Reality TV at Its Worst

by Kerry Dougherty

As members of Congress indulged themselves in a farcical hearing yesterday with Attorney General William Barr, Richmond had a televised spectacle of its own. Virginia’s folksy Governor Ralph Northam staged his own little show, a press conference, which featured the usual blame game.

Northam expressed concern about rising numbers of COVID cases in Hampton Roads and blamed it on selfish people and — wait for it — liquor consumption!

Without any supporting data, of course.

As a result of Northam’s apparent hunch, restaurants will once again be crippled as they’re forced to reduce indoor capacity to 50%, stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and close by midnight.

Terrific. Air-conditioned restaurants will be full of empty tables just as the climate turns Honduran and al fresco dining loses its appeal.

“This effectively closes all bars,” Northam boasted, forgetting that Virginia doesn’t even have bars.  “This is about stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Hampton Roads. … We all know alcohol changes your judgment. You just don’t care as much about social distancing after you’ve had a couple of drinks.”

Oh, please.

The governor has no idea where the increased cases originated because of the commonwealth’s appalling record on testing, which renders contact tracing nearly worthless.

Northam acknowledged that some test turnarounds are taking a long as “10 to 14 days.”

That bizarre lag time essentially means no one knows how many new Virginia cases there are right now. Or even whether cases are surging, plateauing or plunging. Most of the commonwealth’s latest data is out-of-date.

The best part of the presser was when the governor tried to blame President Trump for Virginia’s testing debacle. This, shortly after Northam said that politics shouldn’t be part of any discussion of the coronavirus.

“It’s just unacceptable — and I say this as a provider — to wait seven to 10 days for test results,” Northam said. “This started back in February, and there’s been no direction, no program, nationally. This is something that states had to do on their own, governors have had to compete with each other, and it’s been a chaotic process. And one that I believe could have been avoided with better leadership.”

Sorry Gov. Northam, but you’re the leader. Virginia’s testing mess is on you.

This column is a truncated version of the original published originally at Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.

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34 responses to “Reality TV at Its Worst

  1. “We all know alcohol changes your judgment. You just don’t care as much about social distancing after you’ve had a couple of drinks.”

    and yet ABC stores have been open all along… hmmmmm….
    funny how his logical critical thinking methodology is different when tax revenue is involved.

    • And only recently mandated customers wear masks!

      • But ‘mandating’ is a meaningless endeavor.

        If the GOV really thinks masks help — why hasn’t he proposed legislation making it a law so police can enforce the requirement and write tickets for violations?

        • Be careful what you ask for. You know who is back in town in less than three weeks….

        • Didn’t the Virgina Police Association say the mask mandiate was bad policy? If Northram & the Dems ask the police to enforce this then it might give the impression they trust the police.

          Besides, sticking it to businesses to enforce just makes businesses out to be the bad guy, which I’m sure is the plan.

          • Looks like quite a few businesses are willing to be “bad guys” anyhow – probably because some Governors were too spineless to do it themselves:

            ALDI (July 27)
            Apple Store
            Banana Republic (August 1)
            Bed Bath & Beyond
            Best Buy
            Costco
            CVS
            Gap (August 1)
            Goodwill
            Home Depot
            Kohl’s
            Kroger
            Lowe’s
            Macy’s
            Marc’s
            Meijer
            Menards
            Office Max and Office Depot
            Old Navy (August 1)
            Petco
            PetSmart
            RiteAid
            Sam’s Club
            Starbucks
            Target (August 1)
            Walmart
            Walgreens
            Whole Foods

          • Listing off corporate stores who haven’t been closed throughout this period as well as having stock piles of lawyers doesn’t help your case.

  2. Baconator with extra cheese

    Dr Northam is mad he didn’t have Orangeman making the medical-emergency decisions for him? I thought he told us he was the Dr and we should listen to him!

  3. Does Kerry dispute that most of the increase in cases is occurring in Hampton Roads? Would she rather that the Governor shut down restaurants and stores altogether? Or, does she not care that cases are increasing?

    It seems that the Governor can do nothing right with this crowd. Have statewide standards and they scream for regional requirements. Have requirements tailored to a region and they squeal.

    • No, Dick. We are squealing because (as clearly pointed out by Kerry with respect to testing results) the requirements are not tailored for any region in Virginia or for the whole commonwealth. We don’t really know why Northam declares new rules. He just does, and data be damned!

    • No it just smacks of hypocrisy. The fact that it’s the liquor and no possibly the protests that have caused the alleged surging cases. The virus doesn’t care what politician bend you are nor does it care about the causes you believe in.

  4. “”You just don’t care as much about social distancing after you’ve had a couple of drinks.””

    Speak for yourself, governor.

    • Baconator with extra cheese

      Not sure he cares too much about his or his date’s costume choices either after a few drinks.
      Judging by the quote is his yearbook about old drunks he might know very well about poor drunk choices.

    • Hear, hear. I’m not a people person to begin with and even less so after a few.

  5. Ironically, I think to some extent Northam was responding to pressure from the White House! Dr. Birx was here with their data, asking for him to do something, and as noted elsewhere his response was hardly draconian. I’m not sure last call at 10 pm will make much difference, really — to the disease or the drunks. People will do what they want and all the mandates are not going to stop stupid. There is only one cure for stupid, and Covid delivers it efficiently.

    It is all just a big Kabuki show. This is one efficient bug. He is not moving to shut down the economy, which would be serious, and he did not issue a statewide directive one way or the other on schools. Some think he should, and he still might say virtual only, but I think it makes sense to give localities some local control.

  6. “The governor has no idea where the increased cases originated because of the commonwealth’s appalling record on testing, which renders contact tracing nearly worthless.”

    Hahahaha…sounds like a good reason to close the bars to me! Life and death stuff ya know…

    “The best part of the presser was when the governor tried to blame President Trump for Virginia’s testing debacle. This, shortly after Northam said that politics shouldn’t be part of any discussion of the coronavirus.”

    Totally Kerry. The good Dr. should never have believed that the virus hoax would magically disappear by April. I mean, believe the country’s NATIONAL leader? Of course not. Should have invoked all his special powers to combat the virus (that can’t cross state lines, right?) such as the Defense Production Act! Darn, why didn’t the Dr. think of that?! Oh well, lucky all the other 49 states have their kids happily going back to school in a few days so the those parents can earn a living. Oh, wait…

    “Sorry Gov. Northam, but you’re the leader. Virginia’s testing mess is on you.”

    God, why are writing such crap? Really. What is your goal?

  7. Kerry is a Covid skeptic and helps host what sounds like the daily Trump propaganda hour on WNIS radio. I would not be surprised to hear her say that 150K Americans did not actually die after all and that the whole thing is a left wing plot.

  8. Through the early COVID19 spike in Virginia the state ranked in the bottom 5 for COVID19 testing on a per capita basis. Sorry liberals but that is a cold, hard fact. Other governors all across the country came up with ways to test their citizens at much higher per capita rates. All of these governors operated under the same federal government as Virginia. Northam failed, pure and simple.

    Now Northam wants to stop serving alcohol in Virginia’s “bars” at 10 pm in Hampton Roads I guess. Kerry is right – there really are no “bars” in Virginia. But reality doesn’t intrude on the man with the shoe polish smile. One can only assume he meant restaurants which serve alcohol.

    Northam’s actual proclamations were ok. He kept it localized. He didn’t shut down the economy. He didn’t close the schools. However, his apparent lack of understanding of Virginia’s liquor laws is disappointing. His continuing efforts to blame others for his administration’s failings is disgraceful.

  9. yep – sure sounds like it’s a Northam problem:

    ‘A hot mess’: Americans face testing delays as virus surges

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — With a cough and shortness of breath, it took Austin, Texas, resident Sam Lee three tries to get a COVID-19 test.

    The first time, he showed up an hour before the public testing site was set to close and was told they had reached capacity. He was turned away from a second center when rain shut it down, and voluntarily left a third after someone ahead of him said they had been waiting in line for more than three hours.

    “If you have symptoms and you are just driving around the city trying to figure out how you can get a test, for people who are positive, it is not ideal,” said Lee, who finally got a test on June 29 after he showed up at a site before dawn and waited for more than two hours. Another five days passed before he was able to view the results online, and he didn’t receive a text with the results until seven days after being tested.

