Governor Mills: COVID-19 is not taking Super Bowl Sunday off.

February 5, 2021

Boy I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love a Super Bowl party. And, while I have no favorite, I’ll be very excited to watch the fireworks between Tom Brady, making his tenth Super Bowl appearance, and the much younger Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City with its superior record of 16 wins and 2 losses.

Hey this is Janet Mills, Governor of the great State of Maine. Thank you for listening.

Regardless of the odds and the outcome of the game, you should know that the NFL is taking every precaution to avoid this Sunday’s game becoming a super spreader event, with the COVID-19 virus scoring extra points.

So, as tempting as it is to watch the game at your favorite watering hole, or to get together at someone’s house who has a big screen tv, please don’t forget the silent and ever-present danger of COVID-19 which could ruin your game or could even take your life. COVID-19 is not taking Super Bowl Sunday off.

In the good news category, late last week I got a call from Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, inviting me to identify four Maine healthcare workers who would enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to the Super Bowl with roundtrip travel on the Patriots jet.

Wow, we are so grateful for the generosity of the Patriots and the Kraft family. Four health care superheroes, who have been fully vaccinated are attending the game in Tampa. I want to personally congratulate:

Joe Looper, an Emergency Department Nurse at Mercy Hospital, also a member of the National Guard who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

And Cathy Bean, manager of Clinical and Community Health Services Northern Light Home Care & Hospice.

Lisa Ireland, an RN at RiverRidge Center who is on the frontlines of this pandemic every day.

And Dr. Patrick Keaney, pulmonary physician at Mid-Coast Hospital who has both cared for the patients in that hospital, COVID-19 patients, and served as the hospital’s source of information, sometimes working six weeks straight without a break.

This special gift from the Patriots and the Kraft family can in no way fully expresses our gratitude to the thousands of frontline healthcare workers in Maine, all of them, whether physicians, CNAs, nurses, therapists, EMTs or support staff – professionals who comforted patients as they took their last breath; staff who provided a lifeline to critical care patients isolated and deprived of contact with loved ones.

It is those individuals who have spent their days and nights for ten months straight keeping people alive in the ICUs, in the nursing facilities, in emergency rooms and ambulances across our state, putting themselves and their own families at risk.

It is those same courageous individuals we should think about before deciding to have a party Sunday evening or before joining an impromptu crowd to celebrate the winning touchdown and ignore basic public health precautions. At any party without social distancing, COVID-19 will be a silent spectator.

I also want to thank the healthcare professionals who are providing their precious time, on-duty and off-duty, coming out of retirement and working at our new mass vaccination clinics, giving a shot of hope to communities all across Maine. The excitement is contagious, sighs of anticipation and relief are palpable.

I hope that you will join me in honoring all of our health care heroes. Honor them and protect them by watching Sunday’s game safely at home without a crowd instead of hosting or attending a party where COVID-19 can spread. It’s a small inconvenience, a small sacrifice to make for a lot of good reasons this year, so we can all get together next year and watch Tom Brady’s 11thappearance at the Super Bowl.

Remember, COVID-19 doesn’t care who you are rooting for, so please wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.

This is Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.