Now is not time to get complacent on COVID-19, health experts say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As COVID-19 cases set new daily records nationwide, health officials are urging Florida residents not to become fatigued.

Local doctors say what we do now could benefit us in the long run.

RELATED: CDC pleads with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel

“You got to hold it together until we get this vaccine rolling,” said Dr. Chad Nielsen, director of infection prevention at UF Health Jacksonville. “We know that the south lags behind. This is what we saw on the front end. We didn’t peak in hospitalizations until roughly the middle of July, whereas New York was in the raging aspects of it in April, so we have the foretelling to show us that this could get bad for us and the only thing that is saving us right now is the weather is not cold, and we’re not snowing like it is in Pennsylvania.”

Nielsen said people need to keep following the safety precautions in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially as the holidays approach.

That means, wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands frequently and avoiding gatherings.

The CDC said the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to stay home and celebrate with the people you live with or gather virtually.

“I know this is really hard for people to hear, particularly as 2020 has been a year like no other -- people want to get back to some normalcy -- but we are urging people please don’t meet in large groups, please don’t do a traditional Thanksgiving with potentially sick folks at the table,” Nielsen said. “We don’t want to spread this.”

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