Tag Archives: COVID-19

Has COVID Already Peaked for Winter 2023?

Screen capture from Virginia Department of Health website, using Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association data. Click for larger view.

Last year in Virginia, the COVID-19 hospital count hit its winter season peak on January 12 at more than 3,700 beds occupied. Now the 7-day average is below 1.100, and Thursday’s daily count (reported Friday) dropped below 1,000 to 990. The most recent peak was Jan. 4. Flu and RSV are also on the wane, only a handful of weeks after the media scarecrows ran story after story of the coming triple-demic disaster. Being sick remains something to avoid, and the vulnerable can still die from any one of the three (or a combination, shudder). I personally give most of the credit to the vaccinations, especially among the elderly or vulnerable. Those who have actively sought to discourage them should be ashamed of themselves, but the nonsense remains rampant.

(Update:  The hospital count as of Jan. 16 is now down to 905.  The decline has lasted almost two weeks.)

One-Size-Fits-All COVID Policy Vs. Precision Medicine

by James A. Bacon

What a revelation. It turns out that a person’s genes have a big influence over how or his or her immunological system responds to the COVID-19 virus. A Charlottesville company, Ampel Biosolutions, has developed a blood test, which it claims predicts with 90% accuracy if a COVID-infected patient is at risk for a serious, life-threatening case.

Ampel executives say that the test, dubbed CovGene, could help physicians tailor treatments depending upon the patient’s genetic profile. It might make sense, for example, to implement anti-viral therapy such as Paxlovid for someone at acute risk, while patients at low risk could forego the expensive treatments.

The company based its findings on research conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Virginia hospital based on a longitudinal study of two-dozen COVID patients in UVa’s intensive care unit and a study of 100 patients from Duke and Harvard. The results were published in the Frontiers in Immunology journal.

Ampel officials make no claim beyond the efficacy of their blood test. Their pronouncements do not address broader issues regarding public health policy. Assuming its claims stand up to scrutiny, however, some conclusions about U.S. COVID policy seem warranted. Continue reading

Youngkin Reacts To Raid By An ABC Goon Squad

by Kerry Dougherty

In one of the most bizarre actions in recent memory, law enforcement on Friday raided Gourmeltz, a popular Fredericksburg restaurant, and confiscated its liquor and sales records because the owner in 2021 defied former Governor Ralph Northam’s long-defunct executive order that required liquor-selling establishments to abide by a host of nonsensical COVID-related rules.

You remember Northam’s anti-science magical regulations, don’t you?

No liquor could be sold, served or consumed after 10 p.m., no seating was allowed at bars — tables only, all patrons over the age of five had to wear a mask unless they were seated and eating or drinking, all employees had to wear face diapers and restaurants had to close by midnight.

Authoritarian insanity. All of it.

I get COVID PTSD just thinking about the Northam regime.

Gourmeltz owner, Matt Strickland, refused to comply with Northam’s idiocy and was cited for not forcing his employees to wear face masks. His liquor license was suspended. He continued to serve booze anyway.

Pity all holding Virginia ABC licenses didn’t join Strickland in ignoring the power-drunk little governor. Instead, Strickland was on his own and easy to target. Continue reading

COVID Accounted for Half of Excess Deaths in 2020, 2021

Source: Virginia Department of Health

by James A. Bacon

The number of deaths in Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020 and 2021) was roughly 15,000 higher, or 22.5%, than would have been predicted from pre-COVID trends, according to a new report published by the Virginia Department of Health. However, COVID accounted for a bit less than half (47%) of the excess deaths.

Deaths attributable to accidents, homicides, liver disease, diabetes, hypertension and renal disease all increased more than 20% as well. On the other hand, the pandemic saw a decline in fatalities due to influenza and pneumonia, sepsis, and chronic respiratory disease.

Major conclusions from the study:

COVID-19 drove excess mortality in Virginia, but mortality for other causes of death was also higher than expected. The top five leading causes of death contributed to 70.4% of all excess deaths observed between the two time periods. COVID-19 contributed to 47.0% of all excess deaths. Continue reading

Virginia’s Test Scores at The Bottom of the Nation’s Steaming Heap

by Kerry Dougherty

Geez. Who could have predicted this:

Only one thing wrong with The New York Times reporting on yesterday’s horrifying report that showed the sharpest drop in national test scores in three decades.

It’s this: the devastating failure of American education isn’t due to the pandemic. Continue reading

Stress, Fuzzy Symptoms, and Long COVID

by James A. Bacon

WHRO Public Media tells the story of Chesapeake nurse Megan Temple, who contracted COVID-19 in October and has dealt with “long COVID” ever since. She got over the initial illness quickly. But in the weeks and months that followed, during which she also recovered from abdominal surgery, she developed an array of mysterious, shifting symptoms.

