That's how long it will be between the first reported U.S. death from coronavirus and Loudoun County's first public briefing on the threat, scheduled for March 11.
There's no way around it: that's far too long.
The anxiety and fear is palpable across Loudoun and the nation – and it has been for weeks. Many of the concerns are valid, and some are downright hysterical.
Which is exactly why county leaders should have already held the briefing: to quell the fears, dice through misinformation and assure members of the public their representatives are doing everything in their power to stay ahead of the situation.
Taking weeks to hold a simple question-and-answer session does nothing to demonstrate the county's readiness for this national health crisis, especially when or if cases start being reported in the D.C. region. (Most experts agree it's a foregone conclusion the commonwealth will eventually see cases.)
We recognize the county launched a web page this week to inform the public, and we saw local officials begin in earnest to push the word out mid-week. Indeed, it's better late than never, but we remain dumbfounded by how long it took.
We're further troubled the county can't corral its health experts and elected officials in a more timely fashion for such a daunting public health scare.
In a call with the Times-Mirror Wednesday, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D) said the meeting time was selected because the board wanted to find a day when all members could be present.
That's reasonable in theory, but not if it's going to take well over a week. And weren't all members of the Board of Supervisors present during the March 3 business meeting?
On the same call, Randall said she didn't want to do a press conference, per se, “because press conferences are for politicians,” and this issue shouldn't be political. The public briefing should be guided by the health experts laying out the facts, she said.
Agreed, yet the county is waiting until all elected supervisors – see: politicians – can be present for the briefing? The logic just isn't there, something Randall seemed to concede as the call went on.
We aren't claiming outright carelessness on the issue, and we don't suspect there are any malicious motivations behind the delay. No, we don't believe this is a conscience failure, but we insist it's a failure nonetheless.