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.

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79 responses to “Northam’s Non-COVID Non-Update

  1. We’re doomed from a disease with a 0.5% or less infection fatality rate? It will take a while. He called the news conference mainly to take a victory lap around Lee Circle, and to invite the media to follow him on a similar victory lap around the VMI Parade Ground. I agree it was mainly news-less.

    • Wait ’til the long-term effects oh brave ‘un.

    • We’re doomed from the economic consequences of a governor who can’t plan ahead and will likely fall into some knee jerk reaction when the spike inevitably comes to Virginia. As an aside, Virginia has recorded 177,000 cases of COVID-19 with 3,616 deaths for a fatality rate of just over 2%. I suppose you could say that new treatments have reduced the death toll lately. Wouldn’t it have been interesting for our governor to have mentioned whether Virginia has an adequate supply of those treatments on hand. Or will he just make things up as he goes like he did with the testing this spring?

      • No way Virginia has had fewer than 700,000 cases, what you get working backwards from 3600 deaths and a 0.5% IFR. The number confirmed by the test is just a portion, and that has been clear since March. CDC has not backed off its IFR that I’m aware of.

        Survival rates, by age:

        0-19… 99.997%
        20-49… 99.98%
        50-69… 99.5%
        70+… 94.6%


          Beats me … but these are the numbers I see when I search for COVID-19 cases & Virginia.

          Maybe Northam could have spared a few minutes to talk about the importance of accurate and timely data.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            “Beats me … but these are the numbers I see when I search for COVID-19 cases & Virginia.”

            I sympathize Don – Any and all statistics out of Virginia’s government and/or its army of crony allies, typically beats all of us, even the best of us.


            Because all Virginia numbers of any political import are phony, and intentionally so. Anyone claiming otherwise is certifiably nuts or on the take, and the latter group constitutes a unusually large crowd in Virginia, especially those claiming to be experts, whether academic or otherwise.

          • These days I’m not sure I would even trust numbers from Virginia as mundane as VDOT traffic counts.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            Here is the basic problem that Virginia’s government officials and their crony allies face, the reason they have gotten so heavily involved in publishing phony Covid numbers:

            “Joe Biden’s Covid Fairy Tale

            His plan seems to be to wait until a magical sprite waves her wand and makes the virus vanish in a poof, by David Gelernter in today’s Wall Street Journal.

            “The Democrats want to turn Covid against the president, and they appear to be succeeding. But their strategy makes no sense in the end—perhaps because Joe Biden makes no sense.

            The first big problem is that President Trump’s handling of the plague has been sensible from the start. Be careful until treatment improves and a vaccine is ready. Pour all the money and resources you’ve got down the throats of America’s best research labs. This scheme is working. Fatality rates are way down, treatment has improved, and several vaccines are almost ready, all in record time.

            It’s hard to attack a plan that is accomplishing its goals. Consider Mr. Biden’s claim that our high Covid death rate is the president’s fault. Actual scientists have other explanations, such as the high rates of pre-existing conditions in the U.S., and New York City—with its large population and population density—being one of our first hot spots and still exercising heavy influence on the figures. Our death rates remain lower than those of several large European countries. This accusation is pure Bidentalk: not merely false but greasy …” End Quote

            For much more see:

    • Larry continually laments that the U. S. isn’t following Europe’s lead with regard to masks mandates, etc.


      • Nope. Not true. I said that we are not doing the protocols they are doing for schools – which actually allows them to stay open even when the numbers are up – so far.

        It’s not kosher to claim that someone said something they didn’t Nathan, shame on you!

        Yes – people – in a lot of other countries (not all of them) got tired of being disciplined and stopped believing the scientists… we led the way.

        And yep, just like the scientists have been saying, this is a long way from being over…

        • “Nope. Not true. I said that we are not doing the protocols they are doing for schools ”

          I stand corrected. Not sure that’s an important distinction, but whatever.

          • Actually pretty important in terms of opening the schools and keep the economy open. We have to do the things that allow us to stay open but reduce/minimize infections. Should not be political.

        • If it’s so important, then why don’t you document exactly what’s not being done and share it with us? You haven’t done that. Your many comments seem based mostly on assumptions rather than documented facts.

