Loudoun County lowers flag amid coronavirus

County flags across Loudoun were ordered in April to be flown at half-staff to honor local residents who died of COVID-19 and to recognize essential workers responding to the pandemic.

You almost hesitate to write this out of fear people will read it, give their friends and family high-fives and plan a community cook-out to celebrate our collective successes.

But the COVID fairy on the other shoulder says there’s a benefit to encouragement of and emphasis on what Loudouners are doing well. We’re going with that fairy today.

Keep it up, Loudoun. We beg of you: Keep up the good work.

Loudouners by and large appear to be doing their best to combat this cruel coronavirus.

Masks, thank God, are on full display darn near everywhere we look, and while there’s always room for improvement, most people are keeping aware of their surroundings and not intruding on others’ six- to 10-feet bubble.

Understanding people are longing for a night out, restaurants have been shifting their spaces and working to ensure the greatest safety possible. (Staying home remains the safest bet, but we do understand and empathize with the need to get out once in a while.) Retail shops and other “public” places are limiting customers and taking strict sanitation precautions, and they all deserve a thunderous applause for doing so. Again, please keep it up.

The local COVID-19 numbers don’t lie. While roughly 30 new cases a day may not seem like good news, in nationwide — and even statewide — context, that number is encouraging. At the risk of sounding insensitive, the same can be said for 115 deaths since the pandemic began. (Please know we do send our most sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of COVID-19.) Percent positivity in local testing is perhaps the most encouraging information of all, with the most recent figure down under 6 percent. While some hotspots were battered by a spike in new cases and percent positivity last month, Loudoun’s testing rate gradually fell in July and into August.

But — of course there’s a but — there’s nothing more significant with regards to the virus than what Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend said in an interview with the Times-Mirror this week: “If people stopped taking the steps of mask-wearing and physical distancing, easily our numbers will go up again.”

Goodfriend continued, “ … it’s that continued focus that’s critical, because anytime you relax what you’re doing, the virus finds a way to get in.”

Indeed, we must stay vigilant, and that’s the purpose of writing this. Please, please, please, Loudouners. Do your part. As we’ve seen in areas across the country — some where president-pleasing governors were quick to scoff at science and callously “reopen” their economy — the virus will wreak havoc on communities that let their collective guard down.

Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Stay home as much as possible — and as painful as it may seem. Cliché as it seems in so many cases, “we’re in this together” has never been more true.

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(25) comments

Phil Tatler

"president pleasing governors.." who ignore your idea of "science"--you had to go and destroy a mediocre editorial into a political rant, didn't you? not helpful

Gitanagurl

Lies. I drive all over LoCo and people are acting like nothing. Working from home. Living a great life. While the poor in LoCo that have to work to service these spoiled ingrates are getting sick left and right and most can’t afford to get checked.

Pete

Lack of context and perspective allows Politicians and Media to over hype the risk for political reasons. C19 is not around every corner. According to VDH, as of 7 Aug after 10 months, VA (8,500,000 Pop) C19 Case rate is 1.151% (Cases peaked 18 May); Death rate is 0.027% (Deaths peaked 5 May); Total admitted to date is 0.097%; Currently admitted is 0.010%/0.916% of cases; Current in ICU is 0.003%/0.290% of cases; 49% of deaths occurred over 80 yrs old; 25% of deaths occurred 70-79 yrs; 15% of deaths 60-69 yrs; 6% 50-59 yrs; 2% of deaths 40-49 yrs; 0.86% of deaths 30-39 yrs; 0.25% deaths 20-29 yrs; 0% deaths 10-19 yrs; 0.04% deaths 0-9 yrs. 89% of deaths occurred over age 60.

Of the 133 jurisdictions in VA, 13 of them (9.6%) account for 66% of the dead. 16% have had 0 dead; 18% have had 1-2 dead; 19% have had 3-5 dead; 19% have had 6-13 dead.

68,000 die annually in VA, that means the total dead to date would be 3.4% of the annual death rate. Cases and death peaked months ago (Peaks and Valleys to be expected) but trend is still downward. Even the CDC says each jurisdiction must be evaluated on its own, yet Gov mandates blanket measures still. Even if you get C19, 99% recover. 99.98% of VA after 10 months has not died. Data does not support continued measures of keeping folks out of work and school. Viruses are natures way of culling the herd by preying on the old, weak, sick, infirm, aka those already in high risk groups.

