COVID-19 Coverup?

by James C. Sherlock

I have published criticisms of the Northam administration’s handling of COVID-19 crisis not to embarrass the administration but to inform it and recommend how it might improve. But I find the administration’s action in removing from public view the main source of that embarrassment — “the page you are looking for no longer exists”[1] — to be profoundly unethical.

Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver said in an interview yesterday, “Department and emergency services personnel throughout the state ran through a scenario in May 2019, looking at what would happen if a pandemic caused tens of thousands of deaths. They looked at everything from how to treat people to where to put the bodies.”

He did not say how rigorous the “run through of the scenario” was, if he or the Secretary or the Governor participated, whether the participants learned anything, or whether they took any action based on those lessons learned. But we know exactly what the scenario was, because the Virginia Department of Health got it from FEMA. (The national assumptions for such a scenario are below.)

Oliver also did not mention the Virginia Pandemic Response Annex #4 to the Virginia Emergency Operations Plan. That plan was remarkably prescient about the arrival and effects of pandemic influenza. It was built on the FEMA template which you can see here. The Virginia annex modeled it exactly. It discussed such things as state responsibility to stockpile supplies in case of such an epidemic.

In a related development, the Emergency Operations Plan has been removed from the website[2] from which I have repeatedly referenced it in my writings.

Fortunately Rockbridge County, the City of Buena Vista and the City of Lexington apparently did not get the memo, because their Pandemic Influenza Annex, linked to that of the State, is still online[3] at this writing. It is a terrific plan, but depends upon the state holding up its end of the relationship.

So, I will share with you the nationwide planning assumptions so that you can judge their accuracy in predicting COVID-19.

National Strategy for Influenza Implementation

“Planning Assumptions (Sample text)[4]

  • Susceptibility to the pandemic influenza virus will be universal.
  • Efficient and sustained person-to-person transmission signals an imminent pandemic.
  • The clinical disease attack rate will likely be 30% or higher in the overall population during the pandemic. Illness rates will be highest among school-aged children (about 40%) and decline with age. Among working adults, an average of 20% will become ill during a community outbreak. Some persons will become infected but not develop clinically significant symptoms. Asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic individuals can transmit infection and develop immunity to subsequent infection.
  • Of those who become ill with influenza, 50% will seek outpatient medical care. With the availability of effective antiviral drugs for treatment, this proportion may be higher in the next pandemic.
  • The number of hospitalizations and deaths will depend on the virulence of the pandemic virus. Estimates differ about 10-fold between more and less severe scenarios. Two scenarios are presented based on extrapolation of past pandemic experience. Planning should include the more severe scenario. Risk groups for severe and fatal infection cannot be predicted with certainty but are likely to include infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with chronic medical conditions.
  • Rates of absenteeism will depend on the severity of the pandemic. In a severe pandemic, absenteeism attributable to illness, the need to care for ill family members, and fear of infection may reach 40% during the peak weeks of a community outbreak, with lower rates of absenteeism during the weeks before and after the peak. Certain public health measures (closing organizations, quarantining household contacts of infected individuals, “snow days”) are likely to increase rates of absenteeism.
  • The typical incubation period (interval between infection and onset of symptoms) for influenza is approximately two days.
  • Persons who become ill may shed virus and can transmit infection for up to one day before the onset of symptoms. Viral shedding and the risk of transmission will be greatest during the first two days of illness. Children usually shed the greatest amount of virus and therefore are likely to post the greatest risk for transmission.
  • On average, infected persons will transmit infection to approximately two other people.
  • A pandemic outbreak in any given community will last about six to eight weeks for each wave of the pandemic.
  • Multiple waves (periods during which community outbreaks occur across the country) of illness could occur with each wave lasting two-three months. Historically, the largest waves have occurred in the fall and winter, but the seasonality of a pandemic cannot be predicted with certainty.
  • The stages of the pandemic should occur sequentially, though, they may overlap or occur so rapidly as to appear to be occurring simultaneously or being skipped.”