          I showed you that Virginia schools are overseen by VDOE. The schools are given guidelines to follow from VDOE, the Department of Health, and the Governor.

          If indeed there is a deficiency, it is with the Northam administration as states have that responsibility.

    • I’m quite happy to be living in the U. S. actually.


      • It’s really too bad that Europe doesn’t have better leadership to support their fight against COVID-19.

        • At this point, I’d not be pointing to Europe NOR the US for leadership on keeping the virus under control but there ARE other countries that ARE doing much better.

          • CVOID is flaring all over the globe Larry. There is a new mutation that originated in Spain. It has spread throughout Europe from people vacationing.

            Germany is enacting Social shutdown as we speak.

            It’s a virus, just because you locked down and stayed inside doesn’t make it go away.

            The only effective measure for better outcomes is protocols and vaccines which supplement us to achieve herd immunity.

          • Vietnam has reported zero deaths so far from COVID-19, while New Zealand has reported only 20 and South Africa only 148.
            Experts say all three nations took early, quick, and decisive action that included nationwide lockdowns and contact tracing.
            South Africa used its experience from the HIV epidemic, and Vietnam relied on its experience from the SARS epidemic.


          • Larry,

            That is complete and utterly false, Vietnam has reported deaths from COVID. They have 35 deaths to date.

            Your article doesn’t have a date, which would be helpful.

            New Zealand is an Island, they closed their boarders to everyone. They have 25 deaths attributed with a population of 5 million.

            South Africa again, closed their boarder to everyone, I know because I have a coworker who’s wife was stuck there. Not to mentioned it was a complete and total shutdown, you couldn’t go anywhere for anything or purchase tobacco or alcohol. They also have 20k deaths attributed to COVID-19.

            You’ve supplied nothing of fact.

          • Here’s another:


            sort on the deaths column to see the lowest death rates in the world.

          • If you think it would be better to live in a developing country like Vietnam, that’s up to you. You’re welcome to go there but I doubt you would like it. I’ve traveled extensively in many of these countries and returned very thankful to live in the U.S.

            The average monthly salary of a worker in Vietnam is about $148 per month; those in high paying jobs bring home around $500 per month. And last time I checked, they didn’t have zero deaths, it was 35. And I seriously doubt their reporting is accurate. Have you even traveled in the developing world?

            Developed countries with vibrant economies, high standards of living and citizens with the ability and means to travel have much higher rates of infection. Poor countries and those with totalitarian regimes may seem better with regard to COVID-19, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

            The CNN link is deceptive. That shows only deaths per total population, not deaths per case.

          • It’s not deceptive. There are a number of sources of data that show the same data – that there are quite a few countries with lower deaths that this country.

            You have to want to know the truth here. We are among the worst countries in the world on covid.


  2. It would be fun to have a “contact tracer” call my house… Or, fun for me at least…

    • If you’re like me you wouldn’t answer the phone from a number you don’t recognize assuming it’s a spam call. That’s happened everywhere that contact tracing has been tried in the US.

      • Probably, but every once in a while when I’m bored I’ll pick up the phone and mess with someone’s mind. It can be very entertaining.

        • Tell the new car warranty sales guy that your car is a 1984 Yugo GV. He’ll ask for the VIN. Tell him that you have to go get it and put the phone down. And leave it there. Check again in 10 minutes to see if he’s hung up.

          • I like giving them a 16 digit VIN and then arguing with the guy when he tells you it can’t be correct.

        • A few years ago I got one of those Microsoft tech support scammers to curse me out. They’d been repeated calling a desk phone in an office I worked at, and I told the lady to let me know when they called again and I would take care of it.

          Him: Can you click on the start button?
          Me: I don’t see a start button.
          Him: What is on your screen?
          Me: Some dust and a dead bug.

          It went on like that for a few more rounds, then he cursed me out (my response: “I find it shocking that a Microsoft tech support agent would use such profane language”), then hung up.

          Never called back again.

          Mission accomplished.

          • That is awesome.

            I once had a salesman yell at me and then, ultimately, cry, before I hung up on him. Apparently, having their earnest questions answered with random non-sequiturs upsets some people. It was bizarre. I can’t even remember what the dude was selling.

