To the editor:
Before people can gather again, we need widespread testing for the coronavirus, as the WHO and a German study have revealed that most people spreading the coronavirus have either none or mild symptoms that may include upper respiratory symptoms. The CDC didn’t warn us about this, and thus those people are not getting tested or quarantined.
Once identified, those with a positive test should be quarantined. This is the first step before allowing people to gather again, and if we don’t do this, we will surely have a second wave of infection.
This means we need Alexandria’s city government to wake up and get tests for all adult Alexandria residents ASAP. And in August, they need to get tests for all Alexandria children before they can return to school.
Caregivers at nursing homes and medical facilities should be tested at the beginning of every shift – the city needs to get going on this to protect our elderly population, patients and caregivers.
Further, we need N95 masks for all residents and caregivers. The N95 mask is not perfect as it may not block the virus, which is .12 microns in diameter and the mask is rated for .3 microns, but it is the best thing available. With evidence that the virus can be suspended in the air for some time, this is critical.
It is not wise to go into grocery stores without an N95 mask, so we need help delivering food in the meantime. We need Alexandria’s city government to procure masks for its residents ASAP. The sooner this happens, the sooner we can start to get back to gathering again.
The coronavirus or SARS2 is the most recent warning after SARS, Swine Flu, MERS and Bird Flu about the dangers of wet markets in urban areas. Given this, the chicken slaughterhouse city council recently approved for Alexandria is irresponsible.
-Chris Hubbard, associate researcher, Georgetown University Medical Center