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Published May 20, 2020

I know it has seemed like years since we have all seen each other in person and these times continue to challenge what our sense of “normal” is each and every day. Just know that all the efforts you have made (and are making) ARE making a real difference in our area. Because of your social distancing, teleworking and mask wearing, our hospitals have been able to care for our fellow residents with COVID-19 effectively and the system has not been overwhelmed. The entire goal of flattening the curve has indeed been succeeding. That is worth noting and feeling pretty darn good about!

When I was a kid, my mom liked to say to me, “Brendan, don’t rest on your laurels”. Now before you go and google “laurels”, she was basically saying – Don’t Stop Now! Don’t Ease Up! Keep at It!

As Virginia, and other states, start to relax restrictions on local businesses and restaurants, it may seem tempting to say “We did it….It’s over!”. Now, take a look at the graph below. It tracks new cases per day in the US as recently as this past Tuesday. The number for Tuesday was 20,289 cases – roughly the same amount of new daily cases we were seeing in late March. The US is in a plateau but we are not seeing a dramatic decline in cases. The virus is still here, alive and well.

Please continue to stay vigilant. Please continue to wash your hands and please continue to wear your face mask when in public and near others. Sadly, I am already seeing this practice drop off in grocery stores and other public areas. The fact is, this is one of the easiest things we can do to protect each other. Requiring/Requesting someone to wear a mask does not violate anyone’s rights. In truth, it is a collective effort to help our society as a whole weather this storm.

A few days ago, Fox News reported on a study that showed the infection rate would plummet to almost nothing if 80% of the population wore a mask/face covering when out in public and still practiced social distancing. If you’re interested, here is the link to the study – https://arxiv.org/pdf/2004.13553.pdf. The graph below illustrates how the effectiveness of fabric masks in stopping the spread of COVID-19 is directly tied to the percentage of the public wearing them.

There is encouraging news on the horizon regarding vaccines but we are still a ways off from that. We will need to keep up the effort, don’t let our guard down and don’t rest on our laurels! Thank you for all you are doing each and every day.

Be well and stay safe!! – Dr. Flynn