More than 100 CEOs from across Florida urge people to do their part to stop the spread of Covid-19 by wearing masks and taking other simple measures.
The following article, originally published by the Orlando Business Journal, is a letter from over 100 CEOs from across Florida urging people to wear masks and take other measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the state. Pat Geraghty, president and CEO of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corp. and Florida Blue, led the effort.
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 percent 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 percent 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.
● Pat Geraghty, president and CEO, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation & Florida Blue
● The Board of Directors, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corp. & Florida Blue
● Carlos Alfonso, CEO, Alliant Partners LLC/Alfonso Architects
● Maria C. Alonso, CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade
● Douglas Baer, president and CEO, Brooks Rehabilitation
● John D. Baker II, executive chairman, FRP Holdings Inc.
● Jason Barrett, president and CEO, Flagler Hospital
● Rodney Barreto, president and CEO, Barreto Group Inc.
● Dr. Wael K. Barsoum, president and chief transformation officer, Health Outcomes Performance Company
● Richard A. Beard, president, R.A. Beard Co.
● Richard Berkowitz, founding and executive chairman, Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors & CPAs
● Alan Bomstein, CEO, Creative Contractors Inc.
● Michelle Braun, CEO, United Way of Northeast Florida
● Colin Brown, chairman, JM Family Enterprises Inc.
● Henry Brown, CEO, Miller Electric
● Kenneth Burdick, executive VP, markets and products, Centene Corp.
● Walt Bussells, president, Forbes Street Capital LLC
● Kathleen Cannon, president and CEO, United Way of Broward County
● Hugo Castro, executive vice president, Equitable Advisors LLC
● Ravi Chari, president and CEO, HCA Healthcare West Florida Division
● Gary Chartrand, chairman and philanthropist, The Chartrand Family Foundation
● Jose Cil, CEO, Restaurant Brands International Inc.
● Dr. Michael J. Clare-Salzler, director of the Center for Immunology and Transplantation, University of Florida
● Peter Collins, co-founder and managing principal, Forge Capital Partners
● Chris Corr, president, Raydient Places & Properties, RAYONIER
● Tim Cost, president, Jacksonville University
● Brett Couch, sr. executive vice president, Regions Bank
● John D. Couris, president and CEO, Tampa General Hospital
● Thomas Crowley Jr., chairman and CEO, Crowley Maritime Corp.
● Nathalie Doobin, owner and CEO, Harvard Services Group
● Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association
● Dan Doyle Jr., president and CEO, Dex Imaging
● G. Ray Driver Jr., founding partner, Driver McAfee Hawthorne & Diebenow PLLC
● William T. Dymond Jr., president and CEO, Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor and Reed PA
● A. Zachary Faison Jr., J.D., president and CEO, Edward Waters College
● Mark Faulkner, president and CEO, Baptist Health Care
● Michael T. Fay, principal, managing director-Miami, Avison Young
● Jeff Feasel, president and CEO, Halifax Health
● Aurelio M. Fernandez III, president and CEO, Memorial Healthcare System
● Michael A. Finney, president and CEO, Miami-Dade Beacon Council
● Fred Franklin, managing partner, Rogers Towers
● Dr. Julio Frenk, president, University of Miami
● Laurie George, president and CEO, United Way of Palm Beach County
● Dr. Deborah C. German, dean, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida
● Tim Giuliani, president and CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership
● Rick Goings, executive chairman, Tupperware Brands Corp.
● Gary M. Goldfarb, chief strategy officer, Interport Logistics LLC
● Dr. Lucio Gordan, president and managing physician, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute
● Charles Gressle, president and CEO, HCA Healthcare East Florida Division
● Dr. Walt Griffin, superintendent, Seminole County Public Schools
● Dr. Leon Haley Jr., CEO, UF Health Jacksonville and dean, UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville
● Richard Hammett, president and CEO, HCA Healthcare North Florida Division
● M.C. (Ceree) Harden, CEO, Harden
● Debbie Harvey, president and CEO, Ron Jon Surf Shop Inc.
● Ben H. Hill III, chairman, Hill Ward Henderson PA
● John Hogan, president and CEO, Capital Health Plan
● Anthony Hucker, Southeastern Grocers
● Richard Hume, CEO, Tech Data
● Kevin E. Hyde, managing partner, Foley and Lardner LLP
● Dr. Joseph Iannotti, interim CEO and president, Cleveland Clinic Florida
● Tommy Inzina, CEO, BayCare Health System
● Pam Iorio, president and CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
● Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County Public Schools
● Todd Jones, CEO, Publix
● Joseph G. Joyner, president, Flagler College
● Brian E. Keeley, president and CEO, Baptist Health South Florida Inc.