Pandemics kill young, Seasonals kill old. To date we have seen seasonal trend not pandemic trend. Influenza flus are number 5 all-time killer of man to this day, and still kill upwards of 100k each year in this nation alone WITH vaccines, so C19 death rates still ballpark for non-vaccine seasonal illness. Once excess deaths (you can only be counted dead once) subtracted from C19 tolls, rate will be even lower. C19 is not what kills you, especially if you are comorbid ( many may not even know they have issues).

amerigirl

Pete, it is very sad how you down play the virus because that may make people think they are safe when they are not. The US just passed 5 million cases reported and that is probably underestimated because nobody could get a test in the early months of the virus. On average there is a death every minute of every day. That means while you slept almost 500 people died. For each of those deaths there is a family in pain. The virus doesn’t look at the border lines of states. It hits areas. And an ICU is only effective if it has enough beds to care for the severely ill, that is not the case in many hospitals in Florida and Texas. Your reasoning is out in left field. You count people where the virus has not hit yet to make a point when it doesn’t. Your description of pandemics and seasonal is ridiculous. This is a pandemic and all viruses have their own differences.

Pete

Haha my descriptions/reasonings are not ridiculous, your reactions are. Based are based on long standing facts. Ignorance is bliss i guess. Yes people die every day, fact of life, get over it. 8000 die every day in US, 2,800,000 annually, almost 2 million of who are elderly. 480 die every day in NY anyway. And yes they are in pain, again that's life. Hospitals run out of ER/ICU beds all the time. If full they transfer Px to other facilities sin state, just because a hospital is full does not mean the statewide mutual aid system is at capacity, in fact far from it, to date NO state medical system as reached max capacity. Who said downplaying C19, its the Political reactions that are not consistent w/level of risk./Danger or long standing medical protocols and accepted practices. Media and Pols over hype it, and ignorant public lap it up, but there is other social/economic/mental impacts far greater than C19. C19 isn't the only game in town by far. Bottom line is they are lying to public ( masks) and most are too lazy to research on own nor do they care that lied to which speaks volumes. We are almost at 2 Fiscal qtrs. w/ no tax/income revenue, suicides and child abuse are up, 40M unemployed. Congress adding trillions to debt and whos gonna pay. Illogical to single out one of many illnesses that impact America. If hardest hit NYC isn't even at 1/4 of 1% impact after 10 months, that speaks volumes and proves the cure is worse than the bite. and cases means nothing, jut like the 40M flu cases annually, makes no difference w/regard to death rate. Now keep 110M working parents home w/no pay cause schools are doing digital, that is way more than all the globes C19 deaths to date. ergo C19 doesn't not justify the societal impacts by far.

amerigirl

So by you reasoning since people die everyday we should ignore the virus? No hospitals do not run out of ICU beds all the time, it is just the opposite, there are always ICU beds available, to say otherwise is just ignorance of the system. To date there are hospitals that have passed capacity in multiple states, that is public knowledge, and how can you transfer to another hospital when everyone in an area is overcrowded? To say that no "state" system has done that is irrational. Areas of states are hit by the virus. It doesn't look at a border and think it will just infect within those areas. Look at what their own health depts are saying; 48 Florida hospitals reached capacity as of July 10, according to data from the Florida Agency for Healthcare, by the 29th it was up to 54.In That story was replayed in Texas and Arizona. When you are on a vent do you think you would really care if there was a hospital in your state hundreds of miles away that has empty beds? This should not be about politics, it's the republicans that have made it that way. This is about people, not making numbers for an election. t sound like you have been lapping up every conspiracy theory on the virus out there. Please fact check what you have written.

