Tag Archives: COVID-19

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.


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

COVID: It’s Baaack! But Relatively Few Deaths So Far

Source: Virginia Department of Health

by James A. Bacon

Just a reminder, people: COVID-19 may have receded from the headlines, but it hasn’t gone away. After bottoming out in April at less than 1,000 daily confirmed cases, the seven-day moving average in Virginia has climbed back up to 3,200 or more. You can be double vaxxed — as much of the population has been — but you can still carry the virus in your schnoz and and you can still transmit it.

Hospitalizations are up, too. Fortunately, deaths remain subdued. But if you consider yourself at risk, it may be time to take precautions again. Continue reading

Hey, Virginia State Workers, Take Off Your PJs

by Kerry Dougherty

Hey, Virginia state employees, it’s time.

Time to close those laptops, take off your pajamas and head back to work.

I know, I know, it’s been fun sitting home with your cats since early 2020, when Gov. Ralph Northam shut down the commonwealth to slow the spread of COVID-19.

And we all know how successful THAT was. In fact, we’ll never know just how many lives were saved by prohibiting loud music on the beach and volleyball.

The fun is over. Time to get into the 9-to-5 routine again. Governor Glenn Youngkin is graciously giving you until July 5th to ease yourselves back into the office. Those with legitimate health needs or other concerns can apply to continue to telecommute, but the expectation is that state government will soon be functioning as it did prior to the pandemic: in-person and five days a week.

Is that too much to ask? Continue reading

Virginia’s COVID Performance Rates a D

Source: The Committee to Unleash Prosperity

by James A. Bacon

Virginia performed worse than 35 other states during the COVID-19 recession, based on an analysis that encompasses mortality rates, economic performance and educational performance. The Commonwealth fared better than average in health outcomes, worse than average in economic performance, and near the bottom in school closures. The overall ranking: D.

Nationally, there was little correlation, however, between the stringency of economic and school-related COVID lockdowns and health outcomes, finds the study, “A Final Report Card on the States’ Response to COVID-19,” published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The authors were Phil Kerpen, Stephen Moore, and Casey B. Mulligan, all well-known free-market economists.

Former Governor Ralph Northam, a physician, can take some comfort in the fact that Virginia under his watch performed better than most other states in the COVID-related mortality rate when adjustments were made for age and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes risk factors in the population — 10th best in the nation.

However, when the perspective shifts to “all cause excess deaths,” which captures the mortality effects of lockdown policies such as higher drug and alcohol deaths, suicides, and foregone medical treatments, Virginia’s national ranking falls to 19th. Continue reading

COVID Hospitalizations Rapidly Receding

Seven-day moving average of Virginia COVID-19 hospitalizations. Source: Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

COVID data junkies might want to check out the latest iteration of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association COVID hospitalization dashboard. It now provides a regional breakdown. After winter’s Omicron surge, the numbers are heading down fast, and could well dip lower than the level Virginia enjoyed last summer. The seven-day moving average of COVID hospitalizations statewide stands at 381 today. In the Far Southwest region, the number is only 19. Cross your fingers and hope the lull lasts.

ACLU Wants Masks on Kids

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s official.

One of the most malignant organizations in Virginia is the ACLU.

These far-left lawyers, who are supposed to be concerned with civil liberties (hey, it’s in their name: the American Civil Liberties Union), sucked their thumbs as Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam stomped all over the civil rights of Virginians for two years.

They napped when he closed businesses. They shrugged when he closed schools. They snoozed when he slammed the doors of churches and synagogues.

When kids with speech impediments had to go to speech therapy in masks, the ACLU hibernated.

They did not care about kids back then. They don’t care about kids now. Continue reading

The Real March Madness

by Kerry Dougherty

I can’t watch. It raises my blood pressure.

I’m talking about the NCAA Basketball Tournament. For the first time in years I’m not glued to my TV during March Madness.

I have my reasons:

First, none of the teams that matter to me made the tournament.

Second, I’m not in a pool this year. That significantly reduces interest.

Third — and most important — after two years of trying to look away, I can’t stand any more pandemic theater. And that’s exactly what’s going on at every game where the cheerleaders are wearing stupid masks and virtually none of the thousands of spectators are sporting them. Continue reading