Day Five: It’s here (even if Richmond doesn’t think so)

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Things definitely got worse overnight. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States have doubled since Wednesday (when there were 7,660 cases). This afternoon there are 16,638. At least 216 people have died, a number that has also doubled since Thursday.

We know the numbers are suggestive and far from precise. For example, the Virginia Department of Health) lists 114 confirmed cases in the commonwealth today. But the state’s website doesn’t include the first confirmed case in Southwest Virginia – which local news outlets informed us about yesterday.

screenshot from Roanoke.com (link above)
Southwest Virginia’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 from: https://www.roanoke.com/news/local/southwest-virginia-sees-first-covid–case/article_1507de32-a6ec-5dc9-bcbc-6ce9b726f247.html

We rural people are used to being ignored by the more populous regions of the state. (Don’t come over here on election night when the newscasters are impatiently waiting for returns from the DC suburbs, because “that’s where the people are!”) But this seems like a dangerous error. The testing is limited enough…because the test kits are in short supply, because the administration decided that the WHO’s test, which had served millions of people elsewhere wasn’t good enough for us, and maybe this thing really isn’t going to take off here, and maybe it will just die out on its own accord, and……..

Whatever.

There’s still no need to overlook and not count isolated cases that are geographically distant from population centers where the outbreak is more severe. It’s just going to make those of us who know better more anxious and lull everyone else into thinking that they don’t have to worry, at least not yet.

Map of COVID 19 cases in VA 3-20-20
VA Health Department reports 114 confirmed cases of COVID-19 today. That number doesn’t include patient from SW VA as reported in the Roanoke times yesterday. from: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/
COVID19 cases in VA - indicating 0 cases in SW VA
VA Health Department misses confirmed case of COVID-19 in Roanoke (patient is from Botetourt County
from: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/
Map of COVID-19 Cases in VA 3-20-20
VA Health Department misses confirmed case of COVID-19 in Roanoke (patient is from Botetourt County from: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

Meanwhile, I got to FaceTime with my mom today. She seemed happy and not at all concerned about the virus or anything else for that matter. I’ve also entered the endless Zoom loop that other teleworkers have been experiencing for the last couple of weeks. After nearly four hours of meetings, I’m struck by how hard it is to pretend like things are normal and how determined some people are to carry on as though they are. Or maybe we need to spend some time accomplishing something besides pandemic prep and resistance? I am proud of my ability to slay a ton of email while attending the meeting and participating in the chat. I wish I’d bought stock in Zoom a few weeks ago.

In any case, things will get worse before they get better. But they will get better. One day at a time.

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