By Mayor George “Bud” Scholl
(Friday, May 15, 2020) – A new month moves us one step closer to what has been dubbed our ‘new normal.’ We have been trying to find a routine and adjust to our temporary new way of living. Social distancing is no longer a choice; it is the key to defeating the coronavirus. As the State and County initiate the first phase of reopening, the city reopened select parks last week and will follow suit with Miami-Dade County to reopen restaurants and businesses, anticipated to be May 18. As Florida takes a slow and methodical approach to getting back on our feet, we must ensure that we are taking the smartest efforts to keep our residents safe. Now is the time to come together as a community (while staying six feet apart) to show respect, kindness, and gratitude for each other, for where we are, and for those that are doing what they can to make our lives a little better each day.
I know many of you are focused on the numbers, but we have learned that the numbers do not paint a robust picture of the widespread nature of the virus. We must still operate under the assumption that everyone around us, including ourselves, has the virus. If you do not want to stay distanced for yourself, stay distanced for your parents, grandparents, children, healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and all other front-line essential workers.
Despite the adversities, I know we will make it through this. And there are numerous reasons to be optimistic. Many in our community are making efforts to aid their neighbors by organizing food drives, assisting the elderly with groceries, and most importantly, staying home.
Every day there are new scientific breakthroughs in the battle against coronavirus. As I have mentioned in the past, much of my work with OneBlood has been focused on COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) as a therapy for those fighting the virus. CCP is collected from people who have recovered from the coronavirus as they developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma part of their blood. When the plasma is transfused, these antibodies can provide a boost to the patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover. With so much uncertainty around coronavirus treatments, we are encouraged that CCP will offer a therapeutic remedy for severely ill patients. We are also starting to provide CCP to companies working on bloodderived therapies to assist in developing COVID-19 hyperimmune globulin (COVID-HIG). COVID-HIG is a product developed by concentrating antibodies found in CCP into a therapeutic product. By expanding the treatment options for patients with COVID-19 and the providers caring for them, these blood-derived therapies have the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19.
Though it might seem challenging, we must hold on to hope now more than ever. There will be light at the end of this long and tedious tunnel; we just need to stay positive, continue adhering to CDC guidelines, City, County and State orders, and put the safety of ourselves and our community first. Attitude is a choice. You can focus on the negative or you can choose a more positive approach. Throughout this pandemic I have received a tremendous amount of correspondence; surprisingly, equal parts positive and negative. Unsurprisingly, many of the negative ones choose social media or a more public forum whereas the positive ones more typically choose direct contact. I do appreciate anyone expressing their opinion as there is no one size fits all solution to our situation and we are all learning everyday. But try to keep in mind that we are all in this together. ‘We’ is always stronger than ‘me.