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Miami Beach mayor talks Zika outbreak on New York radio show


UPDATE: It's not completely clear from the audio, but the first segment of the radio show referenced in this post was pre-recorded Tuesday, Aug. 16. Mayor Philip Levine's statements about Zika in South Florida were made before news reports a few days later about the virus spreading to Miami Beach. Levine spoke with the host again in a follow-up phone interview (attached to the end of the segment) after Friday's announcement that Zika had spread. This post has been updated to reflect the timeline.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine appeared on a Sunday morning AM radio show in New York to talk about the Zika outbreak in South Florida.

Speaking in a pre-recorded segment from last Tuesday on the CATS Roundtable, a weekly show hosted by millionaire grocery-chain owner John Catsimatidis, he said the "small, little outbreak of Zika" in Wynwood was contained and compared increased concerns to an old wive's tale.

“We have have a Jewish word for it. It’s called a "bubbameister," Levine said. "It’s a grandmother's tale. I mean, the media loves to build it up, but you know, it’s something that we’re watching, it’s closely contained and it certainly hasn’t disrupted the business of Miami.”

Listen to the entire segment here.

"Right now, business is booming," Levine said. "Everyone’s coming to Miami Beach."

That might not be the case going forward. On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott told the press — even before he told local elected officials — that Zika had arrived in Miami Beach with five confirmed cases.

After Friday's announcement, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised pregnant women were advised not to travel to a majority of South Beach, Levine spoke with Catsimatidis again for the show via phone. He talked about the city's ramped-up efforts to eliminate standing water across the city so mosquitoes can't breed.

"We hope to get that advisory for that one small section taken away as soon as possible," he said.

On Saturday night, it certainly seemed like nothing in South Beach had slowed down. A day after state officials confirmed five cases of Zika in the Beach and announced the new zone of local transmission, the tourist hotspot was business as usual.