Tag Archives: COVID-19

When the Numbers Stopped

by Joe Fitzgerald

The Virginia Department of Health began posting daily COVID numbers on March 17, 2020, and effectively quit Thursday. A press release on the VDH website explains the changes, but doesn’t include enough real information to make it worth the trouble of linking there.

For two years, though, VDH produced daily information that made it possible to produce snapshots of information about the history, current state, and projected trajectory of the pandemic down to the zip code level.

A math degree and journalistic experience made it fairly simple for me to figure out what was relevant to the central Shenandoah Valley every day so that Deb and I could make personal decisions based on more than our reading about national and worldwide trends and about efforts on the various medical fronts. Continue reading

Too Bad RTD Didn’t Read “Lies, Damn Lies and Race-Obsessed Statistics”

by Carol J. Bova

Almost a year ago, I wrote about a March 3, 2021 Virginia Department of Health blog post, in which VDH claimed in an article about COVID-19:

In Virginia, Hispanic and Black age-specific death rates are much higher than White age-specific death rates. The age group with the largest disparity was 35-44 year olds, with the Hispanic death rate 10.9 times higher and the Black rate 6.3 times higher than the White death rate. After this age group the size of the disparity steadily decreases. Among persons 85 years and older, the Hispanic rate is similar to the White rate, and the Black rate is 1.1 times higher than the White rate.

It’s too bad Richmond Times-Dispatch reporters don’t read Bacon’s Rebellion (or, if they do, they don’t pay any attention). The RTD could have saved itself a lot of embarrassment for its use of outdated and blatantly misleading statistics in a recent article in which it asserted that, three months into the COVID epidemic, Latinos in Richmond were 38 times more likely to be infected than white residents and 17 times more likely to be hospitalized. Continue reading

Torturing Statistics Until They Confess: An RTD Primer

Image credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

by James A. Bacon

Sabrina Moreno with the Richmond Times-Dispatch has written a three-piece series arguing that disinvestment in the Virginia Department of Health led Latinos to being “the most likely to get infected, hospitalized and die” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fourth paragraph of the story makes the following extraordinary assertion:

Three months after Virginia’s first case, Latinos in Richmond were 38 times more likely to be infected than white residents and 17 times more likely to be hospitalized, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch analysis of COVID cases and hospitalizations.

That would be an extraordinary indictment of Virginia’s public health system, if true. But it’s not. Even if those particular factoids happen to be accurate for a particular place in time, which I question, it is monstrously misleading. The article did not publish the data, taken from the VDH COVID dashboard, that I now present you… Continue reading

The Incredible Shrinking Virus

Virginia confirmed COVID cases. (Shaded gray areas indicate illnesses may not have been reported yet.) Source: Virginia Department of Health

It’s amazing how quickly COVID-19 has faded from the headlines.

I guess good news is no news.

A recent Centers for Disease Control study estimates, based on antibody testing, that 43% of all Americans have been infected by the virus. Naturally acquired resistance plus the high percentage of the population that has been vaccinated (76% at least one dose, 64% fully vaccinated, 28% boosted nationally) creates a lot of protection. Combine that with warmer weather, and we can expect COVID to largely fade from the scene this spring. From a peak of more than 120,000 confirmed and probably cases in early January, there were about 13,000 total  cases reported in the week ending Feb. 17. That number was undoubtedly lower the past week.

On the other hand, 57% of the population has not yet been infected, and the efficacy of the vaccine does diminish over time, so COVID is not going away. Continue reading

Naked Politics: No Masks for the SOTU!

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s a miracle!

After two years of constantly hectoring us to wear masks, public health officials and Democratic leaders have now decided that it’s time to lose the face diapers.

Just in time for the State of the Union Address! Exquisite timing.

Remember, this is just two weeks after Virginia Democrats howled that Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s emergency amendment — the one that activated on March 1 a law forbidding the forced masking of Virginia’s school children — would kill people.

Will the left-wing harpies in the General Assembly now praise the governor for leading the way? Continue reading

The Governor’s Surge

We’ll know soon if the rest of us get what the unvaxed voted for.

by Joe Fitzgerald

Virginia’s governor ran on a platform to protect children from critical race theory and expose them to COVID. The first goal was moot, since CRT wasn’t often mentioned in public schools to begin with. How well the second succeeds should be apparent by the Ides of March.

