If you live in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, or Delaware—you’re on lockdown. It’s part of the ongoing federal, state, and local response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Over 140,000 Americans have been infected by this virus, killing nearly 3,000. Most of the cases come from New York City, which celebrated Chinese New Year. New Orleans, which celebrated Mardis Gras, could also be the second major hotspot.
In the DMV area, there are about 3,000 cases of infection. It could be worse. And while there are still variables out there, local officials aren’t taking any chances—they’re locking things down. And D.C. was the last holdout among these I-95 states. Unlike Virginia, violating this stay-at-home order comes with hefty fines and jail time. The latter won’t happen, but a fine that soars into the thousands of dollars—I can see that being applied (via D.C. Mayor’s Office):
Today, due to an increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Washington, DC and across the region and the nation, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia. This order reinforces the Mayor’s direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities.
“Our message remains the same: stay home,” said Mayor Bowser. “Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how – by staying home.”
The Mayor’s Order specifies that residents may only leave their residences to:
engage in essential activities, including obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth and obtaining food and essential household goods;
perform or access essential governmental functions;
work at essential businesses;
engage in essential travel; or
engage in allowable recreational activities, as defined by the Mayor’s Order.
Any individual who willfully violates the stay-at-home order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.
This disease is serious. It’s highly contagious, with two-to-three people being infected by someone carrying the disease on average. It’s a one-to-one ratio with the flu. Yet, the recovery rates are projected to be high, with most exhibiting mild symptoms. Some will be asymptomatic, which is the double-edged sword in fighting this disease. Those who are asymptomatic can still spread it through the surfaces they touch—and the elderly and the immunocompromised are most at risk. This virus can stay alive on some surfaces for up to three days, and it can live in the air for hours. It’s not the end of the world, but a little more caution is necessary.