The COVID-19 virus is testing our resolve, and the numbers here in Florida tell an extremely concerning story.
By every key metric, our state has recently been reaching record levels on an almost daily basis. These include the number of new COVID-19 cases, and the percentage of those tested for COVID-19 who are positive. Our hospitalization rates are alarming. Since March 1, Florida has reported more than 400,000 COVID-19 total cases and over 5,500 deaths.
As leaders serving Florida, we are urgently asking our community to join us in renewing our commitment to following safety guidelines, recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent more people from getting infected, becoming sick or unfortunately even dying. We all need to take personal responsibility to do the right thing for ourselves and one another to avoid our community experiencing an even more severe impact from COVID-19 like we have seen in other parts of our country.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed in the first place. There are simple steps we can take to effectively reduce the risk of transmission and turn the tide in our community.
1. Wear a mask when you’re outside of your home. Wearing masks should not be a controversial or a divisive issue. Masks can help save lives, just like seatbelts, traffic lights and life vests. Multiple studies, including a recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, show that individuals with no symptoms or mild symptoms can transmit the virus to others. But wearing simple cloth masks can stop more than 90% of the droplets that transmit the virus.
2. Practice social distancing. Where possible, keep at least six feet between you and other people outside your home. Remember, even people who do not appear sick can still spread the virus to you if you are too close. Avoiding close proximity to other people will help to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
3. Wash hands frequently. Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public or blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, can help stem the spread. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands.
4. Avoid the Three Cs. The World Health Organization has recommended avoiding “Crowded” places with many people nearby, “Close” contact settings where people have close range conversations, and “Confined,” enclosed places with poor ventilation. If you do make the decision to gather with others, it is much safer to do so outdoors rather than indoors.
In addition to these important preventative measures, there are ways for those who have contracted and fully recovered from COVID-19 to help combat the virus. Individuals who fully recover have antibodies to the disease that researchers believe can potentially help people with severe COVID-19 fight the virus. If you fall within this category, talk to your primary care physician about whether donating convalescent plasma through your local blood donation center is an option for you.
We know these tactics to fight COVID-19 work because we have seen them successfully deployed here in Florida and in other states and countries. Spikes like those we are experiencing have been overcome through concerted efforts that adhere to proven approaches.
We are leaders from business, community organizations, and health care and academic institutions. Our perspective is based solely on research and science. Our role is to help guide and protect the public health and well-being of our community.
Working together, we can take simple but important steps to protect one another and bring the virus under control throughout Florida. Feeling safe and being safe will be the cornerstones of our economic recovery as health and prosperity are inextricably linked. Now more than ever, our collective actions will dictate our shared future.
1/4 u25cf Pat Geraghty, President & CEO, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation & Florida Blue
1/4 u25cf The Board of Directors, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation & Florida Blue
1/4 u25cf Carlos Alfonso, CEO, Alliant Partners, LLC/Alfonso Architects
1/4 u25cf Maria C. Alonso, CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade
1/4 u25cf Douglas Baer, President and CEO, Brooks Rehabilitation
1/4 u25cf John D. Baker, II, Executive Chairman, FRP Holdings, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Jason Barrett, President & CEO, Flagler Hospital
1/4 u25cf Rodney Barreto, President & CEO, Barreto Group, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Dr. Wael K. Barsoum, President & Chief Transformation Officer, Health Outcomes Performance Company
1/4 u25cf Richard A. Beard, President, R.A. Beard Co.
1/4 u25cf Richard Berkowitz, Founding & Executive Chairman, Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors & CPAs
1/4 u25cf Alan Bomstein, CEO, Creative Contractors, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Michelle Braun, CEO, United Way of Northeast Florida
1/4 u25cf Colin Brown, Chairman, JM Family Enterprises, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Henry Brown, CEO, Miller Electric
1/4 u25cf Kenneth Burdick, Executive VP, Markets & Products, Centene Corporation
1/4 u25cf Walt Bussells, President, Forbes Street Capital, LLC
1/4 u25cf Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO, United Way of Broward County
1/4 u25cf Hugo Castro, Executive Vice President, Equitable Advisors, LLC
1/4 u25cf Ravi Chari, President & CEO, HCA Healthcare West Florida Division
1/4 u25cf Gary Chartrand, Chairman & Philanthropist, The Chartrand Family Foundation
1/4 u25cf Jose Cil, CEO, Restaurant Brands International, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Dr. Michael J. Clare-Salzler, Director of the Center for Immunology and Transplantation, University of Florida
1/4 u25cf Peter Collins, Co-Founder and Managing Principal, Forge Capital Partners
1/4 u25cf Chris Corr, President, Raydient Places & Properties, RAYONIER
1/4 u25cf Tim Cost, President, Jacksonville University
1/4 u25cf Brett Couch, Sr. Executive Vice President, Regions Bank
1/4 u25cf John D. Couris, President & CEO, Tampa General Hospital
1/4 u25cf Thomas Crowley, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Crowley Maritime Corporation
1/4 u25cf Nathalie Doobin, Owner & CEO, Harvard Services Group
1/4 u25cf Roger Dow, President & CEO, U.S. Travel Association
1/4 u25cf Dan Doyle, Jr., President & CEO, Dex Imaging
1/4 u25cf G. Ray Driver, Jr., Founding Partner, Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, PLLC
1/4 u25cf William T. Dymond Jr., President & CEO, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor and Reed, P.A.
1/4 u25cf A. Zachary Faison Jr., J.D., President & CEO, Edward Waters College
1/4 u25cf Mark Faulkner, President & CEO, Baptist Health Care
1/4 u25cf Michael T. Fay, Principal, Managing Director-Miami, Avison Young
1/4 u25cf Jeff Feasel, President & CEO, Halifax Health
1/4 u25cf Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, President & CEO, Memorial Healthcare System
1/4 u25cf Michael A. Finney, President & CEO, Miami-Dade Beacon Council
1/4 u25cf Fred Franklin, Managing Partner, Rogers Towers
1/4 u25cf Dr. Julio Frenk, President, University of Miami
1/4 u25cf Laurie George, President & CEO, United Way of Palm Beach County
1/4 u25cf Dr. Deborah C. German, Dean, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida
1/4 u25cf Tim Giuliani, President & CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership
1/4 u25cf Rick Goings, Executive Chairman, Tupperware Brands Corporation
1/4 u25cf Gary M. Goldfarb, Chief Strategy Officer, Interport Logistics LLC
1/4 u25cf Dr. Lucio Gordan, President & Managing Physician, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute
1/4 u25cf Charles Gressle, President & CEO, HCA Healthcare East Florida Division
1/4 u25cf Dr. Walt Griffin, Superintendent, Seminole County Public Schools
1/4 u25cf Dr. Leon Haley, Jr. CEO, UF Health Jacksonville and Dean, UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville
1/4 u25cf Richard Hammett, President & CEO, HCA Healthcare North Florida Division
1/4 u25cf M.C. (Ceree) Harden, CEO, Harden
1/4 u25cf Debbie Harvey, President & CEO, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Ben H. Hill, III, Chairman, Hill Ward Henderson, P.A.
1/4 u25cf John Hogan, President & CEO, Capital Health Plan
1/4 u25cf Anthony Hucker, Southeastern Grocers
1/4 u25cf Richard Hume, CEO, Tech Data
1/4 u25cf Kevin E. Hyde, Managing Partner, Foley and Lardner, LLP
1/4 u25cf Dr. Joseph Iannotti, Interim CEO & President, Cleveland Clinic Florida
1/4 u25cf Tommy Inzina, CEO, BayCare Health System
1/4 u25cf Pam Iorio, President & CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
1/4 u25cf Barbara Jenkins, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools
1/4 u25cf Todd Jones, CEO, Publix
1/4 u25cf Joseph G. Joyner, President, Flagler College
1/4 u25cf Brian E. Keeley, President & CEO, Baptist Health South Florida Inc.