Pete

Where does one begin? Many falsehoods here. Surgical Masks were never designed for Viruses, only to prevent Doctors from spreading bacterial infections during surgery and to prevent patients fluids from getting on Drs skin. So to think that a mask designed for Bacteria will work against a Virus is wrong. Even a N95 Respirator (Not a mask/Face Covering) will not stop C19 as N95 only filters to 0.3 Microns and C19 is 0.1 Micron. There is NO approved OSHA PPE Level ( mandated in Federal Law) that consists of just a mask, you have to wear a respirator certified to filter the hazard along with the entire Ensemble. Just as you don't see an Astronaut wearing only a helmet. The accepted PPE level for C19 is Level A/B. By law all users of PPE must be trained and properly fitted for a Facepiece respirator as well as pass the OSHA physicals. Why? Because improper wear of PPE may be detrimental to ones health and many have died form improper PPE wear, that's why its regulated. Wearing anything that inhibits oxygen intake or CO2 outtake. One may have reduced airflow ability or deadspace. Anything interfering with lungs causes increased heart rate, fatigue, hyper ventilating ( cause you cant get enough O2/Get rid of CO2) and lowered mental acuity, similar to high altitude sickness. This is why you have take the physicals in order to ensure your are medically fit to even wear PPE. Anyone who tells you masks are effective against Viruses is either ignorant or misleading you or both. It is highly suspect that any competent health professional would furnish erroneous information regarding the functionality of Masks ( or lack thereof). Additionally masks become wet cesspool's of bacteria ( Mask never intended to be worn for long periods). Here are some notable quotables: US DOL: “Face Coverings, Surgical Masks are not PPE and will not protect wearer from Viral airborne infections or provide adequate filtration for Viruses.” CDC: “Surgical masks are not specifically designed to protect the wearer from airborne hazards. These devices limit but do not stop the spread of infectious particles expelled by the wearer.“ CDC: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates surgical masks. The FDA regulations do not require surgical masks to form a seal against the user’s face or to have a level of filtration that provides the user protection from aerosol exposures of any kind.”. 21 May 20 NEJM: “Masks serve symbolic roles to increase health care workers perceived sense of safety, well being and trust in hospitals”. I suspect many Politicians thought that "Masks could serve symbolic roles to increase publics perceived sense of safety , well being and trust in Govt". What your are seeing is not the effect of Masks, SD or lockdowns, its the normal Epidemiology SIR curve. Viruses are not like a coat of paint, uniform all at once, they are like a surf zone with tides ebbing and flowing, peaks and valleys, spread out.

amerigirl

That is a lot over over explaining. Masks if worn by everyone will drastically cut down on the spread of Covid. They will help protect the people around you. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html

Pete

Don't bey your health on it

amerigirl

Yes, I would bet my health on it. There are so many in my family in the medical field, and I would take their word over some trump toady any day.

ABee

No AG, it is not a lot of over explaining.

Pete did a good job, but facts and stats don't seem to matter to you.

Do you comprehend that the mask you are wearing to the grocery store does not filter out the virus? If you cough or sneeze, yes, it will restrain the larger droplets, but the virus easily flows back and forth through your mask.

Good job Pete!

amerigirl

Yes, MB it is. It's facts and not made up fake news that matters to me. I have serious doubts that my N95 mask has much of anything flowing through it. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2769441 try again.

BigDaddyVA

One curious side effect of this pandemic is the number of armchair experts in epidemiology and statistics rushing to the inter webs to share their insights. It’s mind-boggling.

amerigirl

Or maybe thy can read and share what they have learned.

Pete

Just like the armchair ignoratti when facts easy to research.

amerigirl

Yes they are. Use he facts to make people safer. Wear a mask.

amerigirl

If everyone could follow this for 3-4 weeks we wouldn't have the virus anymore. But a of now at least 1 American dies from Covid every minute, approximately 528 Americans will die of the COVID while you are sleeping. It makes you wonder what some peoples priorities are, making a statement about masks or human lives.

DBC

amerigirl - help me on this: If we do this for the next 4 weeks (which most of us will), and at that point, we relax mask-wearing, social distancing, gatherings, why won't the number of cases go up then?

amerigirl

Not if everyone followed the rules. They virus is only communicable for for a certain amount of time.will no longer be contagious by 10 days after symptoms resolve. People who test positive for the virus but never develop symptoms over the following 10 days after testing are probably no longer contagious,So even people who are just getting it and not showing symptoms yet would be passed it in 3 weeks. Those with no symptoms would be passed the time that they were contagious.But you can never get the trump lovers to wear a mask, or exposing others, and distance for that long.

