Category Archives: Public safety & health

The Bear Truth About That Massachusetts Outbreak

by Kerry Dougherty

I have a little assignment for you before you read the rest of today’s post.

Google “Provincetown Bear Week.” I’ll wait.

Back?

Yep, it’s a gathering of burly gay men who descend each summer on this Cape Cod enclave which is renowned for its eclectic shops and studios as well as its partying gay community. Like heterosexuals, gays come in all shapes and sizes and large, hairy men call themselves “bears.”

Much goes on during Bear Week that could spread germs. I’ll leave it there.

These are adults. They aren’t breaking any laws. I’m not judging.

I have nothing against bears or anyone else. But it’s worth noticing that Bear Week was held this summer in Provincetown, Massachusetts from July 10 through the 18th.

What a coincidence!

Contact tracing of so-called “breakthrough infections” of COVID infections in vaccinated individuals shot up to 364 people who were in Provincetown from July 3 through the 17th. Another 127 unvaccinated adults tested positive. Continue reading

COVID: Is It Time to Start Panicking Again?

by James A. Bacon

COVID-19 is moving faster than we can keep up with. The headline news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on a study of an outbreak in Massachusetts, is that vaccinated people are just as likely to spread the highly contagious Delta variant of virus as unvaccinated people. The vaccinated are far more resistant to the disease, but they’re just as likely to spread it.

What the heck do we make of that?

For example, how does this new finding impact mandated-vaccination policies in universities and many places of employment on the grounds that the unvaccinated pose a significant transmission risk to others? If vaxxed and unvaxxed are just as likely to be plague vectors, what’s the public-good justification for requiring vaccinations?

In another issue, the CDC argues that everyone should start wearing masks again. Personally, I don’t feel that masks assault my civil liberties, and I’ve made the decision to start wearing them again in public places. I’m vaccinated, so I don’t feel particularly at risk. If I do get the virus, odds are that I won’t even know it, and if I do, it will be like a bad cold. But if there’s a chance that I could carry and spread the virus to others, I feel a responsibility to the community to wear a mask. Continue reading

Delta Dawn at JMU?

by Joe Fitzgerald

More than 1 in 9 James Madison University students was infected with Covid-19 during the school year that ended in May. To date, the university has accepted little responsibility for those illnesses or for any associated spread in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

President Alger and members of the Senior Leadership Team have been predominantly silent about any mistakes the university may have made and what it will do to correct them this year as students return in the midst of the more virulent Delta Variant spread.

The university’s stance a week after classes began last year was “cautious optimism,” according to an email from Alger a few days before in-person classes were canceled. A few weeks later a university spokesperson, not Alger or any senior administrator, told the media, “There’s nothing at blame here except for the virus.”

Silence from the university and from Alger has continued this summer. The university has said it will require students to be vaccinated, but in effect the policy amounts to asking students to tell the university if they aren’t going to be vaccinated. Faculty and staff are explicitly not required to be vaccinated. Continue reading

Vaccine Shaming Will Backfire

by Kerry Dougherty

Lemme get the straight. The president wants everyone in the country to get vaccinated against Covid-19 — an admirable goal that would likely reduce the virus to a national head cold.

So how is he persuading those who are reluctant to take the vaccine to get a shot?

By insulting them.

Just this week Joe Biden said “If you’re not vaccinated, you are not nearly as smart as I thought you were!”

Way to go. I’m sure that calling the unvaxxed stupid ought to convince them to roll up their sleeves. Continue reading

Why So Much Vaccine Hesitancy?

COVID-19 Vaccine doses received -- Virginia

COVID-19 vaccines received — Virginia

by James A. Bacon

Only a month ago, it seemed as if we were putting COVID-19 behind us. With the emergence of the super-virulent Delta strain, all bets are off. Even vaccinated people and virus-resistant school children are being called upon to start wearing masks. I have no set opinions on the proper course of action. Receptive to a wide range of viewpoints, I am in data-gathering mode. Suspecting that many other readers are as well, I am resurrecting a Bacon’s Rebellion feature from earlier in the pandemic in which I regularly posted snapshots of Virginia COVID data.

The graph above highlights the fact that almost everyone who wants a vaccine in Virginia has been able to get it. The state has received 10.2 million doses, of which 87.5% have been administered. The rate at which the state is receiving new vaccine supplies, an indicator of how many people are getting vaccinated, has tailed off to almost nothing. Earlier this year, vaccine supply was the bottleneck. Today, vaccine hesitancy is the problem.

