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Tampa City Council member Charlie Miranda tests positive for coronavirus

Miranda, 80, the council’s longest-serving member, is recovering at his West Tampa home.
Tampa City Council member Charlie Miranda during a June 4, 2020 council meeting at the Tampa Convention Center.
Tampa City Council member Charlie Miranda during a June 4, 2020 council meeting at the Tampa Convention Center. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Jan. 22, 2021|Updated Jan. 22, 2021

TAMPA — A City Council member off and on since the early 1970s, Charlie Miranda has waged plenty of battles. Now he’s taking on the coronavirus.

Miranda, 80, said he tested positive for the virus Thursday and is recovering at home.

Always ready with a quip, Miranda joked Friday afternoon: “Coronavirus wanted a challenge, I guess.”

Miranda had just returned from a visit to Tampa General Hospital when he spoke to the Tampa Bay Times. He said he had received an infusion designed to help his immune response. He plans to recover at home. So far, he said, his only symptoms are the chills.

But he’s not taking it lightly.

“This thing can change hour to hour,” Miranda said from his West Tampa home.

Related: Charlie Miranda embodies old school Tampa

Miranda, who holds a citywide seat, has served on City Council longer than anyone in the city’s history. He was elected to his eighth term in 2019.

He famously opposed taxpayer funding for the construction of Raymond James Stadium, dressing in all black to mourn voter approval of a tax to help build the stadium. He’s run unsuccessfully for mayor twice and has been a vigorous advocate for the city, including its water rights.

Miranda is the second Tampa City Council member to test positive. In June, Orlando Gudes came down with the virus. He has since made a full recovery.

Related: Orlando Gudes battles coronavirus

Numerous other Tampa Bay area elected officials have fallen ill during the pandemic. They include Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, St. Petersburg City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, former Hillsborough School Board member Tamara Shamburger, Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning and board member Cynthia Armstrong, Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano, Senate President Wilton Simpson of Trilby, state Rep. Chris Latvala of Clearwater and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor.

Miranda said he doesn’t plan on letting the deadly respiratory disease take him down:

“If it does, I’ll come back and kick its ass.”

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

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A TRIBUTE TO THE FLORIDIANS TAKEN BY THE CORONAVIRUS: They were parents and retirees, police officer and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply.

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