Doctors, mayors issue heartfelt plea: Wear your mask

Atlantic Beach mayor joins the call for vigilance against the coronavirus

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A group of Florida doctors united with mayors on Tuesday to deliver what they called a heartfelt plea for residents to remain vigilant in combating the coronavirus.

Doctors Fighting COVID, an advocacy organization made up of front-line doctors from Northern Florida committed to halting the spread of the coronavirus, held a virtual meeting with Florida mayors, including Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser, to explain why it’s so critical right now to stop the spread of COVID-19.

There have been more than 20,300 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.

“COVID has killed over 20,000 Floridians and not surprisingly was the leading cause of death of law enforcement officers both across the country and in our state,” said Dr. Nancy Staats, a physician and the founder of Doctors Fighting COVID.

Dr. Mohammed Reza, an infectious diseases specialist in Jacksonville, said he sees patients who are suffering from COVID-19 right now.

“They come in struggling to breathe, unable to speak. They fear what’s happening to them. They fear giving COVID-19 to their loved ones,” Reza said.

Glasser said she knew a 12-year-old girl who was a victim of the virus.

“We’re worried. We are worried about their lives, their livelihood,” Glasser said. “We rely on the support of state and federal leaders to address the overarching public health issues, but we also need the ability to manage locally.”

The group has been calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue the following statewide measures:

  • Universal face mask policy.
  • Ban indoor gatherings with more than 50 people.
  • Enforce social distancing measures at all times.
  • Limit capacity for indoor settings.
  • Install handwashing stations.
  • Increase public health testing.
  • Report and contact tracing efforts are enforced.

More than 1,200 doctors throughout the country and state, most of them located in Northeast Florida, signed the letter to DeSantis. There are approximately 83,000 physicians in Florida, according to the state Department of Health.

A husband and wife told News4Jax they are not taking the risk of going out without a mask.

“I think we both think it’s really important to wear a mask. It’s a sign of respect for other people, as well as protecting ourselves and the community,” said Victoria Clifton.

Clifton is pregnant, and she and her husband, Thomas, hope more people wear masks.

“It’s just an easy thing to do to save lives,” Thomas Clifton said.

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