It’s been known from the outset of the pandemic that masking, social distancing, and vaccines were the primary defenses against COVID. A year after vaccines became widely available the pandemic could have been effectively over, had rightist demagogues not discovered something new to rail against. If the 1950s were like this, iron lungs would dot America’s red counties like coal-rolling pickups.

And it is in the coal-rolling counties that the Republican freedom-to-infect mandate will be tested beginning Tuesday. Statewide, red counties are less vaccinated. The nearest example is comparing the age 5-17 populations in blue Harrisonburg and red Rockingham, 60% and 34% vaccinated, respectively. Let’s be judgmental, and assume that there is some overlap between the intentionally unvaxed and those who think spewing COVID aerosols is enshrined in some amendment they haven’t read. Continue reading

CDC Chicanery

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like the jig is up for the CDC. Someone needs to tell the secretive political animals running the agency that when you’ve lost The New York Times, you’re done.

On Sunday, The Times published a story criticizing the Centers for Disease Control for hiding massive amounts of data from the public. “The CDC Isn’t Publishing Large Portions Of The Covid Data It Collects.”

Why has the CDC “published only a tiny fraction of the data it has collected?“

The agency has been reluctant to make those figures public…because they might be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective.

Uh-oh. What are they keeping from us and why? Continue reading

A COVID Swan Song

Confirmed Virginia COVID-19 cases. Source: Virginia Department of Health

by Scott Lingamfelter

Pandemics are not new. They have been around as long as the human race has been and will be in the future. Before COVID arrived on our shores from China, the 1919 Flu Pandemic originated in the trenches of World War I and spread rapidly, picking up the name Spanish Flu, a misnomer since it cropped up in several places. It ultimately killed 17 to 50 million people and possibly as many as 100 million. It was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. By comparison, COVID-19 has killed 5,826,463 globally, or two-thirds the population of New York City, far less that the 1919 villain. Nevertheless, COVID has had an enormously outsized impact on our nation and the world. Beyond deaths, it has disrupted economies, lives, education, and indeed freedom. It was in a sense — despite the occurrence of the 1919 pandemic — a Black Swan Event.  Continue reading

Dems Do an About-Face on COVID

by Kerry Dougherty

Some of us knew right away that it was not just a happy accident that the governors of four blue states suddenly announced two weeks ago that they were rolling back COVID restrictions and scrapping loathsome mask mandates.

It was clear that this Road to Damascus moment was triggered by polls. Really bad polls.

Now we know.

SFGate, the digital version of the San Francisco Chronicle, confirmed yesterday that they’d been shown some grisly internal polling conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

It’s worse than many of us imagined.

According to writers for the publication, a poll that took the pulse of voters in 60 of America’s most competitive congressional districts showed Democrats in deep trouble. Continue reading

Things Fall Apart: Fare-Jumping Edition

D.C. fare jumper. Photo credit: Unsuckdcmetro

by James A. Bacon

Thirty-four percent of all Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority bus riders are not paying their fares, reducing revenues by $10 million in the second half of 2021 alone, reports The Washington Post. That’s up from 17% in unpaid fares two years previously.

Bacon’s Rebellion readers may be reassured to know that 42% of all Metrobus fare-jumping incidents took place in D.C., 34% in Maryland, and only 6% occurred in Virginia. The WaPo article does not compare those numbers to Metrobus ridership, however, so it’s not clear that Virginia riders are more law-abiding.

Whatever the case, some local government representatives view fare evasion as a social issue stemming from poverty rather than criminality. The Washington, D.C., City Council is now discussing a proposal to give city residents $100 in monthly fare credit.

“Most people skipping fares are doing so because they can’t afford to pay their transportation costs,” said Councilman Charles Allen in a statement. “We can help ease that pain a little.” Continue reading

Undocumented Aliens vs. Undocumented Vaccinations

Screen grab from the University of Virginia website: “DACA & Undcoumented Student Resources.”

by Walter Smith

Prior to the fall 2021 semester, the University of Virginia disenrolled 238 students, including 49 who had already registered for classes. What was their offense? Take a guess.

  1. Entering and residing in the country illegally, or
  2. Refusing to get COVID vaccinated in violation of a university policy that has since been overturned.

If you answered (2), you have been paying attention. If you also knew that UVa had declared in June 2020 that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status no longer disqualified an applicant from attending the university, you are really on top of things.

“Our mission as a university is to attract outstanding students who will make our community stronger and the world a better place,” said UVa President Jim Ryan in this June 2020 article. “We should be open to all qualified applicants – and this decision is an important step in the right direction.”

Solicitude to “all” qualified applicants did not extend to those who presented no documentation of vaccinations and boosters. University policy compelled “all students attending in the Spring 2022 semester … to upload proof” — documentation, if you will — “of an approved booster shot to the HealthyHoos patient portal” or face expulsion.  Continue reading

Democratic Flip-Floppers Voted Yes Before They Voted No

by Kerry Dougherty

Tired of masks? Me too. But this is important.

Imagine how hard the teachers’ unions must have lobbied their indentured Democratic servants in the Virginia State Senate to get seven who voted to end forced masking of school children on Tuesday to vote against the same exact bill on Wednesday.

It passed without their votes, of course. But their bizarre behavior needs to be highlighted.

And never forgotten.

Who caved? John Bell, Loudoun County. John S. Edwards, Roanoke. Ghazala Hashmi, Richmond. Janet Howell, Fairfax. Richard Saslaw, Alexandria. Lionel Spruill, Chesapeake. And Scott Surovell, Fairfax.

Which Dems stayed strong? Chap Petersen of Fairfax, of course, the driver behind this move to end mask mandates. Joined by Lynwood Lewis of Accomac and Joe Morrissey, Richmond. Continue reading

Things Fall Apart: From the Mountains to the Sea Edition

by James A. Bacon

There are more signs in the news today that the social fabric is fraying across Virginia: (1) a teacher poll showing that 39% of Newport News teachers and staff are thinking about quitting; and (2) concerns that urban violence is spilling out of Roanoke into nearby Blacksburg. For good measure, I’ll throw in (3) a two-week-old story about the record number of drug overdoses in Virginia.

Look, I know people are prone to cherry-picking headlines to build a narrative. The mainstream media does so routinely. So, I admit the possibility that I’m engaging in confirmation bias, highlighting the news that fits my counter-narrative of slow-motion social breakdown and downplaying the news that doesn’t fit. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening. I think we’re seeing  headlines of a type we never used to see before. You be the judge.

Teacher morale plummets. Newport News teachers are burned out, and many are thinking about quitting, according to results from a survey commissioned by the Newport News Education Association. The Newport News findings actually were less bad than a National Education Association poll finding that 55% of educators responding to a survey were considering retiring or quitting because of the epidemic, about double the number in July 2020, reports The Daily Press. Continue reading

Virginia Democrats Cling to Forced Masking of Kids

by Kerry Dougherty

Hey, Virginia Democrats, read the room.

Rather, read the country.

As Democrats in the Old Dominion lawyer up and throw hissy fits in a mad attempt to keep forced masking in schools, their counterparts in four blue states spent Monday merrily rolling back the mandates.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that mandatory masking would end in the Garden State on March 7. Connecticut’s Gov. Ned Lamont said he’d scrap school mask mandates on Feb. 28, although he’ll leave decisions up to school divisions. In Delaware, Gov. John Carney declared that mask mandates will be reversed on February 11, with school mandates ending March 31. And in Oregon — Oregon! — health officials announced that school mask mandates would be lifted statewide on March 31.

Coincidence? Not a chance.

These Democrats can read a room. The polling on mask mandates must be atrocious. They know that the November mid-term elections are going to be a bloodbath for their party if forced masking of kids — the most visible sign of gubernatorial overreach — stays in place through the 2022 school year. Continue reading

The Petersen Death Star Strikes Again

Letter from state Senator J. Chapman Petersen, D-Fairfax, to Scott Braband, superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools. — JAB

On Friday evening, February 4th, in my capacity as a parent, I received the attached press release from Fairfax County Public Schools which announced the ruling of the Arlington County Circuit Court on the Governor’s Executive Order No. 2 regarding “parental option” for any child masking policies.

The press release begins by lauding the Court’s ruling as an “immediate action to protect the health of the community and also reaffirms the constitutional rights of the school boards.” It then states that FCPS will indefinitely continue its policy of Forced Masking for” all students, staff and visitors, a regulation which is overwhelmingly supported by our staff and families” which “has been a critical safety measure during the pandemic, especially during the most recent surge.”

No evidence is cited for any of these statements, which are clearly opinions – not facts. Since FCPS has circulated its opinions via a public forum, I will respond in kind on the two key presumptions: Continue reading