    • When you receive an undesirable call, put them to hold, then forward /conference /merge the call to 1 (347) 514-7296.

      They claim this is a Chatbot designed to keep telemarkers busy, but I’m not so sure it isn’t actually Dotting Joe’s personal cell phone. You can find many recordings:

  3. Rippert, even in the various arguments I’ve had with Nancy, he doesn’t doubt that the official case count is deeply flawed. Here in the Richmond area, our Health Department regional director is talking about 5-6% of the population to date, and I’m just claiming more like 8-9%. As you yourself note, the testing was slow to roll out, is spotty and slow, and everybody is aware of people who probably had it and never got a test or got a negative result. They are still saying a huge number (up to 40%) show no symptoms at all.

    I think the situation in Northern Virginia is so stable that signs of herd immunity are showing. That will bring Nancy Boy off his couch…

    Over 60, bad stuff, no question.

    I think Virginia is in fairly good shape and am still willing to give Northam a good mark on this particular issue. The next 60 days will see a bad trend, no question. What do you want him to do, another lockdown? Weren’t you pushing that the other day?

  4. I found it particularly interesting that the man we entrust to protect us from a pandemic doesn’t understand the definition of the word “literally”.

    Northam’s father was a Commonwealth’s Attorney. His grandfather was a circuit court judge.

    Anybody who doubts whether a “prince of the Byrd Machine” like Ralph Northam might have gotten a little help in getting into college or med school doesn’t really understand Virginia history.

    I forced myself to watch the whole press conference. It’s hard to escape the feeling that Ralph Northam just isn’t all that bright.

    • Wow, I can’t even get that worked up over Trump or Biden….some of you guys really hate the Guv…

      • Something about grown men in blackface hanging out at parties with people in klan robes bothers me. I guess I’m just one of those NoVa carpetbaggers who just doesn’t think that the Ku Klux Klan is very funny.

        • It was a costume party. Take Steven Miller. I could see him wearing an SS uniform to a costume party, but only because his costume didn’t come back from the cleaners.

  5. For what it is worth, the Thomas Jefferson Health District ( Central Va) reports a seven-day average positivity rate of 2.7%.

  6. “As of October 25, #COVID19 cases continue to increase nationwide. Average daily cases in the previous 7-days increased 26% from the previous 7 days.”

    If Northam thinks Virginia will be immune from this resurgence then that is what he should say.

  7. So, using that CDC infection survival rate and then looking at the VDH numbers on deaths by age within Virginia:

    — 2,662 Virginia deaths age 70+ implies 50,000 cases in that age cohort (a 5.4% death rate).
    — 833 Virginia deaths age 50-59 implies 166,600 cases in that age cohort (a 0.5% death rate).
    — 136 deaths age 20-49 implies 680,000 cases in that age cohort (a .02% death rate). Probably the group least likely to even bother with a test until very sick.
    — 1 death under 20 implies as many as 30,000 cases, the vast majority probably asymptomatic.

    So almost 1 million infections in Virginia, working backwards from actual deaths and the CDC survival data. Not fewer than 180,000….Probably too high, but the published figure is a huge undercount.

    • You may be right. I assume the published number is the number of positive test results. Even 1m cases so far in Virginia leaves us about 4m infections short of herd immunity (if that’s even possible with COVID-19).

      The reality is that the disease is surging in Europe and many parts of the US. That surge will get to Virginia. Then Northam will have to do something. But what will he do? He sure didn’t have any ideas in that “COVID” press conference.

      Look at Illinois. That state just hit the new all time high in cases. The Democratic governor is arguing with the Democratic mayor of Chicago over how hard to roll back the reopening in Chicago. The governor wants more restrictions, the mayor wants less.

      Looks like the governor won the argument. More unemployment, more civil unrest, more people leaving Chicago for good.

      The lefties on this blog are in a state of perpetual outrage over Trump’s lack of a coordinated national response to COVID-19. But when our governor holds a coronavirus update without any commentary about future plans while the country is spiking cases … nobody holds him accountable. And when he panics and starts closing everything down again you’ll be the first to go batty.