Planning Guidance and Projections for State and Local Governments and Private Businesses

The Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation can be found here.

HHS and CDC developed interim planning guidance with regard to the application and timing of non-pharmaceutical interventions for states and local governments in February 2007 (and it was updated in 2012). This guidance supports the development and implementation of a community’s overall mitigation strategy that includes both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures, in the context of a Pandemic Severity Index. The Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) provides a framework that integrates the types of partially effective non-pharmaceutical interventions with suggested implementation and duration times in an attempt to maximize the overall benefit to the community, while minimizing the potential cascading consequences of implementing recommended interventions.

The PSI uses a case fatality ratio as the critical factor in categorizing the severity of a pandemic. This tool was designed to serve as a guide in discussions with schools, colleges and universities, and other community sectors and support the timely development and implementation of an effective local, regional, and state strategy in the context of an estimated level of severity.

The guidance recognizes that the connectedness of communities goes beyond spatial proximity to include ease, speed, and volume of travel between geopolitical jurisdictions. To balance the relationship of connectedness and optimal timing, the guidance proposes that the geopolitical trigger be defined as the cluster of cases occurring within a U.S. state or proximate epidemiological region which spans beyond a state’s boundary.”[5]

From the charts below, which FEMA and HHS included in the guidance for states and localities, you can see that Category 5 worst case projections without mitigation anticipated more than 1.8 million deaths nationally.

Current projections are in Category 2. If you look at the charts below, you will see that at federal urging state governments are implementing Category 4 and 5 recommendations to keep the pandemic outcomes at Category 2 levels.

Summary and Recommendations

Federal responses have a much wider range of options than the state and local ones. National level actions included in January banning travel from China before any of these state and local actions kicked in. But in our system of government, the President cannot mandate state and local actions, only recommend. Governors can order them, and they have, at varying degrees of severity of restrictions.

If you have watched the daily presidential press conferences that display the world-class talent at work on the problems 20 hours a day, it is impossible not to be impressed. But the federal government does not have state responsibilities including last-mile logistics. The President has recommended the governors use National Guard transport for distribution when commercial transportation is too slow or not available.

Governor Northam and his administration needs to get better help and may have access to it at MITRE, as recommended in this space. But taking down the pre-existing state planning document is a scandal. I do not know who ordered that action, but the Governor must find out and fire him or her publicly to send a message to both his administration and the people of Virginia about transparency and ethics.


[2] ibid.



[5] – modeled from

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40 responses to “COVID-19 Coverup?

  1. I, too, find it alarming that the VDH removed the critical planning documents you referred to. It’s a reasonable working hypothesis that someone acted out of embarrassment — but it’s only a hypothesis, an inference.

    Perhaps you could describe why you find the removal “unethical.”

    • I did not expect to have to defend public access to government information on this site, but so be it.
      The definition of unethical is not conforming to a high moral standard. Call me judgmental, but I personally do not considering CYA activities moral. Whomever removed it removed the best public resource with which to assess not only what has been done, but what may or should be done going forward. There was no public purpose for taking it down, only personal embarrassment. Reporters everywhere recognize the syndrome.
      The Virginia Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Virginia. Those laws have been violated in this time of crisis to deny the public information embarrassing to the administration.
      Code of Virginia § 2.2-3700. Short title; policy.
      “A. This chapter may be cited as “The Virginia Freedom of Information Act.”
      B. By enacting this chapter, the General Assembly ensures the people of the Commonwealth ready access to public records in the custody of a public body or its officers and employees, and free entry to meetings of public bodies wherein the business of the people is being conducted. The affairs of government are not intended to be conducted in an atmosphere of secrecy since at all times the public is to be the beneficiary of any action taken at any level of government.”
      Hard to mistake the policy, and hard to mistake that this action violated that policy.

      • One could also argue that the removal is a violation of the Virginia Public Records Act, particularly § 42.1-86 and § 42.1-86.1. My guess is the AG will be rather unwilling to enforce its provisions.

