NORFOLK, Va.- Social distancing has been engraved in our minds for months. We've heard the experts say it before, "Stay away from each other and things will get better."
While staying six feet apart at all times has come with some growing pains, high ranking officials and medical physicians said it has saved countless lives.
Dr. Edward Oldfield is an Infectious Disease Specialist and Professor of Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School who said social distancing, "likely cut the amount of COVID cases from a projected 35 million by the end of April to the one million we saw."
Dr. Oldfield has been studying COVID-19 relentlessly since it first entered our country. News 3 reporter Erin Miller asked him point blank if social distancing has really worked.
His answer: "It did work. One of the problems with public health is when you have success people say, 'Well, why did you do that? It wasn't that bad.' Well, it wasn't that bad because of the public health things that were done."
That's not to overlook the tragic number of deaths families experienced in Virginia, North Carolina and across the country. Dr. Oldfield said yes, the curve has been flattened, but we're not out of the woods yet.
"The real problem is that we will not see an increase in cases if this loosening fails, for 2 to 3 weeks after we start to loosen up this social distancing," he said.
As Virginia Beach prepares to open beaches on Friday and North Carolina enters Phase Two, Dr. Oldfield worries that people will misinterpret the guidelines and start to be careless. Without a crystal ball looking into the future, it's uncertain at this point if we will see a spike in cases and a second wave of COVID-19.
Dr. Oldfield said we need to keep doing what we have been since March and that's wearing masks in public, keeping a safe social distance and applying the hand sanitizer whenever we can.
He said we also need more testing and contract tracing because their answers are necessary to keeping our healthcare system underwhelmed and people alive.