Governor Northam: COVID-19 pandemic will last months, not weeks

Governor Northam: COVID-19 pandemic will last months, not weeks

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Setting realistic expectations, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a strong reminder that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

“The world has no doubt changed. This will be our new normal for awhile," said Northam.

Tuesday, Northman and his COVID-19 response team held a briefing. The governor said he does not believe the country will open up by mid-April like President Donald Trump is suggesting.

“We all want our lives to return to normal as fast as possible but I think we have to use science. We have to use data. We have to use consultation with folks like I have behind me and really do what’s in the best interest of, in our case, of Virginians,” said Northam.

Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. have agreed to share resources and capacity to deal with the pandemic. Northam said they are fighting a biological war right now and while there is light at the end of the tunnel it will take months, not weeks, to get there.

“Our numbers for a couple of reasons are going to keep going up. Our deaths unfortunately are going to keep going up. We have nowhere come close to hitting that peak of the curve,” said Northam.

Virginia received its first shipment of personal protective equipment from the national stockpile. That’s items like face masks, gloves and gowns.

"That type of direction and coordination at the national level would help every state and every territory but it doesn’t mean we’re waiting. It doesn’t mean we’re not taking advantage of every opportunity,” said Dr. Daniel Carey, Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

Another shipment from the national stockpile is expected next week, but state health leaders say it will not be enough.

"They’re going to be in short supply and we need to get our supplies in as quickly as possible, said Dr. Carey."

The governor’s office said they will move to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 2 PM briefing schedule starting Wednesday. But the governor says that can change as the situation warrants.

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