Governor urges Virginians to ‘stay the course’

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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By Tracy Agnew

Suffolk News-Herald


Gov. Ralph Northam said on Tuesday that difficult adjustments may be needed for months to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Virginia Department of Health is reporting 290 cases and seven deaths statewide. Northam warned during his update Tuesday afternoon that the diagnoses and, unfortunately, deaths will likely continue to rise.

“I think it’s fair to say we all want our lives to return to normal as fast as possible, but we have to use science, we have to use data, and do what’s in the best interest of us as Virginians,” Northam said. “The data tells us this will be with us for two to three months and perhaps even longer.”

Northam said Virginia’s “curve” will continue to rise.

“We have nowhere come close to hitting that peak of the curve … but hopefully we will flatten the curve,” he said, referring to the aim of lowering the peak of infections so as not to overwhelm the health care system.

He encouraged Virginians who are staying indoors to stay the course, even though they may not be seeing the results of their sacrifices in the state’s daily numbers.

“Science and experience dealing with pandemics tells us these things will work.”

Northam also spoke to the economic harm many Virginians are suffering.

“The sooner we can get the health crisis behind us, the sooner our economy will recover,” he said.

TRACY AGNEW is the editor of The Suffolk News-Herald. Contact her at