Why? Continue reading

Dazed and Confused: The CDC

by Kerry Dougherty

Confused?

Of course you are. Anyone watching the hair-on-fire ninnies at the CDC is dizzy by now.

They lack common sense, their pronouncements are irrational, their messaging is bizarre. Oh, and they clearly have no idea what they’re doing.

One day these “experts” are experiencing scary “feelings of impending doom.” Next they announce that the vaccinated can ditch the masks. Now they say the vaccines work but the vaccinated should wear masks to protect others, presumably the unvaccinated.

Ridiculous.

Oh, and without citing any data, on Tuesday the CDC declared that all children in grades K-12 — who are at almost no risk of serious illness — should wear masks all day in school this fall. Continue reading

The Missing Data in the School-Mask Mandate Controversy

Virginia confirmed COVID-19 cases

by James A. Bacon

The Northam administration has issued new guidelines urging unvaccinated students and staff to keep wearing masks in K-12 schools this fall — but won’t require them to do so. Some school districts, like Chesapeake, have voted to nix the masks, while others, like Virginia Beach (see Kerry Dougherty’s column below), will make the masks mandatory.

The Virginia Department of Health’s “Interim Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Virginia preK-12 Schools” says the mask mandate should remain in place until there has been sufficient time to allow for children under 12 to be fully vaccinated. The VDH follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control has  said vaccinated teachers and students need not wear masks.

Does a mask mandate for schools make sense? News accounts provide no data to help Virginians reach an intelligent judgment. Bacon’s Rebellion steps in to fill the void.

The big picture. The debate over masks in schools occurs against a backdrop of resurging COVID-19 cases as the highly transmissible Delta variant becomes the dominant strain. In line with national trends, Virginia has experienced a rise in cases. However, as seen in the graph above, the number remains far below the levels seen earlier in the year. Continue reading

Far-Left Beach School Board Ignores Cries to Remove Masks

by Kerry Dougherty

I’ve seen this movie before, I thought, as I watched Tuesday night’s Virginia Beach School Board meeting on my computer. And I know how it ends.

To the parents lined up to speak in favor of a motion to make masks optional for students this fall I wanted to shout, Save your breath. Their minds are made up.

Have I mentioned I spent 42 years in daily newspapers? Well, I did, and during that time my least favorite assignments were always public meetings. Early in my career I covered the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board for The Washington Post. Later, at The Virginian-Pilot, I covered several different City Councils as well as the Virginia Beach School Board.

Spend enough time in mind-numbing meetings and you notice a tedious predictability in the way they conduct their business.

This is how it goes: Continue reading

More Clarity, Please, About Vaccinations for COVID Survivors

by James A. Bacon

Since late January, when COVID-19 vaccines became available to the general public in Virginia, 99.4% of the cases, 99% of hospitalizations, and 99.3% of deaths have occurred in people who have not been vaccinated, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA).

“The scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that the COVID-19 vaccines prevent people from becoming seriously ill, requiring hospitalization, or dying from the virus, as well as spreading it to others,” states the hospital lobby organization in a statement released this morning.

VHHA now supports hospitals and health systems amending their vaccine policies to require vaccinations for employees. Acknowledging that each hospital and health system is “unique,” VHHA leaves it up to each organization to determine the appropriate time to implement a requirement.

I have no doubts about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States. For many segments of the population (including 68-year-olds such as myself), it makes eminent sense to get vaccinated. My big question is whether it makes sense for people who have already survived the virus — at least 685,000 confirmed cases in Virginia — and who can demonstrate that they are protected by antibodies. Continue reading

Vaccinations: Parents Matter

by Kerry Dougherty

Does the left want to replace parents with the state?

Increasingly, the answer seems to be a hard YES.

Here’s one example of government officials actively driving a wedge between parents and children:

Last November, the far-left District of Columbia City Council passed the “Minor Consent For Vaccinations Amendment Act of 2020. “ This parent-shunning measure took effect on March 19, 2021.

In essence, this law allows a child 11 or older to be vaccinated against any disease without the consent — or knowledge, apparently — of their parents.

Chilling.