● Scott P. Keith, regional president, Truist Bank
● John Kelly, president, Florida Atlantic University
● Thomas D. Kmetz, president, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
● Keith Koenig, CEO, City Furniture
● Jack Kolosky, president, Moffitt Hospital
● Mari Kuraishi, CEO, Jessie Ball duPont Fund
● David Lawrence Jr., chair, The Children’s Movement of Florida
● Sen. George LeMieux, chairman of the board, Gunster
● Paul Leone, CEO, The Breakers Hotel
● Dr. Charles J. Lockwood, sr. VP USF Health, University of South Florida
● Eric K. Mann, CEO, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast
● Amy Margerum Berg, president, The Better Angels Society
● Alex Martins, CEO, Orlando Magic
● Brett McClung, president and CEO, Baptist Health
● Carlos A. Migoya, president and CEO, Jackson Health System
● David Miller, executive chairman, Brightway Insurance
● Jeanne M. Miller, CEO, Jacksonville Civic Council
● Michael Munz, CEO, Rummell Munz Partners LLC
● Dr. David R. Nelson, president, UF Health University of Florida
● Rusty Newton, chairman, Timucuan Asset Management
● Gary Norcross, chairman, president and CEO, FIS
● James O’Leary, president and CEO, Haskell
● Donna Orender, CEO, Orender Unlimited
● Joc O’Rourke, president and CEO, The Mosaic Company
● Lisa Palmer, president and CEO, Regency Centers
● Fred Pezeshkan, chairman of the board, Summit Management Group-Florida
● Lou Plasencia, CEO, The Plasencia Group
● Olga M. Ramudo, president and CEO, Express Travel
● Paul Reilly, chairman and CEO, Raymond James Financial
● John Rivers, CEO, 4 Rivers
● Kenneth D. Robinson, president, Dr. Phillips Charities
● Frank Rodriguez, chairman emeritus, Corporate Creations
● Dr. Christopher Roellke, president, Stetson University
● Mark B. Rosenberg, president, Florida International University
● Peter Rummell, former chair, Florida Council of 100
● Mike Santarone, CEO, Stellar
● Gino R. Santorio, president and CEO, Broward Health
● Shawn Seipler, CEO/founder, Clean the World Foundation
● Kathleen Shanahan, co-chair, Turtle & Hughes
● Linda Sherrer, founder and chairman, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty
● Kent Shoemaker, CEO, Lipman Family Farms
● Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light Company
● Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County Inc.
● Greg Spencer, CEO, Timbers Resorts
● Martin (Hap) E. Stein Jr., executive chairman, Regency Centers
● Robert (Bobby) L. Stein, president, The Regency Group
● Stuart Sternberg, principal owner, Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Rowdies
● Cindy Stover, North Florida market president, TD Bank
● David Strong, president and CEO, Orlando Health
● David T. Sweeney, CEO, RS&H Inc.
● Bob Swindell, president and CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance
● T.J. Szelistowski, president, TECO Peoples Gas System
● David M. Szymanski, president, University of North Florida
● Bradley Talbert, president and CEO, Memorial Hospital Jacksonville
● Hugh Tappan, president & CEO, HCA Healthcare South Atlantic Division
● John J. Taylor III, president and CEO, J.J. Taylor Companies Inc.
● Troy D. Taylor, chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida LLC
● John Thrasher, president, Florida State University
● Dr. Kent R. Thielen, CEO, Mayo Clinic in Florida
● Russ Thomas, CEO, Availity LLC
● Daryl Tol, president and CEO, AdventHealth/Central Florida Division
● Nancy Tower, president and CEO, Tampa Electric Co.
● Tom Vanosdol, president and CEO, Ascension Florida
● Dr. Ronald L. Vaughn, president, University of Tampa
● Jeff Vinik, owner, Tampa Bay Lightning
● Bob Ward, president and CEO, Florida Council of 100
● Will Weatherford, managing partner, Weatherford Capital
● Eric Woolworth, president of business operations, Miami Heat
● Bill Yeargin, CEO, Correct Craft
● Sam Zietz, president and CEO, TouchSuite