      • Jim – there is a time and a place for everything and at the height of a time when people are literally dying and all govt is scrambling to try to deal with it and limit the damage – the anti-govt zealots are still at it – pecking away and playing their “we gotta keep govmint accountable” game.

        There is a time and a place – I’m willing to bet as a former military person you do understand that.

        Right now – a lot of things are broken, some already were broken and more will break… no shock – we are imperfect – all of us and that includes our govt.

        I just don’t see the benefit of playing that same song over and over, it’s monotonous enough during normal times.

        I’m NOT encouraging you to not post and you have had some excellent ones and looking forward to more – where I do learn things that I did not know and I do thank you for that.

        So ending on a positive note. Thank you for what you do!

        • BULLSHIT! There is never a time to ignore, overlook or excuse willful actions such as these at any level of governance. My guess is your tune would be markedly different if the Governor’s Office decided to unilaterally suspend the civil rights or threaten the health, safety and/or welfare of a particular segment of the population. I know its trite but the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, pandemic or not.

          • Ha Ha. Too true, Mom. The same Democrats and Richmond apologists who don’t think this is the time to hold Northam accountable are the same people whose heads are exploding over Trump’s efforts around Coronavirus. They were also the same people who barked like scalded dogs when BP went through the accident of the Deepwater Horizon. Accountability for all, unless “all” is a hapless Democrat member of the Virginia plantation elite.

  2. What struck me about the national planning assumptions is how prescient some of the assumptions were — but also how different many were from what has actually transpired. For example, COVID-19 has afflicted the elderly (especially those with co-existing conditions) far more than younger people. Children are the least affected at all.

    Please complete the logic loop for me. What difference does it make if the Northam administration used different assumptions back in 2019? Can you trace any of its actions in this actual epidemic to that planning exercise, and how those actions have been detrimental to the health and safety of Virginians?

    • I will close the loop. If anybody in authority had opened the existing Virginia Pandemic Response Annex #4 to the Virginia Emergency Operations Plan in support of this 2019 table top exercise, he or she would have noticed immediately that it called for pre-crisis preparations such as
      1. create and maintain stockpiles of medical equipment and material across the state for emergency use;
      2. state exercise projected surge activities, all specified in a long checklist of such activities the plan; and
      3. the state prepare to distribute not only from the state stockpiles but also acquire and distribute additional equipment and material with limited federal assistance.
      I would list more of the elements of the plan but, alas, it is no longer available. I have a FEMA powerpoint presentation on the table top that was conducted last year. It depended for its success on the participants reviewing and discussing that plan. In reading the plan itself, a fourth grader would have noticed that Virginia was not ready to execute it. Actions should have been taken other than a post-exercise report, assuming one was written. If so, it is not available to the public either.

  3. Fans of “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister” (in book or video form) will recognize this behavior. Sir Humphrey would approve. I won’t attempt to defend it.

  4. March 5 was less than a month ago.

    “The Commonwealth is taking this public health issue seriously, and we have a plan in place to respond to COVID-19,” said Governor Ralph Northam in a prepared statement. “We have a plan, we are executing it, and we are prepared.”

    Virginia tested fewer people yesterday than the day before. We are now 43rd in per capita testing. Yesterday we were 40th.

    And where are our Democratic leaders – Saslaw, Filler-Corn, Kaine, Warner?

    In a state with a strict implementation of Dillon’s Rule the state government has to be competent. In Virginia that state government is observably incompetent.

  5. Having participated in “Disaster Planning” ( now sometimes called continuity of operations), it’s often been the step-child/black sheep of tasking when operations are in full gear and no disasters occurring.

    No excuses. It’s human nature. Sit down in your own case and try to thoroughly document the various conceivable disasters in your own case and how you would handle them and it’s an onerous task to do and easy to put off when your world is running normal and you got other things on your mind.

    Works the same way in a lot of private sector and government – the people who do this best are the military – where they DO conceive of disasters and the ability to continue operations even in a casualty scenario.

