Northam’s Pretty Good Presser

by Kerry Dougherty

Sitting down?

Here’s the attaboy to Gov. Ralph Northam that I meant to write for Thursday, until anarchy broke out in the U.S. Capitol.

Ever since they began in March, some of us have come to dread Northam’s COVID press conferences. The governor’s tone drips with condescension, he seems to blame people for getting sick and many of his emergency orders have been larded with restrictions that aren’t remotely grounded in science, but seem instead designed only to punish Virginians and make life miserable. No sitting on the beach comes to mind.

So, naturally, I turned on his Wednesday presser with trepidation, wondering what fresh hell awaited us. After all, Virginia’s infection rates are up sharply and even though we have thousands of empty hospital beds, no hospitals in the commonwealth are reporting a shortage of PPE and ICUs still have plenty of capacity, we seemed ripe for some kind of ugly California-style measures.

The urge to do something even if they know it won’t work, seems to be strong in most governors.

I was stunned and pleasantly surprised that this once the governor didn’t follow the lead of idiots like Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo. Neither did Northam berate Virginians who are doing their best to stay healthy during a pandemic.

Instead, he spread hope.

After being criticized by liberal newspaper editorialists for a sluggish roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine, Northam unveiled a plan to get Virginians immunized against the virus with an ambitious goal of 50,000 shots a day. He’s separated the populace into three tiers, with those at the top — healthcare workers and people in nursing homes- – first in line.

That’s essential. So far, 2,464 of all confirmed COVID deaths in Virginia have been in nursing homes. That’s 53% for those keeping score at home. A terrifying statistic.

It is imperative that every long-term care resident who wants the vaccine gets it, ASAP. On Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health recorded another 22 nursing home deaths. There is no time to waste.

Best of all, Northam is offering discretion to those administering the vaccines. The governor said he didn’t want a single dose wasted and if the choice came down to giving a shot to someone from the wrong tier and letting the vaccine expire, get that shot in the arm.

That’s pragmatic.

If all goes according to his plan, Northam says every Virginian who wants the vaccine should have it “by summer.”

Not late summer. Or fall. BY summer.

Last time I checked, summer starts on June 20.

Who knows. We could have Tides baseball this summer. Concerts. Festivals.

Dare to dream, I guess.

We’ve called out the governor numerous times when his endless emergency orders were arbitrary and counter-productive.

Only fair to give Northam credit when he acts with restraint as he did this week. (Of course, that could blow up today when he hosts some sort of COVID session with the ever-gloomy Dr. Anthony Fauci.)

Surely Northam realizes by now that closing schools and businesses and imposing curfews do more harm than good.

Vaccinations, on the other hand, will bring us quickly to the promised land: Herd immunity.

Work on the shots, governor. Scrap the stupid curfew and alcohol sales restrictions.

This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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16 responses to “Northam’s Pretty Good Presser

  1. A vaccine for a 99% recovery rate?

    • Eric the Half a Troll

      “No more flu shots!!”

    • VN – Would you buy a car if the survival rate of owners was 99%? Would you go to a restaurant where 99% of the patrons survived? Or more appropriate, what if our water supply or food supply had numbers like that?

      This is a worldwide pandemic, and we will all be exposed at some point. Also, the recovery rate is VERY dependent on who gets it. Some of us are at a much higher risk.

      Yes, I want the vaccine. (But will wait for my turn, as there are others more in need right now.)

    • And for many of those who recover, there are serious, lingering problems. All the more reason to get vaccinated in order to avoid getting it in the first place.

  2. That’s encouraging.

    I sincerely hope he keeps the emphasis on the vaccine roll out where it belongs. There may be logistical obstacles, but if we keep focused and apply resources where they can do some good we can prevail.

    Lockdowns and other draconian measures are no longer palatable, and at best just delay the inevitable. This virus is extremely contagious, and the new strain even more so. The vaccine is where we must focus our attention and energy.

    • “Lockdowns and other draconian measures are no longer palatable, and at best just delay the inevitable”

      Or cause rebel towards those measures.

  3. Eric the Half a Troll

    Wow! That is your positive review?! You must be hell on Yelp!!

  4. Good freaking Lord. What next? Kerry wanting Trump out? 😉

  5. “Who knows. We could have Tides baseball this summer. Concerts. Festivals.”

    So you are trying to tell me, that I have to snap out of it, and start scheduling concerts in the park for summer.

    Assuming we still have a Band…many lives have changed, people moved, got sick (no COVID to my knowledge), changed priorities, stopped practicing music due to changes in household situation (people moved in, converted house to Zoom office centers , etc. ).

    • PS- We have to find a place to rehearse probably late May/June we would need schools open for practice or we have to seek alternate space. Normally March 1 we can start to reserve school space for summer, July 1 we schedule for Fall and beyond.

  6. Other than the Sept 15 data dump Virginia is now breaking new records for daily COVID deaths. Deaths, not cases. The case numbers in Virginia are just off the charts. Across America the daily deaths from COVID are way past the worst of the early spring. But the electoral college votes were counted Wednesday (or early Thursday) and Biden is finally 100% confirmed as the president elect. Unsurprisingly, the clamor over COVID is all but gone. Despite record COVID deaths in Virginia and across America the left-leaning commentators on BR are no longer insisting on shutdowns and comparing COVID deaths to Americans killed in Vietnam or WWII. None are criticizing Northam’s laissez faire approach. It seems like, since Biden won, COVID became just another bad flu.

    • Tippecanoe and CO2 too?

    • I wonder if anything else happened the last few days that would knock other issues from the front of the news cycle.

    • It could be that everyone is just numb. Contrary to what some commenters predicted, the major newspapers are not ignoring the COVID situation now that the election is over nor have they relegated COVID numbers to the inner page. Here is a headline on the front page of today’s Washington Post: “Daily COVID deaths top 4,000 in U.S. for first time”. The story notes that that people without symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the virus.

  7. Good for him. I hope he sticks with the positive approach.

  8. “Other than the Sept 15 data dump Virginia is now breaking new records for daily COVID deaths. Deaths, not cases. … ”

    Hospitalizations and deaths in Virginia are NOT peaking as badly as cases are.

    Comparing spring peaks to the latest peaks according to the 7-day moving averages on the VDH dashboard :
    https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus/covid-19-in-virginia-cases/

    Cases – late May & mid-July = 1090, Jan. 1, 2021 =3764

    Hospitalizations – early May = 105 +/-, Dec. 13 = 100

    Deaths – early May = 40 +/-, Nov. 30 = 30

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