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Coronavirus Virginia As of 11:30 am Thursday

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by A Siegel

It’s late-morning on Thursday, and there are now at least eight confirmed Coronavirus cases in Virginianine 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.

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 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.

 

 

 

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