Northam’s Scare Tactics

by Kerry Dougherty

It was a gird-your-loins kind of day in Virginia on Monday. While we were on the radio in the morning, our producer handed me a bulletin announcing that Governor Ralph Northam was holding a press conference in the afternoon, on the subject of COVID.


I can’t repeat what I said off the air. But on the air, I reminded listeners that these press conferences fill many of us with dread.

The point of yesterday’s presser? To scold and scare Virginia’s unvaxxed. To begin pushing vaccines for children, even though they aren’t yet approved. And to field a couple of softball questions from the poodles in Virginia’s press corps.

Apparently Northam believes his recent mandate — that state workers must be vaccinated or produce regular negative COVID tests — have not worked to his satisfaction even though 80% of Virginians over 18 have had at least one shot and 60% are fully vaccinated.

True, some folks are simply refusing to get vaccinated. And the governor likes to point to a couple of rural counties that have exceptionally low vaccination rates to imply that the redneck factor is at work. That’s not the case in Tidewater where African Americans have lower vaccination rates than any other group. In Norfolk — hardly a bastion of MAGA types, the city is overwhelmingly Democrat — 43.8% of blacks are vaccinated while 48.9% of whites have taken the shots.

Echoing Biden, Northam said he was losing his patience with those who refuse the vaccine.

So the governor resorted to hyperbole:

“If you … still don’t want the shot then I hope you give some thought to how your family will remember you.

“Give some thought to what they’ll do without you. Think about how you want your obituary to read because you’re taking a foolish, dangerous chance and it affects many more people than just you.”

Oh please.

This sort of rhetoric, from a medical doctor, is unprofessional. Northam knows darn well that this disease is survivable by close to 99% of the people who contract it. Yet he persists in engaging in crazy talk.

Polls have consistently shown that Democrats overestimate the death and hospitalization rates from COVID, probably because the news sources they turn to relentlessly push panic porn.

Gallup just released a fascinating study that included actual hospitalization rates among the vaxxed and unvaxxed, using raw numbers from March of 2021. It’s wonky but worth a read.

Here’s the money quote:

We calculate that the hospitalization rate for the vaccinated population is 0.01% (or 1 in 10,914), and the rate for unvaccinated adults is 0.89% (or 1 case in 112 people). In both cases, therefore, the correct answer is less than one percent.

Look, I believe COVID-19 is a serious virus and I don’t want to catch it. While it’s survivable by most people, some become critically ill. Oh, I also believe folks ought to get vaccinated.

That said, if people decide not to take the shots, no amount of hectoring and lying will get them to change their minds.

In fact, exaggerating the likelihood of death may have the exact opposite effect. Many Americans have already lost faith in public health officials.

Until doctors like Northam admit that people who contracted COVID — millions of them — have natural immunity and may be protected as well as those who are vaccinated, we can’t have an honest discussion about vaccines.

So, Northam and his ilk will continue to resort to insults and scare tactics.

If they don’t work, what’s next?

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