    This disaster is unprecedented in the lives of most of us and the idea of “holding people accountable” for lapses is just butt ugly and mean spirited especially while it is ongoing.

    We have some serious issues. Right now, it’s all hands on deck. After it’s over with, we’ll go through and do a proper assessment but the mindset of going after people in the middle of this is just plain wrong-headed.

    What is wrong with us that even in the middle of something that threatens all of us -we’re going after people for their perceived sins?

    Neither Northam, nor VDH nor others in this administration are heros nor goats – they’re doing the best they can with what they have and that includes their own ability to function effectively.

    The anti-govt boo-birds need to take a break. Sit down. Shut up and give it a pause.

    • You must be feeling better Larry.

      • Jim – holding govt accountable is a correct thing to do and lord knows there is always no shortage of fertile ground to plow but the current cable of criticizers know no limits. It’s like a bunch of feral dogs or hyenas.

        And it’s especially ugly when they just keep going at times like this.

        I do not expect anyone to fawn praise on Northam or anyone else for that matter – that’s almost as disgusting…

        but the roving gangs of vigilantes out to “hold the govt accountable” are little more than adolescent vandals at this point… my 2 cents.

  6. I am puzzled by this expression of outrage. Does anyone think that the general population of Virginia actually cares about whether a plan is on the VDH website or not? Perhaps it was taken down because the current situation is not an influenza pandemic. This is something different. As a Columbia epidemiologist commented:

    “We don’t have a sense of what’s going on in the here and now, and we don’t know what people will do in the future,” he said. “We don’t know if the virus is seasonal, as well.”

    There has also been a lot criticism by some of this blog’s commenters about the failure of the Northam administration to develop a model. First of all, VDH is not staffed for that; it is dependent on academic modelers. Second, in order to build a model, one needs data, both current and past history. We don’t have that. It is a new virus and the situation is changing daily. Before anyone says that Virginia should be equipped to handle such a situation, I would note that the federal government, with much better resources than we have, is in the same boat. It is relying on models developed by outside academic entities and those models vary greatly. A Washington Post article today summarizes this situation nicely:

  7. The outrage should not be that the Pandemic document was removed from the website––it’s that it was entirely removed from the Emergency Operations Plan.

    The September 2019 Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan does not discuss human epidemics or pandemics.

    Epidemic, Infection, Infectious, Influenza, Pandemic – are not mentioned in the plan.

    Key Terms and Acronyms on page 104 lists “Affected Area.”
    “Any part or the whole of the Commonwealth, which has been identified as where persons reside, or may be located, who are known to have been exposed to or infected with or who are reasonably suspected to have been exposed to or infected with a Communicable Disease of Public Health Threat.”
    But public health threat is only mentioned under Agriculture and Natural Resources on page 40.

    Disease, Contagious, Outbreak References:
    Other than detailed instructions on communications, there are only two VDH references that apply to our current situation, but don’t go far enough or describe any preparation as the previous document did:

    p. 39 ESF 8 Public Health and Medical
    • Prevention of disease to include surveillance and investigation of diseases and other conditions and implementation of intervention measures.
    • Fatality management operations and coordination to include post mortem disease surveillance

    Everything else is either disaster oriented or concerning animals, plants or pests, not humans, unless you count zoonotic transmission.

  8. Highly pertinent deletions and omissions.


    Because the threats were real, thus true. Thus real threats to the elite good old boys, and their system, if exposed to light of day.

    This is the Virginia way, noblesse oblige. It’s been going on since colonial courthouse days in Old Dominion. The lawyer culture Virginia style with Jeffersonian tint. Patrician knows best. Plus he needs a bit of cash to tide his Excellency over, ya know gambling debts on horses, bourbon, women, and like.

  9. Read my detailed replies to Jim Bacon’s questions above.

  10. One last question. Do we expect the official Virginia assessment of the preparation for and performance of the state and local governments in COVID-19 compare it to the pre-existing plan?

  11. “The anti-govt boo-birds need to take a break. Sit down. Shut up and give it a pause.”

