Local Commentary

Travel to New York Now Restricted

What an irony that New York, the state which was on fire with Covid-19 infections just two months ago, is now imposing quarantines on visitors to that state coming from the current growing wave of high-infection rate states.

Just as people all over the country have begun celebrating the reopening of New York City, with prospects for an easy Amtrak or $20 bus ride to the Big Apple to enjoy the ambiance of that great world city, many are now confronted with the unhappy restriction that their travel there may include a 14 day quarantine once crossing the border to it, and some of its neighboring states, as well.

It’s a small reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world since March is very, very real, and still very, very deadly. Reports from the International Monetary Fund and others are now that the global economic impact of efforts to stem the spread of this deadly airborne virus will prove far worse than originally hoped. A report in the Washington Business Journal showed that the net income of 95 public companies in the Greater Washington, D.C. region that filed reports with the Security and Exchange Commission for the first quarter of 2020, with respect to the comparable period of 2019, was down from $11,951,879,067 to $903,402,657, a drop of 92.4 percent.

The report from Falls Church’s Chief Financial Officer Kiran Bawa to the F.C. City Council for the City fiscal year’s 10 months through April are down $2.8 million.

But all of the numbers remain extremely tentative. We all hope that with Gov. Ralph Northam’s order this week that Virginia can move into Phase 3 of reopening from the lockdown on July 1 will cause a new surge in economic activity that will enable the hiring back of a major portion of the workforce and a return to some portion of relative normalcy.

However, we’re stunned by the unintended consequences of early reopening in other states, such as Florida, Texas and Arizona, leading to a new surge of the virus to levels exceeding ones they’d experienced to now, thus the imposition of the quarantines in New York. Under the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York went from the most contagious state in America to the least now, with deaths peaking at almost 900 a day in early April down to 14 last week.

As Cuomo stressed, the improvement came from one source only, the willingness of the public to cause it to happen. There were no laws or mandates that caused it, but the constant admonitions that he and many others made to their fellow citizens to comply with the simplest but most effective of the preventative measures: wearing a mask in public, reducing the infection rate by five-fold, and that, combined with social distancing, reduces the rate of spread of the virus very effectively.