To the editor:
What are you going to do? When are you going to do it? We have been sitting in our homes practicing “social distancing” or traveling to a store to acquire needed supplies. Rather than viewing our neighbors or acquaintances as friends, we view them with fear as carriers of the invisible COVID-19 virus. They are treated as a threat and with suspicion. Our challenge is to overcome this fear by re-engaging with each other.
During the past two months, we earned a Ph.D degree in washing our hands, not touching our face and measuring the distance of six feet. As students, we have learned our lessons well and now it is time to put into practice what we have learned. The big question is, “Will the teachers let us?”
The federal and state governments have established a strong partnership to fight the impact of COVID-19. The federal government has provided guidance, established supply chains, encouraged business partnerships, reduced bureaucratic red tape and provided survival funding. A governor, the state’s senior elected official, functions as the CEO, as the doer, who is responsible for the deployment and utilization of anti-virus resources within their state. A state’s CEO knows their state best and has established “COVID-19 guidance rules” that must be followed by individuals and businesses. It is now time for a governor to delegate implementation of these guidance rules to city/county governments.
Virginia is a large state, with most of its land being classified as rural. If one looks at the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 website, one can view the virus’s current impact, including cases, hospitalizations and deaths. As one selects each county, one sees that that most counties have experienced limited hospitalizations and the majority have seen no deaths.
The following statistics represent current COVID-19 experiences for small, medium and large Virginia population densities (as of May 26): Louisa County – 73 cases, one death; Henrico County – 1,546 cases, 118 deaths; Fairfax County – 9,839 cases, 340 deaths. Each different; each requiring a different strategy.
Rather than wait until June 10, why not have Governor Northam’s administration establish general COVID-19 compliance guidelines, as was done by the federal government, and delegate operational responsibility to city/county governments? Let Richmond follow the lead of other states; define Virginia’s guidelines and let local elected officials manage their community’s return to normalcy.
Louisa elected officials know our county and are in the best position to “manage” our re-entry into normalcy. Wouldn’t it have been nice to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend with family and friends? Rather than cancel the July 4 celebration, why not scale back planned activities but allow some form of celebration? Why not follow the example of Louisa County High School and evolve a strategy that satisfies graduating students and their families while following social distancing guidelines?
As stated earlier, we have earned our degree in fighting the virus. The big question is whether we can implement what we have learned.