    Bacon’s Rebellion is not the Washington Post, which finds fault with President Trump in every single coronavirus story it publishes. Literally every one. And the paper blasts out the headlines every day in a newsletter that I get. Basically, the business model is feeding Trump Derangement Syndrome in its subscriber base. It is beyond contemptible in a national emergency. So, I understand what you’re saying.

    I have my partisan prejudices as well. But, like Jim Sherlock, I’ve tried to stay reasonably objective. When Northam does something right, give him credit. When something is beyond his control, acknowledge it. Admit that the choices are often between doing-the-least-harm alternatives. And concede that the guy in charge often has to make decision on the basis of incomplete information.

    There is a constructive role that the “loyal opposition” can play. Yes, I consider myself the “loyal opposition,” not “the resistance.” But it’s all too common for the guy in charge to live in an echo chamber. Someone has to call out the unpleasant facts. Someone has to push back and question the received wisdom. So, no, I’m not going to let up. I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing.

    And I’m counting on people like you, Larry, to keep me honest.

    • Nicely put Jim Bacon –

      Here is elaboration on leadership not by press release, but effective action in a tough world, the real one.

      “Nothing separates the shallow from the serious faster than high-stakes moments. At the federal level, Americans are seeing the serious in the White House task force briefings that provide daily updates on the government’s actions. When this is all over, we will find that the federal response was far from perfect. But we’ll also see that once the executive branch grasped the enormity of the problem, it moved with soberness, speed and a spirit of cooperation.

      Mr. Trump is at the head of this operation, and while his leadership style isn’t for everyone, he’s certainly leading … Example: The Trump administration spent this week distributing ventilators, standing up small-business loans, dispatching hospital ships, erecting alternate care facilities, explaining virus modeling, revamping regulations to keep truckers on the road, and plastering the airwaves with information about hygiene and social distancing … He addresses the virus in stark terms but also insists on optimism—something that’s important from leaders in tough times …

      Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent this week setting up a new House committee to investigate Donald Trump …” End of Quotes

      These are snippets I rearranged from fine article by Kimberley A. Strassel. It’s titled “Pols Face a Coronavirus Test Who’s leading and who’s seeking political advantage? Here are the answers.” It is found in today’s Wall Street Journal at:

    • But one of the few good things about COVID-19 (and there are damn few good ones) is that more journalists are expected to lose their jobs.

    • Jim,

      I’ve been reading Bacon’s Rebellion since mid-2016 and have enjoyed most of the articles because they are highlighting state and local government issues and events that local news outlets no longer cover at all due to market forces in journalism. I don’t always agree but I enjoy the perspectives.

      “There is a constructive role that the “loyal opposition” can play. Yes, I consider myself the “loyal opposition,” not “the resistance.” But it’s all too common for the guy in charge to live in an echo chamber. Someone has to call out the unpleasant facts. Someone has to push back and question the received wisdom. So, no, I’m not going to let up. I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing.”

      I agree and I think that’s a fair stance, but Dick’s question above is spot on:

      “Does anyone think that the general population of Virginia actually cares about whether a plan is on the VDH website or not?”

      Of all the things going through the public’s mind at this point, whether a plan is on the VDH website isn’t high on the list. Not even close.

      Most people right now are worried about keeping themselves and their loved ones safe. They are worried about how they’re going to feed their family. They are worried about whether they are going to have a job on Monday. They are worried about whether they are going to be able to get a job again in the future. They are worried that if they get sick, is their insurance going to cover it?

      They are looking at the TV in a fashion similar to how we did on September 11th, except this is lasting much longer, the deaths are much higher, and they are doubling every 3 days.

      Is the above article wrong to ask the question? No, absolutely not. But there are better journalistic questions to ask that are relevant to what’s on Virginian’s minds, specific to Virginia:

      (1) “Why aren’t there more tests available in Virginia?”

      (2) “Do we have enough protective equipment for medical personnel in Virginia?”

