Category Archives: Public safety & health

Will Northam Cling to Mask Mandates?

Yes, I burned a mask yesterday. It felt good.

by Kerry Dougherty

Well, the ball’s now in Ralph Northam’s court. The CDC announced yesterday that it’s recommending vaccinated people lose the masks.

Indoors and out. Imagine that!

And, no, the science didn’t magically change yesterday. Many of us knew all along that a piece of cloth couldn’t stop a virus.

What changed is that the Biden administration is up to it’s wrinkly neck in problems. Gas lines, inflation, a border crisis, poor employment numbers and a war brewing in the Middle East are quickly eroding the president’s popularity. Getting rid of masks — which normal people hate — is a way to curry favor with the public.

There is no need for vaccine passports, although the CDC seemed to set the table for them. Predictably, Karens are screaming for them.

They miss the point. Vaccines are widely available, so those who aren’t vaccinated are on their own. The vaccinated should mind their own business. It matters not if the maskless guy next to you hasn’t gotten the vaccine. You’re protected! Continue reading

Shots for American Kids While Indians Are Dying for the Vaccine?

by Kerry Dougherty

It was yet another gird-your-loins day in Virginia on Thursday.

Gov. Ralph Northam held a briefing on COVID-19, which could only mean one thing: more disappointing news from the Rajah of Richmond.

Northam said he may lift his now-14 month-old emergency order- – an abuse of power by any standard — in June.

If Virginians continue to get vaccinated in numbers that please him, that is.

No, he will not tell us what that number is. He’ll know it when he sees it.

Alas, masks will still be with us. After a series of idiotic rules from Richmond — no sitting on the beach, no music on the beach, school closings, gym closings, curfews, alcohol sale restrictions — Northam is now deferring to the nuts at the CDC to decide when masks can come off.

Lucky us.

Best of all, the governor is giddy at the notion of Virginia’s children getting vaccinated against a disease that poses almost no risk to them. So far he said, 63,000 Virginians aged 16 and 17 have gotten the shot! He can’t wait till it’s offered to 12-year-olds. Continue reading

The Ballad Merger II: Cuts and Consolidations

by Carol J. Bova

Upon the merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System in 2018, the first order of business for the newly created Ballad Health was shoring up its finances. If Ballad wasn’t successful at this, it would not have the resources to invest in the new services, facilities, programs, and equipment to improve community health it had promised as a condition of the merger.

Not all of Ballad’s actions were well-received. Some changes triggered community protests and county objections in its Tennessee and Virginia service territories. But the company did achieve its aim of bolstering cash flow. Here’s how Ballad went about it.

Job cuts. Financial conditions were adverse from the beginning. In an April 16, 2018 letter to the Tennessee Commissioner of Health, ten weeks into the merger, Ballad wrote that “due to the increased cost of labor, pharmaceuticals and supplies, and the continued shift to the outpatient setting from inpatient, operating income of the combined systems has declined by 123% since the same time in the prior year.” Continue reading

Why Can’t We Have a Governor Like DeSantis?

by Kerry Dougherty

Help me out here. I’m trying to decide which of the seven deadly sins I’m committing every time I see Gov. Ron DeSantis on TV or in print and wish he were governor of Virginia.

It is covetousness? Or envy?

Well, defines the first as “eager or excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions.”

So I guess it’s envy I’m experiencing. Mea culpa.

I can’t help it. It started last summer when DeSantis announced that Florida kids could play youth sports. Yep, even contact sports.

It was May 22, 2020 when The Tampa Bay Times reported this shocking news:

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he was ending all restrictions on youth activities across the state, including camps and youth sports. The declaration was the governor’s latest move to wake Florida from its coronavirus-induced economic slumber.

Continue reading

About Those Face Masks for Kids…

Letter from Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach, to Governor Ralph Northam, dated May 5, 2021:

With the onset of warm weather and summer quickly approaching, we request clarification of your mask protocol for children participating in required school activities.

I heard from multiple constituents regarding yesterday’s high temperature and the dangerous effect it had on our school age children, who are still being required to wear masks when participating in PE and recess. Here in Virginia Beach, temperatures reached a high of 92 degrees, and numerous children suffered heat-related complications and injury as a result of wearing a mask.

