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Head Of Duval Medical Society Foundation: Go Virtual For The Holidays To Combat COVID

Jacquelyn Martin
Associated Press
Rabbi Haim Ovadia leads a virtual minyan as 32 people attending his Zoom meeting pray with him in this April 2020 file photo.

As COVID-19 cases spike in Florida and across the nation, Dr. Sunil Joshi, the head of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, said Monday he's very concerned about people's joining together on Thanksgiving.

Joshi realizes COVID fatigue is setting in across the nation but stresses people can’t let their guards down.

“We have to kind of stay vigilant in particular over the Thanksgiving, Christmas holidays, Hanukkah, all of the holidays that we have coming up for the next six to eight weeks,” Joshi said Monday on WJCT News'First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.

Joshi said this is not the year to invite friends or family who don’t already live with you over to dinner. Instead, he suggested a virtual gathering.

“This is another thing that we can do virtually. Set up that laptop, you know, while you're eating your Thanksgiving dinner and you could still eat with your friends and family. I know it's not the same as hugging and doing high fives or watching football games, but it is a way to still interact with people that you love without putting people unnecessarily at risk," he said.

As of Monday afternoon, the nation was nearing 11 million COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with more than 245,470 total deaths.

Over the past seven days in Florida there have been 40,285 new cases, according to the CDC. The Florida Department of Health reported 885,201 today COVID-19 cases in the state Monday afternoon.

On Sunday, Florida saw its biggest one-day spike since July, with an increase of 10,105 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Duval County reported on its COVID-19 dashboard Monday that 553 have died in the county from coronavirus-related illnesses with a total of 38,569 cases confirmed since record keeping began.

“Even if just 1% of the people are requiring hospitalization, that could be enough to overwhelm any health care system in this country, but in particular, those here in Northeast Florida,” said Joshi.

He pointed out that we’re heading into the heart of the normal flu season as well.

“This is the time of year where our respiratory viruses tend to peak," he said.

To hear the entire interview with Joshi, listen to Monday’sFirst Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The show also encores at 8 p.m. on WJCT News 89.9.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.