      (3) “Do we have enough ventilators in Virginia?”

      • The answers to your three questions would have been known before the crisis if the administration had followed its own plan. The reason they still don’t know is that VDH never established the required databases and active management of reporting within its organizational structure to update them. If they had read their own plan and cared about it, they would have. That is unacceptable, but VDH is prone to be passive in these matters. VDH’s symbiotic relationship with the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association had a hand in that. What goes around comes around. We’re here.
        There are four types of symbiotic relationships: mutualism, parasitism, mimicry, and commensalism. I’ll let you assess which one the VDH/VHHA relationship is.

      • Sherlock makes excellent points. This is not just about holding Governor Northam accountable (although the buck stops with him). It may be a matter of holding the people under him, both political appointees and stat eemployees who will continue in place long after Northam is gone. Do we want competent people running the state offices or not?

        It’s may be more reasonable to expect Northam to be conversant with the details of some obscure emergency preparedness exercise than to expect President Trump to be on top of bureaucratic decisions made at the Centers for Disease Control. But we don’t know. Someone needs to find out.

        • Dick is right and so is generally-speaking. There’s a time and place for holding government accountable but youse guys are all bound up over stuff that no reasonable person is going to go ape-crap over – just ya’ll.

          Most folks are trying to figure out how to protect themselves and they already KNOW that govt as well as corporations and other organizations woefully underestimated the scope and scale.

          We’re all gonna move on from this. There will be lessons-learned. Some folks may decide that NOrtham is not capable enough to get elected for some other job.

          There are some notable leaders in this mess – just like there usually are in such momentous disasters.. and there are others who just were not up to the challenge.

          but when the “hold govt accountable” folks walk and talk like hyenas circling a wounded critter… it just doesn’t have a good look to it.

          Constructive criticism – yes… some folks have really good ideas

          more – more!

  12. re: ” Trump Derangement Syndrome” – nope Jim. This is YOUR view
    not others..

    re: ” the loyal Opposition”.

    I think there may be too much self flattery myself and I find sometimes the “keep them honest” has some obvious partisan tones to it – I can google fairly easily and see who the “keep them honest” folks are and whether or not they are truly non-partisan or not.

    The whole Shtick of “keeping govt accountable” is more often than not a continuous drumbeat of … “and then he did that.. and after that they did that… and … and…. ” just on and on and it degenerates into anti-govt rants …

    With regard to COVID-19 – a LOT of stuff has gone sideways and there is a lot of blame to share but at this point in time the “keep govt honest” stuff is just fetid ignorant blather…. time and place –

    • Replace the word “government” in you comment with the word “Trump” and them look in the mirror.

      • Nice try but no cigar. Northam and no one like him gets up and makes a total ass of themselves day after day after day. Calls other people, world leaders, national politicians, ordinary people names… , promotes conspiracy theories and just tells one bald-faced lie after another.

        If Northam did that – then I’d feel exactly the same.

        It’s NOT the Name – it’s the behavior –

        Instead, the folks that like the ignorant big-mouth types – they think Northam is “too quiet” and “not forthcoming”… etc, etc..

        go figure.

        • Exactly. A partisan can always rationalize his partisan behavior.

          You demand that others be non- partisan, yet you are one of the most partisan people who post to this blog.

          You are not even a little bit unbiased, and you appear foolish when you try to claim that you are.

          • You’re sure entitled to your view. I usually take positions on issues not people or parties… though.

            In fact, that’s the original reason I was attracted to BR – it tended to be focused on issues and not so much on people or political parties.

            Taking a position on an issue is not partisan and in m case, you’ll find me in line with the GOP folks on some issues and with the Dems on others.

            but again, you’re certainly entitled to your view also and if you think I AM – then call me on it when it happens.

            GO ahead right now if you want.

