NOVA Phase 3 reopening could compromise DC’s COVID-19 caseload: public health experts

Northern Virginia’s decision to enter Phase 3 of coronavirus reopening could threaten D.C.’s progress in containing COVID-19, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Public health experts said the area’s third reopening phase – which allows activities like indoor dining at full capacity and permits mass gatherings of up to 250 people – could stall or reverse the region’s progress in combatting the pandemic, The Post reported. Public health experts told The Post that loosening restrictions could accelerate the spread of the virus as DMV residents flow throughout the region.

“Most of those counties – Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun – have had pretty low rates over a period of several days, but they are part of a larger metro area,” Milken Institute School of Public Health Dean Lynn Goldman told The Post. “There is a lot of potential for transmission to happen if they’re not careful, as we’ve seen happen in Texas and Florida when they’ve opened up too quickly.”

Previously, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have gradually reopened public spaces in tandem. NOVA’s move to the next phase would place the area ahead of its neighboring regions, which are in Phase II of reopening.

D.C. began its second phase – which allows mass gatherings of up to 50 people and permits indoor dining and nonessential retail at half capacity – late last month, and the District shows no “immediate” sign of commencing Phase 3 reopening, according to The Post.

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