She suffered severe chest pains, lost muscle coordination, experienced brain fog, lost hair, and experienced vision changes. At one point, she couldn’t sleep for 48 hours or sit for more than minutes at a time. “It sounds very strange, but I just felt like I was going to die,” she said, “like my body was going to shut down.”

Before I go any further, let me make it indisputably clear that I am NOT saying that the symptoms are imaginary. Something is occurring. But when symptoms are varied, vague, impossible to measure, and make their appearance after haphazard time intervals, I think we need to take a closer look.

Humans are cognitively disposed to attribute causation to events that occur in proximity to one another. When Event A occurs before Event B, people are inclined to say Event A caused Event B. If someone recovers from COVID and later experiences brain fog, they assume that COVID caused the brain fog. Perhaps there is an underlying medical connection between the two. But perhaps the brain fog has another cause, and the timing was a coincidence. I suspect that’s true in many cases, if not most of them. Continue reading

Another COVID Impact: Bad School Data

by Matt Hurt

In a September 14th post, Jim Sherlock referenced some data points that were collected during the pandemic. Specifically he brought up the topics of chronic absenteeism and how the graduation rate didn’t seem to correlate with SOL scores. My intent here is not to refute any specifics; it is to inform readers that there were a variety of aspects that impacted the quality of data that we collected during that time.

First of all, to say that the 2020-21 school year was chaotic is the understatement of the century. Most school divisions began the year in a virtual setting. As the year wore on, students were allowed to come into the school at varying rates. Also during that year, families were ubiquitously allowed to decide whether their students would participate in person, given that was an option.

Many families changed their mind multiple times throughout the year. This by itself caused a great deal of chaos, and it was nearly impossible to accurately reflect each student’s method of instruction during that time period. Try to imagine how this worked out in schools. Johnny’s family chose to have him attend school in person. Then the COVID infection rates in the community increased and Johnny’s family decided that he needed to participate virtually. How hard is it to believe that many kids were marked absent incorrectly when they should have been marked as attending virtually? Continue reading

Elections Matter

by Kerry Dougherty

There are lots of one-issue voters out there. Until the COVID pandemic I wasn’t one of them.

This year and for the rest of my life I will vote against any candidate who supported unconstitutional lockdowns, school closures, curfews and vaccine mandates.

If I were a Democrat. I’d be horrified that the DeSantis for Governor campaign in Florida was able to produce this powerful campaign ad:

“You let me go to school.”

“You let us learn.”

“You saved our business.”

The best part? It’s truthful. DeSantis withstood blistering criticism from autocratic and wrongheaded public health officials in Washington to keep his state open. Continue reading

Widespread Fallout from School Closures

by Kerry Dougherty

I feel sorry for 1st-grade teachers.

Not only do they have the tough task of teaching kids to read, but they are now dealing with children who lack some of the most basic skills needed to learn. Skills the children should have learned in pre-school and kindergarten.

An admissions officer from a local private school said recently that they continue to see “COVID anomalies” in children entering the 1st grade.

Anomalies? Like what?

“Many of the children don’t know how to hold a pencil,” she replied.

Seriously?

Then again, what did we expect. When the governor forced youngsters into remote learning – some for more than a year – the tykes didn’t master pincer movements. They were simply propped in front of computer screens for hours at a time. No need to use their little hands.

Chew on that for a moment. Continue reading

Mamas, Let Your Babies Grow Up Before Getting Vaccinated

Source: Virginia Department of Health

by James A. Bacon

About 21,000 Virginia children aged four and under have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the three weeks since the shots were made available, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. That amounts to only 5% of the age group, observes reporter Eric Kolenich, but it’s significantly higher than the national average of 2%.

I’m double vaxed and double boosted. But, then, I’m 69 years old. Nearly 3,800 Virginians in my age bracket have died from the virus. Only 13 children under the age of nine have succumbed.

I don’t proffer unsolicited advice to my daughters. They’re intelligent women capable of making informed decisions about my three grandchildren, and I’m not inclined to meddle. But if they sought my counsel (which they haven’t), I would advise against vaccinating the little knuckleheads.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, nearly 160,000 cases of COVID have been reported for the 0-to-9 age bracket. The chances of little guys getting the virus are high. But only 942 have been hospitalized, and only 13 have died. Continue reading

The Variants Are Coming! The Variants Are Coming! The Worst One Yet!

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like it has arrived.

