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Merck; Betty Griffin Center; Trulieve; Local sports

The Merck logo is on a stained glass panel illuminated from behind against a black background.
Mel Evans/AP
FILE - This Dec.18, 2014, file photo, shows the Merck logo on a stained glass panel at a Merck company building in Kenilworth, N.J. Merck & Co. announced Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus and that it would soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize its use.

This weekend, the U.S. surpassed 700,000 deaths due to COVID-19. The death toll makes this pandemic the deadliest in American history, surpassing the influenza pandemic of the early 20th century.

The number of new cases started to fall in Florida, but the death rate remains high. Meanwhile, vaccination numbers are rising, and pharmaceutical company Merck announced new research on a pill used to treat the virus.

Guest: Dr. Chirag Patel, assistant chief medical officer at UF Health Jacksonville.

Betty Griffin Center

After a 25-year tenure with the Betty Griffin Center in St. Johns County, CEO Joyce Mahr announced her retirement. She continues to support the center’s work as Domestic Violence Awareness Month kicks off.

Guest: Joyce Mahr, former CEO of BGC.


Trulieve, the state’s largest medical marijuana operator, is now the nation’s biggest cannabis retailer after acquiring a former competitor, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. last week.

Guest: Sally Kent Peebles, a partner with Vicente Sedergerg and a member of the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.

Local Sports

WJCT Sports Analyst Josh Torres joined us with updates on the Jaguars, including a video that went viral this weekend showing Coach Urban Meyer with a woman who is not his wife dancing on him at a bar.

First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.

Katherine Hobbs joined WJCT as an associate producer of talk shows following her internship.