Northam’s Non-COVID Non-Update

Note: video starts at 4:50

by DJ Rippert

Northam fiddles. As a resurgence of COVID-19 spreads across Europe and the United States, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam held a press conference ostensibly to discuss the pandemic. The presser provided little new information about the coronavirus or Virginia’s plans to combat the disease. Northam did review statistics from the five health regions around the state but failed to provide any new guidance for Southwest Virginia where cases are spiking and the positivity rate has reached 8%. Northam’s useful advice was to wear masks, maintain social distance and wash your hands regularly.

The Lee Statue. Having dismissed the rise in COVID-19 cases in Southwest Virginia with Trump-like disdain, Northam called on Attorney General Mark Herring to discuss a recent court case where a judge agreed that the state could remove a statue of Robert E Lee from Richmond. Herring opined about the statues being erected as symbols of white supremacy and heralded the court decision as a major advance in making Virginia more welcoming. The irony of two politicians who have both admitted wearing blackface as adults talking about making the state more welcoming was apparently lost on both men.

Aide parade. Northam made sure to provide some of the spotlight for his aides. A succession of politicos was called forth to discuss everything from the upcoming election to the level of personal protective equipment available at a mental health facility near Richmond. At one point Northam remarked that one of his aides was “literally working 24 – 7.” Literally.

Falling apart. Perhaps Northam can be forgiven for over relying on his aides given the number of health problems he is facing. He has just finished a bout with COVID, broke his right hand which was in a splint during the press conference, and he’s sporting a fairly large bandage on his face from some skin cancer surgery he recently had performed. Add in the flimsy cloth mask that he routinely pulls down when he’s speaking and our governor looks like an extra from a zombie apocalypse movie.

One more time. Northam did take questions from what I can only assume were assembled journalists. The first was from a man named “Andre” who remained off camera. Andre was very interested in the governor’s health and the governor was very interested in Andre’s smile which Northam claimed could light up a room. The bizarre bromance went back and forth before Northam moved on. At about the 0:47 mark a journalist finally asked a real question. The unnamed inquisitor wanted to know what Northam planned to do about the spike in COVID-19 cases in SouthWest Virginia. After falling back to his stock answer of wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing Northam admitted that he had no plans for containing the outbreak in SouthWest Virginia but promised to monitor the situation carefully.

We’re doomed. Let’s be honest — neither Trump nor Biden have an effective plan to battle a resurgence of COVID-19 at the national level. Trump claims victory despite skyrocketing cases while Biden wants to hire 100,000 contact tracers to call people who are apathetic about COVID-19 already. That leaves Northam who is busy monitoring the situation as cases across the country soar to an all time high. Through the spring Northam sleep-walked through Virginia’s miserable testing capability. Now our woke governor is more concerned with VMI students’ commentary on Jodel than the resurgence of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Elections have consequences and the consequences of electing Northam were on full display during yesterday’s non-COVID non-update.