I’m talking about the eagerly anticipated “Mid-Term Variant.” You know, the “worst one yet, the shape-shifting” variety. It’s the terrifying BA.5, which is spreading right now. And if that doesn’t have you trembling and reaching for an N95, the BA2.75 is on its way. From India!

This one is nicknamed “Centaurus” to compound the sense of danger.

Best of all, Centaurus is expected to surge in the fall. Just in time for the mid-term elections. Back under the beds, everyone!

Mail-in ballots are next. You didn’t think the left was just going to lay down and lose, did you?

They’re already busy across the country ginning up the fear and ignoring the fact that although the new versions of COVID are highly contagious they’re also milder than the original.

And medical “experts” continue to scold Americans for not getting boosters. Yet even they admit that the horrible-worst-ever-shape-shifting virus “easily evades” the current vaccines. Continue reading

No Patient Should Ever Be Left Alone

by Kerry Dougherty

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week signed the Sunshine State’s “No Patient Left Alone Act,” guaranteeing that Floridians can have their loved ones with them when they are hospitalized, ill or in long-term care.

What’s truly unbelievable is that this needed to be legislated. The importance of family visits was always considered common sense. It was key to compassionate care.

Unfortunately, common sense was sacrificed on the altar of hysteria during the pandemic.

Panicked Democrats and morons at the CDC turned America’s nursing homes, hospitals and hospice centers into lonely outposts for the infirm. Eventually, these isolated hellholes became death chambers where authorities imprisoned elderly patients – alone – for more than a year.

Put a prisoner in solitary confinement and you’re committing a human rights atrocity. Yet “healthcare” providers happily locked nursing home residents in their rooms for a year or more. Many dementia patients died – alone – in the fetal position, without a visitor or a hug in months. Families watched their loved ones die over Zoom and then were forbidden by idiot governors to hold funerals. Continue reading

Commonwealth Set for Major Broadband Expansion

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

One of the issues underlined by the pandemic was the need for all areas of the state to have access to broadband internet. Without access to broadband, kids (and adults) in rural areas cannot take advantage of courses offered online. To the extent that more people will be working remotely, rural areas need access to broadband in order for those people to move there. Broadband accessibility is necessary for almost all businesses and industries and rural areas will need to have such accessibility if they hope to convince private companies to bring new jobs to their areas.

Thanks to federal funding, the Commonwealth is well on its way to achieving universal availability. The source of most of that funding is the American Rescue Plan (ARP), enacted in early 2021 as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to offset the economic effects of the COVID pandemic. In July of last year, the Northam administration and the General Assembly announced an agreement to allocate $700 million of the state’s ARP funding to broadband expansion. Several months later, that amount grew by  $220 million as a result of an allocation from another section of the ARP. Finally, it is expected that Virginia will get $65 million for broadband expansion from the federal infrastructure bill passed last fall. Continue reading

So, How Did UVa’s Vaccine Mandate Work Out?

Confirmed COVID cases. Source: University of Virginia COVID Tracker. Arrow indicates when 238 students were disenrolled for having failed to comply with UVa’s vaccination mandate.

by James A. Bacon

Readers may recall that last August the University of Virginia “disenrolled” 238 students for not complying with the university’s COVID vaccination mandate. (Of those, 49 had enrolled at the time the decision was made. The intentions of the others were not known. Many likely had made other arrangements knowing that the mandate was in the works.)

“Our most effective tools to limit the spread of the virus within our community are vaccines and booster shots for those who have already been vaccinated,” the university explained in a vaccination update to UVa faculty and staff.

So, how did UVa’s forced vaccination policy, which extended to faculty and staff, work out?

We can get a sense from the graph above, which is taken from the University of Virginia’s COVID tracker dashboard. The arrow indicates roughly when the purge of unvaccinated students went into effect, around August 20, 2021. Continue reading

What’s Causing Virginia’s Excess Deaths? Whatever It Is, It’s Not Just COVID


Virginia has high vaccination rates, and deaths from COVID-19 are a small fraction of what they were at the height of the pandemic. Yet “excess” deaths in Virginia — the number that would be predicted based upon projections from pre-COVID years — are running 13.4% higher than expected this year.

According to Centers for Disease Control data, excess mortality shot higher during the first year of the pandemic, ran even higher in the second year, and continues without let-up in the third year. Is there a common thread underlying this threat to the public health? Could the increase in non-COVID deaths be tied to how American society responded to the pandemic?

In a newly released video Delegate Karen Greenhalgh, R-Virginia Beach, who sits on the Joint Commission on Health Care, says she wants to understand these numbers better. Continue reading