1/4 u25cf Scott P. Keith, Regional President, Truist Bank
1/4 u25cf John Kelly, President, Florida Atlantic University
1/4 u25cf Thomas D. Kmetz, President, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
1/4 u25cf Keith Koenig, CEO, City Furniture
1/4 u25cf Jack Kolosky, President, Moffitt Hospital
1/4 u25cf Mari Kuraishi, CEO, Jessie Ball duPont Fund
1/4 u25cf David Lawrence, Jr., Chair, The Children’s Movement of Florida
1/4 u25cf Senator George LeMieux, Chairman of the Board, Gunster
1/4 u25cf Paul Leone, CEO, The Breakers Hotel
1/4 u25cf Dr. Charles J. Lockwood, Sr. VP USF Health, University of South Florida
1/4 u25cf Eric K. Mann, CEO, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast
1/4 u25cf Amy Margerum Berg, President, The Better Angels Society
1/4 u25cf Alex Martins, CEO, Orlando Magic
1/4 u25cf Brett McClung, President & CEO Baptist Health
1/4 u25cf Carlos A. Migoya, President & CEO, Jackson Health System
1/4 u25cf David Miller, Executive Chairman, Brightway Insurance
1/4 u25cf Jeanne M. Miller, CEO, Jacksonville Civic Council
1/4 u25cf Michael Munz, CEO Rummell Munz Partners, LLC
1/4 u25cf Dr. David R. Nelson, President, UF Health University of Florida
1/4 u25cf Rusty Newton, Chairman, Timucuan Asset Management
1/4 u25cf Gary Norcross, Chairman, President & CEO, FIS
1/4 u25cf James O’Leary, President & CEO, Haskell
1/4 u25cf Donna Orender, CEO, Orender Unlimited
1/4 u25cf Joc O’Rourke, President & CEO, The Mosaic Company
1/4 u25cf Lisa Palmer, President & CEO, Regency Centers
1/4 u25cf Fred Pezeshkan, Chairman of the Board, Summit Management Group-Florida
1/4 u25cf Lou Plasencia, CEO, The Plasencia Group
1/4 u25cf Olga M. Ramudo, President & CEO, Express Travel
1/4 u25cf Paul Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Raymond James Financial
1/4 u25cf John Rivers, CEO, 4 Rivers
1/4 u25cf Kenneth D. Robinson, President, Dr. Phillips Charities
1/4 u25cf Frank Rodriguez, Chairman Emeritus, Corporate Creations
1/4 u25cf Dr. Christopher Roellke, President, Stetson University
1/4 u25cf Mark B. Rosenberg, President, Florida International University
1/4 u25cf Peter Rummell, Chairman, RummellMunz Partners, LLC
1/4 u25cf Mike Santarone, CEO, Stellar
1/4 u25cf Gino R. Santorio, President & CEO Broward Health
1/4 u25cf Shawn Seipler, CEO/Founder, Clean the World Foundation
1/4 u25cf Kathleen Shanahan, Co-Chair, Turtle & Hughes
1/4 u25cf Linda Sherrer, Founder & Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty
1/4 u25cf Kent Shoemaker, CEO, Lipman Family Farms
1/4 u25cf Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company
1/4 u25cf Kelly Smallridge, President & CEO, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Greg Spencer, CEO, Timbers Resorts
1/4 u25cf Martin (Hap) E. Stein Jr., Executive Chairman, Regency Centers
1/4 u25cf Robert (Bobby) L. Stein, President, The Regency Group
1/4 u25cf Stuart Sternberg, Principal Owner, Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Rowdies
1/4 u25cf Cindy Stover, North Florida Market President, TD Bank
1/4 u25cf David Strong, President & CEO, Orlando Health
1/4 u25cf David T. Sweeney, CEO, RS&H Inc.
1/4 u25cf Bob Swindell, President & CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance
1/4 u25cf T.J. Szelistowski, President, TECO Peoples Gas System
1/4 u25cf David M. Szymanski, President, University of North Florida
1/4 u25cf Bradley Talbert, President and CEO, Memorial Hospital Jacksonville
1/4 u25cf Hugh Tappan, President & CEO, HCA Healthcare South Atlantic Division
1/4 u25cf John J. Taylor III, President & CEO, J.J. Taylor Companies, Inc.
1/4 u25cf Troy D. Taylor, Chairman & CEO, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC
1/4 u25cf Dr. Kent R. Thielen, CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida
1/4 u25cf Russ Thomas, CEO, Availity LLC
1/4 u25cf Daryl Tol, President & CEO, Advent Health/Central Florida Division
1/4 u25cf Nancy Tower, President & CEO, Tampa Electric Co.
1/4 u25cf Tom Vanosdol, President & CEO, Ascension Florida
1/4 u25cf Dr. Ronald L. Vaughn, President, University of Tampa
1/4 u25cf Jeff Vinik, Owner, Tampa Bay Lightning
1/4 u25cf Bob Ward, President & CEO, Florida Council of 100
1/4 u25cf Will Weatherford, Managing Partner, Weatherford Capital
1/4 u25cf Eric Woolworth, President of Business Operations, Miami Heat
1/4 u25cf Bill Yeargin, CEO, Correct Craft
1/4 u25cf Sam Zietz, President & CEO, TouchSuite
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