by A Siegel
It’s late-morning on Thursday, and there are now at least eight confirmed Coronavirus cases in Virginia…nine cases, as of 11 am, according to the Virginia Department of Health website … or is it 11 or … who knows in an hour?). We have near certainty that this is understating the actual cases. Like in the rest of the United States, primarily because of the criminal negligence of Donald Trump and his co-conspirators, Virginia simply doesn’t have the extent of testing capacity necessary, and that is occurring across the rest of the world.
This “it would be funny if not so deadly serious” absurdity is exemplified with the news that Representative Don Beyer (D-VA8) might have coronavirus, but that there is no testing available to make sure one way or the other. To be clear, as his press spokesman emphasizes, this isn’t about getting Rep. Beyer some sort of VIP treatment, but about the network of people he interacts with and the risk that his possibly being infected causes for others.
People ask “did @RepDonBeyer get tested for COVID-19?” No he did not.
We tried to get a test for him, not bc he is special, but bc of who he interacts with. Thought it important to know ASAP.
But there aren’t enough tests, he didn’t meet the risk threshold. Member of Congress.
— Aaron Fritschner (@Fritschner) March 12, 2020
Now, across Virginia, institutions and individuals are grappling with how to deal with coronavirus. Universities and school systems (Loudoun County, as of today) are moving to virtual education and otherwise taking measures to reduce social interactions. Businesses are cancelling conferences and moving workers, increasingly, to telecommuting. Richmond is seeking to restrict large public events and boosting communication paths to the community.
In the interest of public health, my administration is recommending postponement of large events. To make sure the public has access to reliable information, we've also started a live update page: https://t.co/L1WD0Oc4bi
— Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) March 12, 2020
In our daily lives, individuals are taking a variety of measures to practice social distancing and otherwise try to ‘flatten the curve’ to reduce the speed (and hopefully extent) of disease transmission to improve our medical system’s ability to handle the pandemic.
Even when seeing people in person, even as it decreases, handshakes are falling by the wayside as people say namaste with a bow, tap elbows, or do the “ebola” greeting of tapping feet rather than shaking hands.
While some commerce is booming (those empty toilet paper and rubbing alcohol shelves at all stores along with canned goods purchases skyrocketing as people seek 14 days of supplies), from medical offices to retail stores, most commerce is taking a real hit as people are making choices about whether and how they wish to interact with others.
As one non-expert to others, though one bounded by the real world unlike Trump, it is clear that the situation will worsen and the implications for society, institutions, and daily lives expand.
Credit to those of our leaders and decision-makers (whether elected officials to public health specialists to school superintendents to business executives to non-profit heads to …) who are taking Coronavirus seriously, working through options and planning, and acting to stay ahead of the situation to help flatten the curve rather than seeking to close the barn door after the animals have escaped.
Trump is closing the barn door after the horse has already got out.
Coronavirus is here. We need testing, social distancing, support for thosevmost vulnerable, and a rapid buildout of treatment capacity.
Cutting off Europe is misdirection from his administration's failures.
— Ramez Naam (@ramez) March 12, 2020
"I live in a castle. I'll pull up the drawbridge and #Covid19 can't swim."
This has nothing to do with the reality.@Laurie_Garrett
— A Siegel (@A_Siegel) March 12, 2020
- CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19), Virginia Department of Health