WASHINGTON — The past few days have brought the District of Columbia some bad news, and good news, in her struggles with the coronavirus pandemic. But there are three things we can each do to help in our fight against the spread.
It was reported Friday that the District and our surrounding suburbs have the highest rates of people testing positive for the virus in the nation. This comes despite our collective efforts to contain the spread and flatten our curve. This is the bad.
For the region to safely and successfully ease the restrictions that are currently in place, we need to see positive movement in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our area.
Now for the good: One of the key elements of containment is testing, and contact tracing. Due to a lack of testing equipment, labs and people to carry out the necessary groundwork since we haven't been able to contain the spread of the virus.
It's these limitations that have been principal in keeping local businesses from properly opening and allowing residents the social contacts and life we are used to. But, it is now expected that by June or early July there will be enough testing and tracing mechanisms in place to turn the tide. If this is done correctly, and it can be -- see South Korea -- then containment will happen, and hopefully within a matter of weeks.
Now, for this to work there are three things that are needed from us.
First, once they become widely available, you need to get tested. Do it for yourself, and your community. Second, if you should become infected, or have contact with someone who is, you need to quarantine yourself for two weeks. A real quarantine, not what we've been doing so far. Third, even though restrictions have started to relax, we still gotta respect social distancing, and stay on top of our hygiene, mask game and keep washing your hands.
This must be done. Because the alternative is more transmissions, more hospitalizations and more deaths leading to further economic and social shutdowns, which none of us want. We've already come together in support of neighbors, displaced workers, community members in need and graduating students. Let's do everything we can to ensure the sacrifices that have already been made, weren't in vain.