. "The business community needs this shot in the arm. And they are ready to roll out the red carpeting. We couldn't be more excited to have the convention here."
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