pose threat to SW Virginia
As a retired epidemiologist, I was heartened to see that Gov. Ralph Northam finally has taken statewide action to close schools and nonessential businesses and to limit elective surgery. We are in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Virginia and we must do everything we can to “flatten the curve.” Unfortunately, we do not have the public health interventions of testing and contact investigation that would do a lot more to slow the spread of this virus.
And, unfortunately, Northam has left the door open for the spread of COVID-19 in Southwest Virginia by allowing out-of-state pipeline workers to come into vulnerable rural counties. Those workers hail from all over the country, and as they use public facilities — including gas stations and takeout restaurants — even one asymptomatic infected worker could spread the virus to his fellow crew members, as well as workers in the service sector. This is a public health risk that the governor can reduce now by shutting down all work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline.