Welcome to Phase Two, Virginia.
Looks like we can once again dine indoors and go to the gym now that Gov. Ralph Northam is finally loosening his authoritarian grip on the commonwealth. Like dutiful subjects, we are supposed to be grateful.
I’m more annoyed about the lockdown now than I was back in March, when I watched in stunned disbelief as the governor declared a state of emergency, ordered people to stay home and stomped all over our booming economy.
All for what turned out to be a nursing home crisis.
Yes, the latest numbers continue to show that 56% of all of Virginia’s COVID-19 deaths have been in old-age homes. When you take those fatalities out of the total number of Virginians who succumbed to the virus so far you get a death rate of about 7 per 100,000.
For that we yanked kids out of school for three months, released murderers from prison, threw almost 800,000 hard-working Virginians onto unemployment and killed an untold number of small businesses forever.
And here we are, still waiting for the permission of one man to let us go back to fully living our lives.
Meanwhile, thousands of people march in the streets – ignoring executive orders that limit large gatherings -as law-abiding businesses are straitjacketed by capricious rules from Richmond.
Talk to restaurateurs and they’ll tell you that they will still be losing money when they open at 50% today. And gyms are allowed to open with just 30% capacity? How are they supposed to remain solvent? Northam, in his wisdom, has decided that swimming pools can have only lap swimming, instruction and diving. Good old splashing and having fun on a hot day? Not permitted.
Clothing stores must keep their fitting rooms closed.
Oh, and gatherings can grow from the old limit of 10 to 50. Unless folks are carrying signs, surrounding Confederate monuments or doing line dancing in the street. No limits on THOSE crowds.
Northam’s missteps during this crisis are too numerous to list. And I’m not just talking about his nutty decision to sashay down the Virginia Beach boardwalk a couple of weeks ago, leaning in for selfies and huddling with supporters, almost as if he knows something about the virus that we don’t.
When the hair-on-fire predictions first surfaced in March, Northam incorrectly identified prisons and jails as future hot spots — just five prisoners have died of Covid-19 in the entire commonwealth — while ignoring signs that nursing homes were turning into death camps.
Immediately, the Parole Board and Department of Corrections began releasing a torrent of prisoners supposedly to spare them from the virus, while those in long-term care facilities helplessly awaited their turn to get sick.
We won’t recover from Ralph Northam’s feckless actions for months. Maybe years.
As “15 days to slow the spread” morphed into an indefinite shutdown, many Virginia hospitals became ghost towns, while cancers and heart disease went undiagnosed and doctors noticed alarming signs that suicide, depression, obesity and alcoholism were on the rise.
We need to reopen Virginia fully and quickly. The cure is turning out to be much worse than the disease.
But if history is any predictor, Northam will keep the commonwealth stuck in Phase Two far longer than necessary.
This column was published originally at www.kerrydougherty.com.There are currently no comments highlighted.