At the heavily trafficked subway entrance to the building on Tuesday, a stand of handsanitizer appeared. But putting such stands throughout the building, with its miles of corridors, has yet to become standard practice.
The mixed nature of the Defense Department’s response is mirrored around Washington. On Capitol Hill, where many congressional members are in the older cohort most endangered by the virus, some representatives were observing hand-washing and no-touching protocols (a lot of the first, not much of the last) while others were not. In Alexandria, Va., two local health workers who had just insisted that they were observing no-touching protocols before seeing elderly patients then went on to hug a colleague they had not seen in some time.
“All of this emanates from the fact that we haven’t shifted into full red-zone mode yet,” said Stephen Morrison, the director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We’re still in a kind of amber light or yellow zone. So you have people choosing, electing one path or another. There’s a lot of variance.”