4/28/20 COVID-19 Update

As we head into the sixth week of the coronavirus emergency in our region, the recommendations for personal safety and health have stabilized. You should continue with:

– Maximal social distancing
– Wear a mask in public
– Cough and sneeze into your sleeve even if you are wearing a mask
– Wash your hands frequently
– Don’t touch your face

Our curve for total COVID-19 cases remains about the same. We may be beginning to see some flattening of the curve. Here is a graph from some data that I have been tracking from the Fairfax County Health Department:

As news stories continue to inform, one of the early “myths” about COVID-19 was that it was essentially a problem for older people with health problems. This has been demonstrated to be false not only in popular news reporting, but also in scientific studies that have come out. The CDC looked at COVID-19 cases in healthcare workers from Feb. 12-March 7 and it shows the median age of infection is 42 years old and 73% were women. About 90% did not require hospitalization, but severe illness occurred in all age groups.

The Virginia stay-at-home order is still in effect until June 10, 2020. However, the governor’s restriction on elective surgery is currently scheduled to end this Friday, May 1st. With that order in mind, regional medical centers are planning to start opening their surgical facilities. This will be a slow process, as significant safety precautions will still need to be in place. So things will not just “go back to normal”, but rather the most urgent of the elective surgeries will be prioritized and the number of operating rooms and number of procedures per operating room will be severely limited due to special cleaning processes. Other regions of the country are also starting to re-open on a limited basis. I suspect this is going to be the “new normal” for a while – open, but different.

Last week I mentioned that washing down your groceries was likely not necessary. Here is a short video from a professor of Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech.

We know this can be a stressful time, and I have found links to three free e-books to help you reduce stress and anxiety.

Stay safe. Stay apart. We will see you soon.