Category Archives: Public safety & health

Racial Preferences for Minorities in COVID Vaccinations?

By Hans Bader

Virginia is apparently giving preference to certain clusters of minority residents in access to the COVID-19 vaccine, as Judicial Watch notes:

In the next few weeks, the state will give preference to black and Latino residents 65 and over while much older white seniors, many in their 80s, cannot secure an appointment to get inoculated. The plan was announced a few days ago by Dr. Danny Avula, who was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam this year to be the state’s vaccine coordinator…. In recent weeks, [a news] article says, roughly 10,000 vaccines were channeled specifically toward trusted clinics in neighborhoods with older black residents… the reporter cites “some experts” that have raised concern over age-based vaccine prioritization because it fails to account for lower expectancies among black and Latino communities, though it does concede that 75% of Virginia’s deaths are among those over 70….

Continue reading

UVa’s COVID Commissars

Woohoo!

by James A. Bacon

COVID-19 infections may have been trending down in Virginia for almost two months now, but they spiked at the University of Virginia several days ago, and the Ryan administration imposed tough new rules to curtail the spread. Not surprisingly, many students have violated the restrictions. In so doing, they have sparked a backlash that appears to be directed not at rule breakers generally but at offenses associated with fraternity and sorority activity.

Under the new COVID regime, in-person attendance at classes are allowed, but social gatherings are not. Students are allowed to walk to and from classes, work, dining or medical care, but otherwise told to isolate themselves. Inevitably, questions arose in the interpretations of the rules, and the Dean of Students clarified that two students could walk together, but they must wear masks and stay six feet apart.

Needless to say, fraternity and sorority parties are not allowed. Continue reading

Wait Til the Midnight Hour

by Kerry Dougherty

Sitting down, Virginia?

Big news! Especially for night owls.

Beginning Monday, we will be allowed to stay out past midnight, thanks to the benevolence of our beloved Governor, Ralph Northam.

His Excellency announced yesterday that he has decided to lift our 12 to 5 a.m. curfew, the one based on the Northam family credo that “nothing good happens after midnight.”

Thank you, dear leader.

Best of all, he is magnanimously allowing us to consume alcohol AFTER 10 PM! Yes, you read that correctly. No longer will waiters be prying drinks from our greedy hands on the stroke of 10. We now have Northam’s permission to drink until midnight! This, despite data that once showed the Covid-19 virus could tell time and was prone to attack at 10:01. Apparently that virus has mutated into a form that infects only people imbibing after midnight. Lucky us! Continue reading

Virginia Pandemic Emergency Plan Was Never Exercised


by James C. Sherlock

As we suspected, Virginia did not exercise its Pandemic Emergency Plan from the time it was published in 2012 until COVID-19 struck.

I received the following response today to a FOIA request I sent to the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Emergency Management:

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) received your February 13, 2021, email regarding a document request. In that request, you seek:

“Existing VDEM records of Virginia state, regional, and local participation in the National Exercise Program since 2012 at every level of training and exercises that addressed Infectious Disease and Biological Incidents.”

VDEM does not have any documentation that meets the requirements of your request. As a result, pursuant to Va. Code § 2.2-3704.B.3, VDEM notes that no records or data exists in response to your request.

Is “oops” a good enough response for the Governor? It appears so.

What Texas’s Crisis Means for Virginia

by Peter Galuszka

The Texas freeze and ensuing energy disaster has clear lessons for Virginia as it sorts out its energy future.

Yet much of the media coverage in Virginia and certainly on Bacon’s Rebellion conveniently leaves out pertinent observations.

The statewide freeze in Texas completely fouled up the entire energy infrastructure as natural gas pipelines and oil wells stopped working, coal at generating plants iced over and wind turbines stopped working.

Making matters much worse, Texas opted not to have power links with other states. Its “free market” system of purchasing power meant utilities skimped on maintenance and adding weather-relative preventive measures such as making sure key generation components were weatherproof.

The result? Scores dead and millions without electricity. Here are more points worth considering in Virginia:

Climate Change is For Real

It is a shame that so much comment in Bacon’s Rebellion is propaganda from people who are or were paid, either directly or indirectly, by the fossil fuel industry. Thus, the blog diminishes the importance of dealing with climate change in a progressive way.  Continue reading

Dude, What Happened?

Check out this graph from the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard. Look how dramatically the seven-day moving average of COVID-related deaths in Virginia plunged in early January. Peaking at 51 on Dec. 31, the average daily deaths dropped to 18 by Jan. 7.

In Central Virginia, one of five regions, the rolling average dropped to 1.14 deaths. Very similar pattern in Northern Virginia. The numbers haven’t been that low since March 2020 in either region!

The decline in deaths is considerably sharper than the drop for confirmed cases and hospitalizations, so the epidemic is far from vanquished. And the drop seems to have plateaued. Still, unless the numbers are a statistical artifact that does not reflect real-world trends, this looks like good news.

— JAB

Mandate Teacher Vaccinations in Virginia

Louise Lucas, Chair, Senate Education and Health Committee photo credit: Virginian-Pilot

by James C. Sherlock

I wrote this morning about Virginia SENATE BILL NO. 1303 (Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute) Local school divisions; availability of virtual and in-person learning to all students.

The lengthy Democratic substitute to a one-sentence Republican bill was written over the weekend to provide political cover to the Democrats. Unfortunately, it did much more than that, all of it bad.

One provision states:

“Prior to the start of the 2021–2022 school year, all teachers and school staff shall be offered access to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccination through their relevant local health district.”

“Offered access.” I was asked by a reader whether I would recommend mandating teacher vaccinations.