  13. The problem with waiting until the Coronavirus matter is resolved before holding government accountable is twofold. First, real people will die who didn’t need to die as our state government stumbles, bumbles and covers up its errors while the crisis is in process. Northam is a lame duck and has been since his inauguration so there’s probably not much that can be done to embarrass him into competent action. However, his surrounding gaggle of Democratic “leaders” is a different matter. It was those leaders and their Democratic Party machine that pushed Northam as governor. It was those leaders who blithely left for home just as the outbreak was starting. It is those leaders who should be leaning on Northam to get his act together but it is those leaders who are invisible and inaudible. It’s time to expand the circle of distrust to include Dick Saslaw, Eileen Filler-Corn, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring. If they are the leaders of the Democratic Party in Virginia then it is time for them to start leading. They aren’t term limited. Secondly, the accounting never comes. From Killary in Benghazi to McAuliffe in Charlottesville … accounting delayed is accounting denied.

    The time for Northam to explain his incompetent testing regime is now. The time to ask whether Saslaw, Fairfax, Filler-Corn and Herring think Northam is doing a good job is now.

    • No DJ. Nothing you say will change things. If it would, I might be with you but right now all you are doing is spreading hate and discontent and it does have a partisan tone to it.

      It’s not legitimate.

      It may well be after all of this – that if Northam seeks higher office that Virginians will consider his performance as Gov as inadequate and him
      not deserving of further leadership roles.

      That’s not right now. No amount of carping and criticism from folks like you is going to change a thing – you’re only joining forces with others turning up the volume on the hate and discontent.

      I very much subscribe to holding govt accountable IF it’s non-partisan and we use the same standard for all leaders and I very much distinguish between non-partisan critics and partisan critics…

      dunno about MOM… yet..

      • You can rest assured that when it comes to holding government accountable, my flamethrower is non-partisan, evidenced by the large number on both sides of the aisle who would gladly stake me over an anthill.

        Assuming you are not bald, I have filed, fulfilled, appealed and litigated more FOIA requests at the Federal, State and Local levels than you have hairs on your head. With respect to public records and retention, I led a team that successfully litigated a similar issue with a Federal agency, one our attorneys (quite rightly) advised against and gave us zero chance of prevailing.

        Thus, this particular circumstance highly irritates me.

        • Note to Mom: Please remember Don and what ails him: “However, (Northam’s) surrounding gaggle of Democratic “leaders” is a different matter … It was those leaders who blithely left for home just as the outbreak was starting. It is those leaders who should be leaning on Northam to get his act together but it is those leaders who are invisible and inaudible. It’s time to expand the circle of distrust to include Dick Saslaw, Eileen Filler-Corn, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring. If they are the leaders of the Democratic Party in Virginia then it is time for them to start leading. They aren’t term limited. Secondly, the accounting never comes. From Killary in Benghazi to McAuliffe in Charlottesville … accounting delayed is accounting denied. The time for Northam to explain his incompetent testing regime is now. (how’d press conference go?) The time to ask whether Saslaw, Fairfax, Filler-Corn and Herring think Northam is doing a good job is now.”

        • I had that impression. Thank you for being non-partisan. I still think there is a time and place thing for the pandemic… but to each his own I guess.

  14. Pingback: Throwing Out a Perfectly Good Plan is No Way to Treat a Virus

  15. Thanks, Carol. I frankly forgot I put that much of the Virginia plan here before they took it down. It was 27 pages long, but this was a taste.

  16. I respect the premise here but i am not sure i understand what the censorship is. I nice, short nut graph high up in this piece would help

  17. Three things to leave you with : this is going to be a long haul.
    1. Northam and his team need a mid-course correction. Certainly he has found people on his team who aren’t cutting it in a crisis. Pull the trigger.
    2. He needs better help than he I’d getting. Bring in proven outside talent, don’t promote a subordinate unless you think he/she shines through;
    3. Get working on recovery plans. Set up visible, high quality advisory panels for industry-specific recovery plans while response is ongoing.
    4. Define the pandemic response plan as an baseline. Take reports from your staff in reference to it even if the recommendations are different. A common standard is a stabilizing influence and provides context.

  18. That helps. Thanks

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