Yes, I know. Many of you think it’s imperative that young people become vaccinated quickly against COVID-19. But what sort of bizarre collectivist mentality would suggest that parents not be involved in the decision to inject their children with a drug being distributed on an emergency basis and without full FDA approval? Continue reading

Mask Pollution

by Kerry Dougherty

Everyone knows that wearing a mask all day is unpleasant.

Recent studies – one in the U.S., another larger study out of Germany — concluded that masks are actually unhealthy for children. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media ignored the findings.

Fortunately, The Federalist didn’t:

The JAMA report measured averages of 13,120 to 13,910 ppm of carbon dioxide in the inhaled air of children wearing masks, which is over six times higher than the unsafe threshold. The study further pointed out this measurement was after only three minutes of wearing a mask. Children forced to wear masks at school find themselves wearing masks for hours, five days a week.

Apparently, so did the CDC.

Last week that agency unveiled its guidelines for schools and recommended that unvaccinated children be masked all day in school — except when outside — which means elementary school kids who are too young to be vaccinated will most likely be sporting face diapers this fall. Continue reading

COVID’s Latest Victims: Those Afraid to Return to the World

by Kerry Dougherty

If there’s one thing we can all agree upon it’s that mental health services are woefully inadequate in Virginia.

Our jails are filled with mental patients. So are our homeless shelters. Our state hospitals are so packed that they usually don’t have any beds available.

So, given the limited resources available, am I the only one wondering why mental health resources are being spent to help people who are afraid to come out from under their beds now that the COVID emergency is over? Continue reading

Wake Up, Everybody!

Josef Mengele, the so-called “angel of death” at Auschwitz, was not a big believer in informed consent for medical experiments. He evaded capture and condemnation by the Nuremburg Doctors’ Trial. More than a dozen other doctors were hanged or given life sentences.

by Walter Smith

The stupor of Covidiocy has infected all levels of society and greatly damaged our social fabric. Out of fear and suppression of common sense and stories contradictory to “the narrative,” Americans are accepting an assault on their liberties, and have been blinded to see it – even pooh-poohing skeptics like me as “anti-science,” “anti-vax,” or “out of bounds” for making comparisons to precedents from the Nuremberg trials. Well, buckle up.

The COVID vaccine mandates are illegal and unconstitutional. That 450 colleges and universities have mandated the vaccination of students shows how little respect our elites – the “experts” who engaged in “gain of function” research, funded it in China when prohibited onshore, and lied about it – have for our liberties.

The Nuremberg Code was established as a result of the Doctors’ Trial after World War II. It set forth the premise for why certain doctors deserved punishment, including execution. I’m sorry if this offends you – while the truth may hurt, it can also set you free. Just read Article 1 on consent for medical experiments. Clear enough? Continue reading

Virginia Approaching Herd Immunity

Number of confirmed and “probable” cases of COVID-19. The yellow line shows the seven-day moving average. Source: Virginia Department of Education

by James A. Bacon

You wouldn’t know it from media hyperventilating over the Delta variant of COVID-19, but Virginia health authorities are reporting only 200 or so confirmed cases of the virus daily — the lowest level since mid-March when the epidemic was first taking hold in the state.

The seven-day moving average for hospitalizations is down to about 10 per day, and the average for deaths, a lagging indicator, is below ten.

I’m reporting these numbers to provide context for the preceding column in which Kerry Dougherty decried President Joe Biden’s announcement that the government will send people door-to-door to encourage people to take the COVID-19 vaccine. (Although Virginia’s COVID-19 state of emergency expired June 30, most of the state’s public universities are mandating vaccinations for students returning to campus this fall.) Continue reading

What’s Next? Vaccine Goon Squads?

by Kerry Dougherty

Well, it looks like America went from 15 days to slow the spread to vaccine goon squads fanning out across the country, going door to door to demand that everyone get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Who didn’t see this coming?

According to a story in The New York Post, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration would step up efforts to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 with a new program that would go ‘door to door, literally knocking on doors,’ urging people to get the shots…

The administration failed to reach its self-imposed goal of having 70% of the nation’s eligible people at least partially vaccinated by July 4th. In a briefing earlier in the day, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that by the end of this week nearly 160 million Americans would be fully vaccinated.

When asked about whether the administration would halt or slow initiatives to convince Americans to take the vaccine now that the remaining hold outs seem unwilling, Psaki insisted that efforts would continue, though she did rule out any federal mandates for now. Continue reading