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November 2, 2020 · OPINION

Politics aside, do your part to stop COVID-19 spread

By April Achter
Health Department Epidemiologist

When I wrote to you back in April, COVID-19 was new. Our community was anxious. We were all struggling to learn, keep up with ever-changing recommendations, and ready to do whatever necessary to protect our loved ones and ourselves.

It is now October, and your small but mighty public health team is tired. The work has been hard, but the greater challenge has been dealing with the politicization of the pandemic, along with the animosity and distrust leveled against public health. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus, a respiratory pathogen that will neither be solved nor worsened by the outcome of Tuesday’s election.

COVID-19 is surging across the country. The United States daily case average over the past week was over 71,000, the most in any seven-day stretch of the pandemic. There are more than 46,600 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized. Unlike earlier months, these patients are being cared for in more sparsely populated areas of the country, where medical infrastructure is less robust.

Most models predict that the next few weeks and months will be the worst. Models, however, cannot account for human behavior. We still have the opportunity to make a difference in our community.

We know that you are tired, too. And wondering how long this will last or how it can be fixed. We struggle to find balance. How do we maintain essential services, keep our restaurants and businesses open, and continue to protect our residents?

We start by remembering that safety is not the absence of risk. Safety means finding an acceptable balance between risk and benefit. The way we return to all the things we are missing is to keep our case counts low. You can help by:

• Wearing your mask. Period. This has become a political statement, and it does not need to be. Public health recommendations change as we learn, and the current evidence shows that masks have a protective effect to reduce the spread of illness.

• Watching your distance. We ask that you maintain 6 feet of distance between persons whenever feasible. When you cannot, wear your mask.

• Washing your hands. The single, most effective way to control the spread of any communicable disease is good, frequent handwashing. Hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol works. too, as long as hands are not visibly soiled.

We can take the steps above to reduce the spread and burden on our community. We have to.

A Warrenton resident, the writer works as the Rappahannock Rapidan Health District’s population health director. The district includes Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Madison and Orange counties.



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badelectronics · November 9, 2020 at 9:42 am
@Tony, I wish you folks well.
Tony Bentley · November 8, 2020 at 6:28 pm
My wife contracted Covid-19 and is doing good, except for one very important thing, she has lost her sense of taste and smell. It is said to be a common symptom and temporary. We sure hope so as her career is as a Chef and a Baker. It's scary what this virus does to the body.
Savefauquiercounty2019 · November 4, 2020 at 5:50 am
Why is it that the health departments don't inspect physician offices? Who oversees them? Some physicians use local community apartment washing machines to do their laundering. The temperatures may not be high enough to kill c diff or esbl. They don't use professional housekeeping services. So the community can go to a doctor's office and be exposed. Start informing the community to stop touching door knobs, elevator buttons and sit on doctors office chas
AngryBob · November 3, 2020 at 3:50 pm
Lol. 😉

I do wear a mask. Worst part is I can smell my own breath (yuck!).

(And you've ALL thought that at some point.)
HappyBob · November 3, 2020 at 3:16 pm
FairandBalanced I'm wearing a mask from now on, I'm back on my meds. But if I go off of them AngryBob comes out
Jerome Fields · November 3, 2020 at 9:03 am
Truepat is the only one that comments on here that says he/she has had CV-19. I say we listen to him/her.

Wear a mask, don't wear a mask, it's your choice, but don't starting crying if you become ill or make someone else ill, you were informed, not right away due to negligence on the authorities part, but you know now.
FairandBalanced · November 3, 2020 at 7:59 am
The First Election Day Results Are Already In, Thanks To A Quirky Old Law
And the very first official Election Day voter is a Republican casting his ballot for Biden.
Truepat · November 3, 2020 at 6:20 am
As a survivor of Covid-19 I would strongly suggest you quit worrying about who to blame and get your immune system working because the specialists told me that's what made the difference with me, because everyone will most likely be exposed at some point...
FairandBalanced · November 3, 2020 at 12:08 am
AngryBob, what exactly is your problem with wearing a mask? It does no harm and it might protect.
AngryBob · November 2, 2020 at 10:02 pm
Sammy, when the pendulum swings the other way and we have a legislature of reasonable minds, I implore them to remove that power from the governor. Whoever or whatever party that person is.

Yes, I wear my Wuflu mask. And that has nothing to do with Governor Blackface. He should have resigned.
Sammy · November 2, 2020 at 5:10 pm
angrybob .. virginia Code

https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title44/chapter3.2/section44-146.17/

empowers Gov to "issue any of these mandates."

WTOP says virginia approves of Northam's crisis handling

https://wtop.com/coronavirus/2020/10/poll-virginia-voters-approve-of-northams-handling-of-pandemic-think-restrictions-about-right/

your views differ but law enables and virginians approve
EducatedCitizen · November 2, 2020 at 12:26 pm
@Jerome - Amen!!!
Jerome Fields · November 2, 2020 at 11:13 am
We've been following the recommendations since day one and are still healthy.

My wife had to travel to rural Nebraska for a family emergency, and she said most people were not wearing masks and gave her the side eye. Cases are exploding there, and my SIL's mother died yesterday from Covid.

So much for expressing your freedom, don't take that away, even if you die. You all are busy telling women what to do with their bodies but no one can tell you to wear a mask.

However you feel, it's your prerogative to not wear a mask, but stay away from me, you thoughtless cretins.

Cammie Rodgers · November 2, 2020 at 10:32 am
This is not a Blue or Red issues, this is a human issue. I don't want anyone to become ill with this virus, whatever side of the political spectrum you are on.

AngryBob - I have zero respect for our current POTUS because he didn't use his authority to do what was needed to stop the spread, and continues to make it all about him.
AngryBob · November 2, 2020 at 10:26 am
The issue isn't the mask. It's the governor. I have zero respect for our current governor and do not recognize his authority to issue any of these mandates.
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