JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NBC) – Hundreds of doctors are trying to pressure Jacksonville’s Mayor and City Council to postpone or scale back the Republican National Convention because of COVID-19 in a new letter.
President Trump is expected to accept the GOP nomination in late August at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.
The letter to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and the city council points out more than 40,000 people are expected to attend the RNC from all over the country.
“The city just received this letter and we are reviewing it now and will respond to the doctor who sent it to us… we consult with multiple medical experts everyday,” Jacksonville Director of Public Affairs Nikki Kimbleton said
The doctors also warn there will be an increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations, long-term health problems, and deaths as a result of the convention.
“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,” the letter says.
Orange Park Oncologist Linda Sylvester added her name to the letter because she wants to see the city follow CDC guidelines.
“I think they should really postpone the RNC until after we get a vaccine, but I know that’s not possible. I think they need to reinvent what they’ll do – with a Zoom or smaller convention,” Sylvester said.
Jacksonville Gynecologist Tiffany Wells hopes the letter will force the city of Jacksonville to come out with a plan on how it will keep visitors and residents safe.
“We are seeing this spike right now….we need to plan for the worst. there needs to be a plan in place, we can just wing it at the time when our numbers are still surging,” Well said.
The City of Jacksonville announced masks will be required in “public and indoor locations” and wherever social distancing cannot be practiced.
The mandate announced by city officials Monday afternoon comes as new cases of coronavirus continue to increase by the thousands each day in Florida. More than 5,000 new cases were announced by the Department of Health Monday morning.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday doubled down on his decision to not implement a statewide mask mandate. Instead, he said he’s trusting people to make good decisions.
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