Home Coronavirus Video: On Stafford NAACP Call, Virginia Health Commissioner Warns of Potentially “Devastating”...

Video: On Stafford NAACP Call, Virginia Health Commissioner Warns of Potentially “Devastating” “Second Wave” of COVID-19 This Fall

"If we get any indication we've got another wave coming, yes, I do think we're going to have to take some serious steps to protect you"

2

See below for video of an excellent, interesting, informative conversation, put together by the Stafford County NAACP, and including Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver; plus Delegates Delores McQuinn (D-HD70), Joshua Cole (D-HD28) and Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-HD2). A few key points include:

  • Del. McQuinn – who had COVID19 and recovered – urged that everyone protect themselves and others, adding: “This thing is deadly, it’s vicious, it’s notorious, it’s mean…My message to my sisters and brothers…[is] we want you to stay alive. This thing has one objective – if it’s transmitted to you, hopefully your body and your immune system is strong enough to fight it, but the other thing is it’s objective is to attach itself to you, and not just spread on you, but spread in you…I’ve gone out to Walmart…and the number of individuals I’ve seen who are not practicing CDC guidelines…I’m just shamed by it.”
  • Del. Carroll Foy said she’s excited that the Northam administration is ramping up “contact tracing,” that there’s a COVID19 health equity workgroup, and that more community testing is going on (for the most part free) – “so there’s no excuse why anyone should not know their status if they’re positive for COVID19.” Del. Carroll Foy also pointed to efforts addressing homelessness. What more can we do? Del. Carroll Foy anticipates that there will be a special session that’s COVID19-related, and would like to see: vote-by-mail (“we don’t want to be Wisconsin”); paid sick days (“how many people can use 14 days of paid sick days to take care of themselves and their love ones if they became sick?”); eviction (“we’ve halted evictions here in Virginia, but then what?”). She also mentioned the negative impacts stemming from the “lack of access to clean air and clean water, which are environmental impacts that African-Americans bear the brunt of because it’s where we live and where these utilities and businesses sometimes decide to place their power plants and coal ash plants.”
  • Del. Cole said, “we see it on TV…on social media, but until we know someone who we know personally who has had this…it’s not really going to hit home.” Del. Cole said he’s had at least five family members who’ve contracted the virus, and “at least 15 pastors that have…succumbed to the virus.” So, “we have to take this seriously.” On possible legislation to address this crisis, Del. Cole said there’s not a lot delegates can do right now, because they’re not in session, but that hopefully there will be a special session. On whether it’s safe to return back to church, Del. Cole – who is a pastor himself – said “use spiritual wisdom” and follow guidelines (social distancing, sanitizing, 50% capacity)…“be very, very careful…as relates to opening the doors of the church.”
  • VDH Commissioner Oliver said: “In this current wave, what we did was…we shut down almost everything except for essential businesses, and if you look at what happened…we tamped down the spread of the disease in the Commonwealth of Virginia…there’s probably a couple hundred thousand cases that we prevented from happening…We’re starting to ease up and open a little bit…we should be very cautious about that…maintain the social distancing…if you’re out in public, you should be wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently…[need] to do as much testing as we possibly can, particularly in the most vulnerable communities…I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here, but I do want to put out a word of caution here. We’re going to move into the fall, flu season is going to start October-ish, and when you talk about a second wave of coronavirus, it could happen around the same time; it could be devastating unless we are prepared for it. Now…it’s above my pay grade to be talking about whether or not we’re going to shut everything down, so I’m not going to say that, but what I will say is we need to be looking at what’s happening, don’t just say, oh it’s all over and we can go back to the way things used to be. We’ve got to watch those numbers, and if we get any indication we’ve got another wave coming, yes, I do think we’re going to have to take some serious steps to protect you.” Asked whether there are things people can do to build up their immune systems, Dr. Oliver noted that “the real problem is structural racism when you come right down to it; our communities have been economically disinvested it…can’t get [healthy food] from a 7-11…go exercise, really? What park am I supposed to go to that’s a safe park for me to go and take my family?…We’ve got the food problem…lack of jobs, lack of insurance, lack of access to really good healthcare…these are the huge issues we have to address….What we really need…is another big civil rights movement…a massive sort of social pressure, so that people…in government feel the heat and start doing things to protect communities of color.”