      The time to demand answers from Northam is now, not once the resurgence hits Virginia in earnest. If we never experience the resurgence – great, the plans won’t be implemented. But why does Northam get a free pass for that embarrassment of a news conference?

  8. Well, Matt, Steve, et al, make sure your obit mentions the specific COD, and I’ll send your estate a check for $1000 if you don’t succumb to Covid or its complications. If you do, well, we’ll call it square for the pleasure of the read.

    • I’ll send $2,000 to yours if you do catch it and die….Or to any fund at W&M you designate. But the new N95s and Level 3 surgical masks arrived and I’m ready to hunker in again. But the math exercise was interesting…I do think VA has gotten close to 10% spread.

    • “Well, Matt, Steve, et al, make sure your obit mentions the specific COD, and I’ll send your estate a check for $1000 if you don’t succumb to Covid or its complications. If you do, well, we’ll call it square for the pleasure of the read.”

      I’m unsure how that has any relevance to my comment.

      I wasn’t aware I said I didn’t protect myself and others. Just pointed out that you don’t know nearly as much as you imply about this disease or the endocrine system.

      You’ll be 6 feet deep before I require an estate.

      PS: I work in NOVA and took public transit until the day the Governor closed it down, my wife is a Nurse. The numerical odds that I’ve already had it are pretty high.

  9. Don’t forget to add in what Tim Powell, Director of VDH Office of Epidemiology, Division of Informatics and Information Systems said during an interview 9/18 with WAVY Channel 10 about the death reporting backlog:
    Powell explained that the number you see in a single day really represents deaths over weeks. To complicate matters, it may not even be a true reflection of COVID-19 deaths.
    “If you think about influenza … same game … we don’t really know how many people die from flu.”
    If it’s on the death certificate, it’s counted. For instance, a cancer patient in hospice could count as a COVID-19 death if they also have the virus.

    • “a cancer patient in hospice could count as a COVID-19 death if they also have the virus….” Not could, HAS, probably by the hundreds at least. And that’s proper. Nancy is right that death is not the only bad outcome, but that is true of lots of other viral or bacterial infections, as well, especially heart complications. It is also true that the people who have screwed themselves in advance with obesity, hypertension and diabetes are the ones who need to cower in fear (plus us 60+ age cardiac cases….Tenth anniversary of my surgery is Sunday.)

      • so that’s like 1 in 2 for pre-existing and then another 15% over 65 and many live in households with younger and healthier?

        By my count, only about 1/3 of the population is young, healthy and does not have pre-existing conditions.

        Yes, various diseases do “compete” to see what kills you first and one can think that heart disease is like that also. Not sure how we figure out who “deserved” their heart condition or not……….

        • I was born with the bum valve, but the clogged widowmaker was my own doing.

          And not 15% over 65, but about 5% over 70. Not even 1% for those 50-69. But you don’t trust Trump’s CDC anyway…

          • People live longer than before and in a perverse way – we have figured out how to extend lives but then you become more vulnerable to other ways to die.

            Congrats on the 10 years.

            “Clogged” describes more than a few folks arterials when they get 7 decades on those arteries… unless they have been saints food wise.

            But the ever bigger thing is how many of us would even be around without Medicare paying for these expensive procedures.

            Back in the day, if you needed a 15K operation, you were going to lose your savings or your house or worse. Now… it’s “covered” for about $145 a month ……

          • At that point I was on the company insurance plan. Still a couple of grand out of pocket, as I recall.

  10. What should Northam do for SW Va?

    “Wear the Damn Masks morons”.

    • “…and talk to your kinfolks by Zoom on Thanksgiving!” Wait, no broadband….

      Everybody gets a turn. This is SW Virginia’s turn. Tech and Radford are part of it, too. Still really in the first wave in large parts of the U.S. Northern VA got the first go in Virginia, followed by Central and then Hampton Roads. Sucker likes to move around. Wisconsin is getting the big press now, but it was largely spared until now.

      And Larry, most of the pre-existing conditions I just mentioned can be corrected. If after all this you are still ignoring obesity, you are a freaking idiot.

      • so much for the idea that rural regions don’t get it.