DBC

What happens if someone from another state ventures into Loudoun in 5 weeks, and gives it to someone in Leesburg? Won't that start the spread again? Let me give you the answer - Yes it will. To say viruses go away is not true. Do you know the 1919 virus is STILL with us today and accounts for thousands of flu cases a year? Same for the 1950's and 1969 viruses. The way humans "beat the virus" is that when enough people get it, the virus first (and very, unfortunately, kills the most vulnerable (see NY and NJ)), then it weakens biologically so that it (the virus) can survive and this weakening makes it less lethal (1919, 1957 and 1969 virus). This is where NY, NJ, CT, MD, DC, PA, MI and now FL, TX, AZ are currently. The virus has reached "burn out" in these places. We aren't that far away from burn out in VA and the best way reach it, is for young healthy people to get it, get the sniffles, and get back to life.

amerigirl

DBC, yes it will spread if someone comes from another state. That is what happens when pandemic responses are thrown to the governors instead of having a national response. Most viruses do stay around but right now we have no vaccine for the coronavirus and really need to try and keep it contained until there is one like there is for the flu. How do you know that herd immunity would work in this country with this virus? How many lives are you willing to risk for that to happen? Like you said the other viruses are still around and there is no herd immunity to them. Covid is killing way more than just the most vulnerable, many otherwise healthy people have died from it. Many more have terrible side effects like strokes, permanent lung damage, loss of limbs from clotting, etc. The young people are not the answer, science is.

DBC

Amerigirl - There is a lot in the 11:09 response. Herd immunity or "burn out" has been achieved with every single virus (including plagues from the Middle Ages and the 1918, 1952, and 1969 viruses) so why is COVID different? It isn't. We see burn out in all over the US right now (NJ, NY, CT, RI, MI etc). As for "COVID is killing way more than just the most vulnerable..." The CDC states otherwise: People who die from COVID have an average of 2.75 Number of Conditions Contributing to Deaths where #COVID_19 was listed on the death certificate by age. Here is the link: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#Comorbidities. In future posts, please provide links to evidence to support your assertions. Thanks.

amerigirl

DCB,How could it have been achieved if we still need vaccines to keep from getting viruses? And all viruses are different. The problem is they don’t know enough about covid or how long the immunity lasts. There have been people who have gotten it for a second time. From the Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/herd-immunity-and-coronavirus/art-20486808 However, there are some major problems with relying on community infection to create herd immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. First, it isn't yet clear if infection with the COVID-19 virus makes a person immune to future infection. A large number of people would have to become infected to reach the herd immunity threshold. Experts estimate that in the U.S., 70% of the population — more than 200 million people — would have to recover from COVID-19 to halt the epidemic. I have seen that site before but it does not men that healthy people don’t get covid. Of the people I know who have passed from it, 2 had other problems, 1 was extremely healthy but pregnant.

DBC

Amerigirl - thank you for your response. I use the term "burn out" (as used by Michael Levitt (Noble winner, Stanford Phd Biopysics - follow him on Twitter). He has shown over and over from Wuhan, to Diamond Princess, to Italy, Spain, Sweeden, US states that burn out is achieve at around 20% infection. Remember INFECTION rate is 5x - 10x greater than KNOWN CASES b/c COVID is so mild in so many people most will never know they had it. As for "herd" that is just a guess as Mayo article itself points out. As for why we use vaccines for flu, that is a good question. CDC notes effectiveness rates of flu shot are no greater than 40-60%. When I read your comments I see you are concerned about future hypotheticals where there is no history of similar outcomes for other coronaviruses. The future unknown can be scary, but at some point everything we do when we leave the house has risk. We assess it, we make a decision to either stay inside forever, or we live life. That is where the world is with COVID now. Even Cuomo today said schools should open and within a few hours, Schumer was saying the same thing. This isn't because the "science" changed, its because the Dems can read polls and they see Americans are willing to accept the risk of COVID and live life. Please join us.

amerigirl

DBC, since this is a novel virus, he also has no idea if a 20% infection will do anything. This may be where the world is now, but it is also on the verge of a vaccine which can save lives. It is not worth the risk of having to go through all of this again and having people suffer all over again. Look at what has happened to the states that have opened too early. The numbers are as high as they were months ago, when that could have been easily avoided. Please say what polls you are using because everyone I see says the majority of all people want things to stay shut especially schools. Please stop endangering the rest of us.

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