Pence praises DeSantis during Tampa visit as coronavirus cases surge

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Tampa on Thursday to meet with Gov. Ron Desantis and Tampa Bay area health care professionals.

As the number of new positive coronavirus cases surged above 10,000 in a single day – the highest spike we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic – the vice president had nothing but praise for the governor.

Pence says the nation is in a much better position now than it was two months ago to fight the spread of the virus, but he and the governor urged older Floridians to stay home and younger residents to wear masks.

“We want people to be vigilant, but we want people to be encouraged that the state of Florida has everything it needs,” said Pence.

Another member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx, was also in Tampa for the visit. She asked all Floridians under the age of 40 who have been in a group setting recently to get tested for the virus.

Pence was asked several times if the state should consider closing down businesses again to fight the increase in positive cases. The vice president says he and President Donald Trump believe that decision should be left up to the governors of each state, but he believes it’s not necessary to shut down the economy again.

“The economic comeback that is underway is a demonstration that we don’t have to choose between an economic recovery and the health of our people,” Pence said. “We can do both and that’s the challenge we face today across the sunbelt.”