        It’s doing pretty much what those pesky scientists said it would do and more than a few including the anti-maskers poo pooed it.

        • Everywhere gets it and everywhere will get the resurgence. That’s my point. The UK and Italy thought they had it beat. They didn’t. Somehow, NoVa thinks it has it beat. It doesn’t. Having a governor who uses a Coronavirus update to ramble on about statues and other wokeness programs of his is unhelpful. What is so hard about having metrics and plans for COVID-19? That’s what other governors seem to be doing. I can see it now – Northam spewing edicts in reaction to a resurgence. Close the restaurants, close the schools!! How about some predictability? Like … if the positivity rate exceeds 10% in a health region then restaurants will have to close by 8pm. If it exceeds 12% then schools will have to revert to all virtual.

    • Tolerant, compassionate, caring and not at all condescending or contemptuous. These are the characteristics of the modern leftist.

    • Wales has a firewall lockdown in place. No going outside unless you work in an essential job. Other parts of the UK have tier 1, 2 and 3 level lockdowns. The severity of the lockdown is based on the metrics for the disease. Illinois has 11 heath districts. They are at different levels of restriction. Indoor bar service will be closed in Chicago starting tomorrow.

      There are a lot of things that governments are doing to slow the spread during this resurgence. There are a lot of things that Northam could do. Or not do. I’d like to hear his plan. What happens if positivity in SWVa goes to 10% or 12%? Watching that press conference leaves me with the clear suspicion that Northam has no plan at all. It’s like watching a real life Alfred E Neuman. What? Me worry?

      • If Northam suggests anything at all that sounds like a lockdown, you can bet what will happen from our friends on the right.

        The way to stay open is masks, social distancing, and more testing, perhaps by adding testing of sewage.

        But a “plan”? Tell me what “plan” the other Govs have like Hogan.

        Isn’t this more like “tell me your plan so I can then bite your head off”?


  11. This ain’t going away. Twice as infectious as the flu and 5x deadlier with even mild case survivors suffering permanent organ damage and reduced longevity? Enjoy your isolation.

    And a new variant to boot.

    • Oh I fully agree we’ll be dealing with this the rest of our lives, and that’s why isolation cannot be the long term answer. I’ll be in line for the shot, annually if required, and if I need a point of care test and proof of vaccination to get on an airplane, so be it. But your assumption of long term impacts on even mild cases is pure speculation and fear porn, given we aren’t even to 12 months yet. Enjoy your night terrors.

      • Night terrors? At this very moment I’m on a west Fla beach where it is blowing stink. Some restaurants have all outdoor with staff in masks and rubber gloves. A few don’t. We choose carefully. Lot of damned Trump flags. Idiots.

        • “Some restaurants have all outdoor with staff in masks and rubber gloves. A few don’t. We choose carefully. Lot of damned Trump flags. Idiots.”

          Judging by the statement, no you don’t choose carefully. Knowing full well that you are choosing locations that wear rubber gloves (hopefully they are nitrile latex free, allergies). Unless those are changed once a new surface is touched, they are just spreading more disease and bacteria than they are protecting against.

          • Think about those gloves everytime I go through TSA. MRSA, ya know. Pat down one, then another. Always thought we’d get wiped out by a fatal foot fungus traced to a scanner.

          • I completely agree, I see people wearing “masks and gloves” in their cars driving down the road and just shake my head.

            A lot of people fail to realize that the effectiveness of gloves is predicated upon changed them with every new surface.

            I use nitrile gloves, but that’s to prepare meat (as I don’t like to wash my hands every other minute when I need to grab something else), paint and or work on the car.

      • BTW, completely lost the smell and taste of coconut last March. A real pisser to someone who likes foo-foo drinks. But, I do keep testing.

        • Oh I love it. You have the resources and choice to vacation, and you go to Trump Country because you know things will be open!!!! (And in 2021, that will be available….nowhere.) Worse than a short seller….

    • Some of us get flu shots every year and “boosters” … and why? Because Medical Science tells us to? Or is it really just a scam to sell flu shots?

      There are “skeptics”for sure on the masks and the severity of COVID – but gotta get those flu shots!


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