Tag Archives: COVID-19

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

When COVID Hysteria Meets Safetyism

by James A. Bacon

The percentage of Northern Virginia’s adult population grappling with anxiety and depression more than tripled during the COVID-19 epidemic — from 8% to 28% — according to data published by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. The percentage peaked at 39% in February 2020, affecting 755,000 individuals, but abated to 545,000 individuals by October.

Including other types of mental illness, the Community Foundation estimates that, all told, 750,000 Northern Virginia adults, or 39% of the adult population, have mental health needs. An estimated 370,000 want therapy or counseling but the region’s 5,100 mental health professionals can’t come close to meeting the demand. And they charge so much — around $215 per 45-minute session for self-pay — that many people can’t afford them anyway.

Wow!

Let those numbers sink in. Northern Virginia is one of the most affluent metropolitan regions in the country, yet nearly two out of five residents suffer from mental illness. Anxiety and depression are endemic. There’s a lot to unpack here. Continue reading

Bad Memories: 15 Days to Slow the Spread

by Kerry Dougherty

Happy anniversary, America. It was two years ago today that we surrendered our civil liberties due to hysteria over a virus.

Yep, it was March 16, 2020 that we were told to stay home for 15 days to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Health officials demonstrated how this would work using an illustration of a series of matches igniting until one match went missing and the fires went out. By staying home we could “flatten the curve” they assured us.

We believed them. We did our part. What worked for burning matches didn’t work for a virus.

But once government officials and bureaucratic health officials realized that Americans would merrily give up their rights if they were terrified enough, the goalposts moved and a COVID-hysteria industry was born. Continue reading

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