My answer is yes. Continue reading

The Systemic Racism of Government Incompetence

Eric Fly

by James A. Bacon

Just as the COVID-19 virus was creeping into Virginia last March, the state shut down the Sussex County Health Department — and didn’t bother to inform local government officials for two weeks. To this day, reports WRIC, the health department remains closed, and a sign on its door reads, “All public health services for this area have been redirected to another location.”

“They just quite frankly disappeared, Sussex Supervisor Eric Fly told WRIC. “They shut the doors and went away. We had no notification. There wasn’t an email, a phone call, a text.”

Fly said that county officials were told residents could continue to get services and make appointments in Hopewell — 40 miles away. “We have an aging population, a lot of people don’t drive. We don’t have buses, we don’t have taxis.”

Percentage of Sussex County population that is African-American: 57%. Continue reading

Nursing Home Carnage Continues in Virginia

by Kerry Dougherty

With nursing home deaths in the news, perhaps you’re wondering how well the Rajah of Richmond — Ralph Northam — protected the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens.

The answer: Not well.

As of February 16, there have been 908 outbreaks in Virginia’s long-term care facilities and 3,147 COVID deaths.

That represents a whopping 52% of all 6,047 confirmed COVID fatalities in the Old Dominion. Yes, you read that correctly, more than half of all Virginia COVID deaths occurred in nursing homes.

That ought to be a scandal. Especially since the carnage continues. But it’s rarely mentioned at the governor’s pressers or in the media. Continue reading

The Latest Lunacy: Face Masks for Fishermen

by Kerry Dougherty

Ever wonder what would happen if feminists, man buns and smoked salmon socialists crafted federal policy?

You’d get moronic rules like this one from the Biden administration:

One of Joe’s latest executive orders requires all commercial fishermen to wear face masks – including while asleep in their cramped berths – and the Coast Guard is charged with enforcing the regulation. Continue reading

All According to Plan – the Biggest Government Scandal in Virginia History

by James C. Sherlock

The Virginia Mercury published  an excellent article on the difficulties being encountered in Virginia in scheduling COVID shots.

But who could have anticipated the need? Who indeed.

This story is part of the single biggest government scandal in Virginia history and the press is either ignorant of the underlying issue or has ignored it. I think ignorance is more likely. Certainly Governor Northam’s executive branch made every effort to hide it from them.

I say the executive branch because I firmly believe — and hope really — the Governor himself never had a clue.

The now-hidden-from-public-view Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan, Hazard-Specific Annex #4 Pandemic Influenza Response (Non-Clinical), Virginia Department of Emergency Management August 2012 (the Plan) required planning and exercise of a vaccine distribution plan and much more.

Never happened.

The Plan specified planning, exercise and operational responsibilities for
the following executive branch organizations: Continue reading

More Vaccination Confusion

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

I do not know who is to blame–CVS or the state–but the vaccination situation is unacceptable.

The Commonwealth seemed to be getting on the right track by enabling individuals to register with their local health departments and the local agencies then using those registration to schedule appointments.

Then the federal government changed things by announcing that the vaccines would be distributed through private pharmacies.

That could have worked well. The local agencies would take registrations centrally and then work with the designated CVS store to schedule the vaccinations. That is sort of what was reported was going to happen. But CVS said that folks would have to register with its stores, but it would give priority to those on the health department registry. Continue reading

How the CARES Funding is Being Allocated

Design credit: Atlantic Cape Community College

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

Upon Jim Bacon’s suggestion, Jim Sherlock and I have taken on the task of looking closer at the federal COVID money that is coming the Commonwealth’s way and trying to discern how it is being spent.  Unfortunately, this is not an analysis one finds in the general news media.

We have taken different approaches, perhaps reflective of our different backgrounds.  Jim has started with the federal programs and their components and requirements, along with the amounts of funding allocated to Virginia. I am looking at how the federal  pot is being split up among state agencies, as reflected in the state budget.  Later, I hope to examine how some of those agencies are spending the money. Continue reading

Follow the Voodoo

by Kerry Dougherty

Can we all agree that the halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl was a real stinker?

Unless dancing men in sequined jackets with underwear on their heads is your thing, that is. (Yes, I know those were supposed to be bandages, but they looked like tighty whities headgear.) As my radio partner, Mike Imprevento, quipped Monday, The Weekend should change his name to Tuesday Night.

Can we also agree that Tom Brady was magnificent? And that after the first series, the Buc’s offense found a rhythm and just clicked all night? And that the Buccaneer’s defense was on fire and left the super-talented Patrick Mahomes looking hapless as he picked grass out of his face mask?

Can we also agree that the Super Bowl commercials were underwhelming? And that the most cloying was the public service announcement by Jill Biden, AKA Joe’s Ventriloquist, reminding us to wear a mask?

“Please keep wearing your mask,” she says, patting Champ and Major. “EVEN WHEN YOU’RE WALKING YOUR DOG.”

Sorry, Dr. Jill, but that’s a hard NO. Continue reading

How Fair Is Virginia’s System for Distributing Vaccines?

by James A. Bacon

Virginia has done a much better job in recent days in administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Out the nearly 1.4 million vaccine doses received from the federal government, according to the Becker Hospital Review, 68.7% have been given as shots. But the criteria for distributing the vaccine within the state has not been clear.

According to data published yesterday on the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard, vaccines have been distributed unevenly across the state. At one extreme, the Norfolk Health District has received 81,300 doses. Using the VDH’s population estimates for its health districts, that translates into 33.2 vaccines delivered for every 100 population.

At the opposite end of the scale, the Hampton Health District has received only 7,075 doses, or 5.2 doses per 100 population.

“Vaccine distribution within the Commonwealth is opaque,” wrote Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney in an email that a third party shared with Bacon’s Rebellion. “[I] cannot find anything that talks in any manner as to the decision process of who gets what percentage of vaccine received from the Federal Supply Chain and who/how those decisions are made.” Continue reading