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Physicians write letter requesting masks, social distancing at Republican National Convention

Nearly 200 physicians who signed letter say Republican National Convention should be postponed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is opposition against the Republican National Convention coming to Jacksonville in two months. Nearly 200 physicians, who are mostly from northeast Florida, wrote a letter to Mayor Lenny Curry and City Council requesting masks and social distancing at the RNC in August.

The letter said it’s estimated more than 40,000 people from all over the country will attend the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.

The nearly 200 physicians who signed the letter said the Republican National Convention should be postponed.

In the letter addressed to Curry and City Council, nearly 200 northeast Florida physicians and beyond signed, “It is extremely dangerous and contrary to current public health recommendations to stage a large event in an area where the number of cases is surging,” adding Jacksonville should follow other Florida cities and states, “mandating the use of masks and social distancing.”

“I read it and it resonated, and I totally believed in what the message we’re trying to get across, so that’s why I think everyone signed it,” Dr. Carolyn McClanahan said.

McClanahan, who practices family medicine in Jacksonville, told News4Jax she signed the letter because of the potential of the virus wreaking havoc on the community, which she said could overload our system.

“I’m very concerned our free clinic is going to be overwhelmed with the action of having the convention in the city,” McClanahan said.

Doctors who signed call Florida a new hotspot for COVID-19, with the concern over the number of infections and hospitalizations increasing after the economy opened up.

This comes as Florida and Duval County, yet again, saw single-day records for new coronavirus cases; Duval County reported 677 additional cases since Friday, bringing the county’s caseload to 4,848.

The letter continues to read, “Allowing this number of people to descend on Jacksonville is unequivocally provocative of disease, predictably harmful and medically disrespectful to the citizens of this city, much less the rest of the country.”

“We all know that the virus is having a huge upsurge we saw what happened in New York,” McClanahan said. “We don’t want that to happen here.”

On Sunday morning, a city spokesperson sent News4Jax the following statement:

“We have not received a letter from these physicians, so at this time, it appears they were more interested in getting this to the media before the Mayor and his administration. Mayor Curry continues to work with closely with the CEOs and additional leadership from all area hospitals, speaking with them daily and listening to their valued feedback. Once we do receive a copy of this letter, we will give it consideration as we do any communication that we receive.”


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