Letter from… Florida

By Megan Kovach, Senior Executive

Being an American has always been something I am proud of. 

‘Land of the Free’ and ‘Home of the Brave’ are anthems that have echoed since the birth of our nation in 1776.  

The flag that stands for freedom, a democracy in a republic and one nation under God are truths I’ve lived by for the past twenty-four years. 

In sunny Florida, American flags wave on every corner street, friendly smiles are frequently given, and Sundays are always reserved for giving thanks to the Lord. 

After spending the past two years living abroad in London, I never realized how distinguished American characteristics are:  A great work ethic, a love for McDonalds, and above all, a fundamental devotion to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Although these principles are what makes our great nation, I can’t help but wonder if our focus on freedom has compromised the health and safety of our country and its people throughout this COVID-19 pandemic?  

Yesterday, the United States reported 36,880 new coronavirus cases, the largest one-day total since the start of the outbreak.

In just 5 short months, what started as 15 known cases of coronavirus at the start of February has now escalated to a mass pandemic that has infected over 2.4 million Americans. 

Jobs have been lost, businesses gone bankrupt, hospitals have reached capacity, and thousands of American lives were taken too soon as a result of this deadly pandemic. 

Things appear to be getting worse, not better, as the US now faces a second wave of COVID-19, still with no cure at hand. 

Florida has now intensified as one of the top epicenters of the disease, reporting a daily record of 5,508 new infections and a total of over 100,000 cases of coronavirus in the state alone. 

Governor Ron DeSantis continues to progress with Florida’s plans to reopen the economy, while the World Health Organization warns that America may have to reimpose lockdown restrictions if we are not able to control the spread of the virus.  

As cases rapidly increase, many Floridians continue to ignore the protocols put in place for social distancing and lockdown restrictions. 

Beaches are packed, bars are flooded, and shops and restaurants are readily open for business, all eager to resume normality without considering the cost. 

Effective from 5:00 pm Wednesday evening, in over an eight-hour meeting, Pinellas County commissioners finally approved a mandatory face mask ordinance, where citizens of Tampa Bay are now required to wear facemasks in all public spaces in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

As I look to my friends and colleagues in the UK and Italy who have faithfully abided by the lockdown measures, I can’t help but think that America may have played this pandemic all wrong. 

As my father is a doctor, it’s scary to think of what the results of this could bring.  

Although we are still the land of the free and our flag continues to fly high, freedom always comes with responsibility. 

As a nation, we have a duty to put our own personal desires aside for the greater good of humanity and help put a stop to this virus once and for all.