Testing, Tracing, Treating Are Key

May 8, 2020

Editor, The News-Gazette:

Among the good progressives on my social media feed, a debate rages over whether our state or others should “reopen” following the social distance measures imposed over recent weeks.

But this is a false debate (and not just because there is little diversity of opinion).

For huge percentages of vulnerable Americans, even right here in our community, social distancing never occurred. The elderly in group care homes were never social distanced. Their caregivers were never social distanced (and so neither are their families). The workers at grocery stores, in chicken plants, in prisons, picking up our garbage, or packing boxes full of all our online purchases were never living in a “closed” country. These are the workers least likely to have regular health care, savings, or other employed family members to fall back upon as the pandemic continues and the economy collapses around them.

It’s time that those of us still earning our pay while we stay at home, tending our sourdough starters, grumbling about Zoom fatigue, and taking selfies in our homemade masks redirect our energy.

Members of our community who work or live in highrisk settings are not regularly tested; their health is at risk. So are their families. Others are at risk because they have no income. Hunger also kills, even if you don’t send it a Zoom invite.

The open-closed debate is missing the point.

We need a massive effort at Testing, Tracing, and Treating, and we must demand it from every public official now. What have our governor, state legislators, and representatives in Congress been doing about this in the six weeks since the Virginia Stay-At-Home order was announced? I, for one, want to know.

ROBIN M. LeBLANC

Lexington

The News-Gazette

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Lexington, VA 24450
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