With over 3,000 constituents logged onto the conference phone call Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, who represents the 8th District of Virginia that includes the City of Falls Church, was accompanied by the head of the Fairfax Health Department, Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, who answered an array of questions about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Schwartz’ most important report was to say that studies have shown that with four simple but effective measures, the instance of the spread of the virus can be reduced by two-thirds. Those four steps are 1. staying at home if sick, 2. persons who come into contact with a sick person staying at home, 3. social distancing, not to come within six feet of other persons, and 4. washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.
With tight resources in the face of the growing epidemic, he said that persons should not seek to be tested for exposure unless displaying symptoms, as when a drive through testing station was set up last week at the Virginia Hospital Center, 99 of 100 people tested were negative, meaning the vast majority did not have the symptoms of the illness.
Beyer’s contributions dealt a lot with the $2 trillion-plus rescue package being debated on Capitol Hill Tuesday night, with all the information from that still pending what the final shape of the legislation looks like. He and Dr. Schwartz made strong cases for why cutting off social distancing prematurely would be a disaster. “It would destroy the U.S. hospital system,” Beyer said, based on ensuring it will lead to massive overcrowding. Getting past this crisis “won’t be a sprint,” Beyer said.
Earlier this month, Beyer and his wife, Megan, went into self-quarantine after having dinner with a friend who later tested positive test for Covid-19.