Governor, the CDC has already announced that masks are not necessary when outdoors. In addition, with school staff being vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 transmission to students is minimal. There is no health benefit to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by having our children wear masks outside. If your mask protocol is an attempt to protect our children, I would submit that requiring masks outdoors and inside during PE accomplishes quite the opposite of
protecting—it is, in fact, harmful. Continue reading

Union Bosses Bullied the CDC to Keep Schools Closed

by Kerry Dougherty

Anyone remember when Donald Trump was pummeled for putting pressure on the CDC over COVID?

Wonder what those critics are saying now that we learn union bosses from the American Federation of Teachers essentially wrote public policy for the agency that kept children locked out of schools last winter.

It’s an astonishing, but not an altogether surprising development, given the outsized influence teachers and other trade unions have in the Biden administration.

In a Saturday front-page story headlined, “Powerful Teachers Union Influenced CDC On School Reopenings, Emails Show,” The New York Post reported that it was muscle from the militant AFT, rather than science, that slowed school reopening in many places. Continue reading

Maskless in Mississippi

by Kerry Dougherty

There’s so much news we could discuss today. But it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

I’m here to be a little ray of Monday morning sunshine. I want to assure you that a lifetime of living as a free American can’t be wiped out by 14 months of living under the thumb of power-drunk governors.

Yes, I visited one of the Free States over the weekend. And it was exhilarating. Best of all, re-adjusting to normal was easy.

No doubt you’ve been hearing about what it’s like in states such as Florida, Texas and Tennessee. Places where governors realize that lockdowns and mask mandates have little impact on the spread of the virus and where they trust their citizens to make their own decisions about how much risk they are willing to take with their health.

Imagine that.

Unfortunately, we live in Virginia where one man — Gov. Ralph Northam — decides how many people can watch a ballgame or come to your wedding and whether you can buy an adult beverage after midnight. Continue reading

Did Joe Biden Just Cost Virginia Democrats 47,000 Votes?

by Chris Saxman

Full disclosure on this one: I hate cigarettes. I have never smoked one — ever. When I waited tables and tended bar, the worst part of the job was cleaning ash trays. And that includes the time I had to break up a bar fight after which the teeth swallowing loser had a tracheotomy performed on him.

Today’s front page of the Wall Street Journal had this article : Biden Administration to Seek Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Tobacco industry indicates court fight is possible over move, which would take years to implement. Going through the courts gets around the legislative process — again.

In the article one finds this nugget that should get the attention of any observer of Virginia politics:

In the U.S., 84% of Black smokers and 47% of Hispanic smokers use menthols, compared with 30% of white smokers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health data. Continue reading

Word Salads from Wankers

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s official. The CDC is run by wankers.

(Yes, I am binge-watching Apple TV’s  “Ted Lasso.” Why do you ask?)

These fools constantly move the goalposts – remember 15 days to slow the spread? Remember just wear a mask for 100 days? – and issue rules that no one with a lick of common sense would follow. Let alone anyone who took high school science.

Take yesterday’s big announcement, for instance.

The CDC declared that it’s safe for all of us – the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike – to go maskless when we bike, run or walk with members of our households. Continue reading

Camping’s COVID Killjoys

by Kerry Dougherty

Someone call a lawyer. I have whiplash.

Happens every time I try to make sense make of America’s top health “experts” and their contradictory opinions, which have a peculiar way of becoming policy. Especially in blue states with governors eager to please the president.


Just this past weekend, for instance, Dr. Anthony Fauci was in his usual place: The make-up chair at one of the Sunday news shows.

Later, on air with George Stephanopoulis, Fauci conceded that the chance of contracting or spreading Covid-19 outdoors was very, very slim and hinted that the CDC would be issuing new recommendations regarding the wearing of masks outside. (President Biden is due to make read a statement on masks today.)

“What I believe you’re going to be hearing, what the country is going to be hearing soon, is updated guidelines from the CDC,” Fauci told ABC’s Sunday program “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “The CDC is a science-based organization. They don’t want to make any guidelines unless they look at the data and the data backs it up.”

“But when you look around at the common sense situation, the risk is really low, especially if you’re vaccinated,” he said.

I hesitate to point this out, but lots of us knew this a year ago, back when Gov. Ralph Northam foolishly outlawed sunbathing and then beach volleyball, lest anyone get sick and die from touching a COVID-tainted ball. Continue reading

UVa in the Age of Covidiocy

by Walter Smith

In late February of 2020 my oldest son traveled to Kansas City to meet with a group of Californians. Upon his return, he felt beat. Attributing his fatigue to work and travel, he soon felt better and came to our house a number of times. Our youngest began to feel poorly. After a couple of days, she visited a “doc in a box” where Flu A and Flu B tests were negative and she was told stay home, rest, and take aspirin and liquids. She missed school Monday and started attending again Tuesday until her world, and everyone’s, turned topsy turvy on March 11, 2020.

