Unprecedented. Crazy. Surreal.
As powerful as the English language is, there are no words strong enough to describe the past two weeks. The first coronavirus case was reported in Virginia on March 7 – a Marine living at Quantico who was hospitalized at Fort Belvoir after returning from an overseas deployment. Since then, to say the world has turned upside down might be an understatement.
Within 12 days, Virginia had 77 cases and its first two deaths from the disease. Those numbers are going to increase, perhaps exponentially.
Events are moving so fast, it’s difficult even for those of us in the news business to keep up. Many public gatherings were postponed, then canceled. Schools announced they would be closed a day or two, then a week or two, and now at least until mid-April and perhaps for the rest of the school year. We were told to avoid being around more than 250 people, then 100, then 50, then 10.
At this point, it’s tough to have visibility as to when life might return to normal – if it will return to normal.
Still as with any crisis, heroes emerge. The doctors, nurses and other staff members at Inova, Sentara, Novant and our other local hospitals who literally put themselves in danger every time they treat a patient – and whose work may, unfortunately, just be starting. The cashiers and other employees at our local grocery stores who are reporting to work every day to keep shelves stocked and customers safe. The restaurateurs and other small business owners who are coming up with creative ways to keep their doors open and their employees paid.
We applaud, too, the quick reaction of the local school systems and county governments to close schools and shut down all non-critical functions, such as libraries and recreation centers. Although the closures may have been rolled out in a confusing manner, local leaders are not to blame. They acted on the best information they had at the moment.
And here at InsideNoVa, we are doing our best to keep you up to date on the latest developments. Thanks to the “cloud,” our staff can work from home and conduct most interviews over the phone or via email. In the 10 days since the first case was reported in Virginia, we had nearly 600,000 visitors to InsideNoVa.com – three to four times our normal traffic.
We believe our role as a news organization is to connect our community – to each other, to critical information and to local businesses. As we hunker down to stop the spread of this disease, those connections will become more important than ever. If you know of local residents doing good things during this crisis or of ways people can help, please let us know using this form. We want to share those stories.
And we thank you for trusting us to keep you informed during this crisis. Stay safe and stay healthy!