    Four months, 3 million confirmed infections and over 130,000 deaths into the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Americans confronted with a resurgence of the scourge are facing long lines at testing sites in the summer heat or are getting turned away. Others are going a week or more without receiving a diagnosis.

    https://apnews.com/52e57911691a332630a3c93a6e76612a

    sounds once more like the facts be damned if it means blaming…

    boring ………

    • Once again Larry’s adolescent attempts at deflection fall short. During the darkest days of the COVID19 pandemic in Virginia our governor could not mount an effective testing program. The numbers don’t lie. Northam had Virginia at or near the bottom of all states in per capita testing. When repeatedly asked about the problem Northam had no coherent answers. In the resulting melee Virginia would end up with 25 COVID19 deaths per 100,000 people. As of today, Texas has 20 COVID19 deaths per 100,000 residents.

      Facts are stubborn things.

      • We’re comparing Virginia with Texas on COVID19 as a way to “prove” Texas is “better” at testing?

        lord. lord.

        Texas: Confirmed 413K
        Deaths 6,528

        Virginia Confirmed 87,993
        Deaths 2,125

        testing is a national wide problem – easily verified in multiple news organizations.

        • Texas: Death Rate per case 1.58%; Death Rate per capita 0.02%

          Virginia: Death Rate per case 2.41%; Death Rate per capita 0.03%

          –Based on Texas population of 29.1 million; Virginia population of 8.5 million

          • True – and Texas seems to be headed up

            but look at the testing numbers also:

            https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/states-comparison

            what I don’t understand is why folks go out of their way to impugn Northam in the first place.

            He is trying to act responsibly and not have Virginia end up the way Texas is.

            Testing is done largely by the private sector – and yes – as testing ramped up across the country – guess what happened ? We ran out of capacity in most states , not just Virginia.

            Here’s DJ’s favorite Gov – Hogan from MD July 21, 2020

            Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan warned Tuesday that coronavirus testing shortages and delays could make the pandemic even worse.

            “We’re still having, now with this resurgence here in the United States, massive problems with our testing program, which is still kind of a patchwork of different testing going on in different states around the country,”

  10. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Bring back the Blue Laws. Make them everyday laws. The old Women’s Christian Temperance Society would approve and so would your grandmother. Will you take the pledge?

    • My maternal grandmother was one of those. My Dad said he knew he had become accepted in the family when my grandfather took him down to the basement where the jug was hidden…..I suspect by that point Dad was also in uniform (my parents had one of their first dates on Dec 7, 1941….).

      I looked last night at the state by state stats. On deaths per capita, Virginia is smack in the middle, having peaked a while back. With the surge in recent weeks, we may now stay in the middle, but other states have been gaining and passing. I repeat, there is the false assumption most people have that this is a uniform national process when in reality, different places see different time schedules. The media’s NYC tunnel view adds to the this problem.

      I’ve got plenty of other big policy problems with the Richmond Current Occupant, and he has stumbled, but I still consider his steps here reasonable and well-intended. The numbers do look better than they might have. That, of course, could veer in a bad direction. The pressure on him to prevent in-person school must be tremendous (including from DNC.)

      Re Texas: Both my son and his wife had this, IMHO, but they both tested negative. The symptoms fit well and they also tested negative for flu. The testing in this country went from SNAFU to FUBAR long ago, with blame available all around. Everything got so political immediately. Look at this insane debate over an established malaria drug which is definitely no cure but clearly a valid treatment in the right circumstances. Sure studies are great, but so are doctors’ own patient experiences, and a Yale epidemiologist has backed it now. No question I’d ask about if I thought I had this, and before even asking would be back on my G&Ts! (For the quinine.)

  11. “As members of Congress indulged themselves in a farcical hearing yesterday with Attorney General William Barr …”

    Yes. That US congressional “hearing” illustrated brilliantly in vibrant technicolor the quality and character of our officials elected to US Congress. God help America. And us all.

    • The purpose of such “hearings” now, in DC or RIC, is to create rehearsed Twitter and Instgram posts of the “legislators” grilling or lecturing the “witness.” Barr’s refusal to play along was delicious.

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