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DC is Just Like Everywhere Else
Author: BobR    Date: 01/05/2022 14:12:12

Oftentimes lost in the larger discussions of national politics is the reality that the DC area (sometimes referred to as "the DMV" - unfortunate, I know) is filled with "regular" people just doing their job. While politicians come and go, there are "lifers" - civil servants who have worked for the government year in and year out, leasing their expertise to the federal government, despite which president, senators, or representatives happen to be in office.

There are also those who work for the state and local governments, or others (like me) who work for private companies which happen to be located here. This reality may have been brought to the attention of the nation with the winter storm which passed through here earlier this week.

Anyone who's ever driven on I-95 south of DC know what clusterfuck it is - on a GOOD day. The traffic always backs up around Quantico, even on the weekend. Add an accident or bad weather, and it's a disaster.

That doesn't even begin to describe what happened with the winter storm that hit us on Monday, closing a 20 mile section of the interstate for 2 days:
Officials said the storm began on Monday with rain, which would have washed away road salts, and quickly overwhelmed efforts to keep the highway clear. Rain turned to sleet and then snow, which fell at a rate of two inches an hour for four to five hours, according to Marcie Parker, a Virginia Department of Transportation engineer.

“That was entirely too much for us to keep up with,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

Cars and trucks slowed, and then stopped, on their way up and down hills. At least one tractor-trailer slid sideways across the highway. In some places, Ms. Parker said, four inches of ice froze underneath vehicles.

Vehicles were stuck there for almost an entire day. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was stuck for 22 hours:
“I’m extremely tired,” Mr. Kaine said in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon as he arrived in Washington, having spent more than 20 hours stuck in his vehicle. “I had to sleep in my car last night on an ice-packed interstate with a ton of other cars.”

He said he left his car on for 30 minutes at a time to charge his phone, make calls and warm up, then turned it off to save gas and to sleep for 20 minutes or so, only to be wakened by the cold. When he wasn’t napping, Mr. Kaine said, he passed the time by sipping Dr Pepper, listening to SiriusXM radio and eating small wedges of an orange that another stranded driver had given him.

The road is finally now clear and the highway reopened, although it looks like more snow is on the way starting tomorrow night. Hopefully commuters will take heed to any warnings this time.

Another "storm" hitting us is COVID-19, in the form of the Omicron variant. After 2 years of this, people are justifiably nervous, but the number of cases and the automatic assumption of infection when someone gets the sniffles is overwhelming local hospitals:
Hospitals across Maryland are so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients that the governor declared a state of emergency to allow the National Guard to help and give health officials the power to restructure resources.

Hospitalizations have doubled in the last day, and more than 600 patients were waiting in the emergency waiting rooms for hours on Monday, said Dr. Ted Delbridge with Maryland’s Institute for Emergency Medical Service Systems.


Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and issued two executive orders, one which allows the secretary of health the power to reallocate hospital resources.

“This executive order allows the Maryland Department of Health the authority to establish additional alternate care facilities to assist hospitals and nursing homes and addressing staffing shortages,” Hogan said. “The executive order allows interstate reciprocity for healthcare licenses. It allows inactive healthcare practitioners to practice without needing to reinstate their expired licenses, and it authorizes graduate nurses to work at any health care facility and to provide full nursing services. And the order allows for healthcare practitioners to practice outside the scope of their licenses.”

It also allows hospitals to stop elective procedures while they are overwhelmed with emergency patients.
(bold-face mine)
That last line is pretty important (to me and others like me). Is cancer surgery considered "elective"? Will I have to live with this a month or more while unvaccinated people continue to consume healthcare resources? Yes, even in "blue" areas like DC and MD, there are those who refuse to get vaccinated, refuse to wear masks, and selfishly allow this pandemic to continue.

So yes, the "DMV" is just like other parts of the country: full of regular people working regular jobs, and stymied by selfish jerks who ignore the warnings from the weather forecasters and the CDC.

12 comments (Latest Comment: 01/05/2022 23:02:07 by Raine)
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