In the morass of data collected by the CDC, my daughter’s case is probably classified as ILI – Influenza Like Illness. I am convinced she and my son had COVID and that my wife and I, who have never been affected by seasonal flus, “had” it asymptomatically.

Colored by my personal experience, I don’t put much stock in official COVID statistics. I have been unimpressed by the performance of the “experts” in their management of the epidemic from the federal government on down. The nation has succumbed to what I call Covidiocy, where epidemiology meets the madness of crowds. In particular, I have been disappointed with the response of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, which, as a center of medical science, could have been a voice of reason but was not. Continue reading

Mentally Ill in Jails, Part 3: Costs, Legislative Initiatives, and a Modest Proposal

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

(Note: This is the third, and final, post in a series examining the issue of mentally ill people being held in jails. Earlier posts can be found here and here.)

Costs. In comments to the previous installments, several readers brought up the issue of the cost of providing services for the mentally ill in jails, as well as the comparable costs of mental health services and the costs of incarceration. This is a tricky subject.

There will be costs. Programs to divert the mentally ill from jail or to provide treatment services while in jail will cost money. There is no getting around that.  How much it will cost will depend on the scope of the diversion and treatment efforts. A second question is who bears, or should bear, those costs.

Incarceration vs. treatment. Is it cheaper to treat the mentally ill than to hold them in jail? Probably not. Many advocates for diversion and treatment point to the daily cost per offender in jail. In FY 2019, the latest year for which data is available, the operating cost per inmate for all jails was $91.97 per day. The daily cost per individual jail varied from $270.55 (Fairfax County) to $48.69 (Piedmont Regional Jail). Continue reading

COVID Panic Porn and the American Left

by Kerry Dougherty

Last month I gave blood at a local church. As I was leaving, I struggled with my raincoat and a very nice woman standing nearby said she’d like to help, “…but with Covid…”

I said “thanks” and felt sorry for her. She honestly believed that grabbing the sleeve of my twisted jacket might kill her.

As we walked out of the church, masked and 6-feet apart, she said the thing she missed most during the pandemic was singing in the church choir,

“Oh, you’ll be singing again this Christmas,” I said, smiling under my grungy mask.

“I doubt it,” she sighed. “I’m not sure we’ll ever sing in choirs again. It’s so dangerous. It’s the most effective way to spread germs.”

I was dumbfounded. Harmonizing in church choirs is “so dangerous” that it may never come back? Who in the world believes that? Continue reading

Vaccine Passports: Let’s Pass

by Kerry Dougherty

Want a peek at what some of the more authoritarian types in the U.S. have planned for you?

Look no farther than St. Vincent, a lovely little archipelago in the Windward Islands.

At least it used to be a lovely little island. On April 9 the most dangerous volcano in the Caribbean exploded, leaving much of the island uninhabitable.

Water supplies have been cut, airspace is closed due to volcanic ash and there are reportedly rivers of lava and debris racing down the mountainsides.

The kind of place you’d want to leave – quickly – if you were one of the nation’s 110,589 inhabitants.

But get a load of this. On Saturday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made a startling announcement: Only those who could provide proof of a vaccination against Covid-19 could be evacuated to nearby islands. Cruise ships were standing by, ready to transport them. Continue reading

New COVID Data Dump

Source: Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

by James A. Bacon

New Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) data shows the impact of Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order banning elective surgeries last year. Hospital discharges across Virginia plunged from nearly 17,000 per week when the first COVID-19 cases were reported in the state to less than 12,000 — a drop of 31%. Then, after the ban was lifted, discharges rose to about 15,000 per week and stayed at that level — significantly lower than in previous years.

The discharge data, reported yesterday in a  VHHA report, “COVID Hospitalization & ED Visit Trends,” includes both elective and non-elective inpatient hospitalizations.

The freefall in elective procedures cannot be attributed entirely to Northam’s executive order, issued from a fear that the epidemic might overwhelm hospitals with COVID-19 patients. Many hospitals began restricting discretionary procedures before the governor issued the edict, and many patients chose voluntarily to delay procedures for fear of exposing themselves to the virus in a healthcare facility. Continue reading