Where Does Ralph Northam Go From Here with COVID-19?

Image by André Santana from Pixabay

by DJ Rippert

Marcel Marceau. Ralph “The COVID Mime” Northam dropped a bevy of increased Coronavirus restrictions on the state last Friday. Those new restrictions on Friday followed another rambling COVID press conference held by Northam the prior Tuesday. Anybody watching the Tuesday news conference could be forgiven for being shocked by The COVID Mime’s actions on Friday. Unlike governors such as Larry Hogan in Maryland Northam avoids any serious discussion of possible actions he might take to slow the spread of the resurgent virus in Virginia during his press conferences. Instead, Northam recites statistics about COVID-19 in Virginia and reminds people to wear masks, maintain social distance and wash their hands regularly. He also provides pithy commentary such as, “This is very concerning, especially because it is getting colder. The holidays are approaching and the temptation to gather with other people is high.” Then, as the news week winds to a close, Northam drops a COVID bomb. To say Jim Bacon was exasperated is putting it mildly. The virus has continued to spread internationally, nationally and in Virginia.  So, we get to play the next installment of the Bacons Rebellion game show “What will The Mime do next?”

How bad is it – globally?

  • German lawmakers are debating a bill to make COVID restrictions the law of the land. The bill is expected to pass quickly and be signed into law. This sparked protests against the legislation in Berlin that resulted in police using water cannons to disburse the crowd. Contrary to rumors circulating among American liberals, none of the protesters were wearing MAGA hats.
  • Brazil was hit hard by the first wave of the COVID outbreak. The South American country seemed to ultimately get the virus under control. However, a resurgence is underway. Domingo Alves, head of the Health Intelligence Lab at the University of Sao Paulo said, “Brazil urgently needs to put in place mass testing to try to get the second wave under control, before it gets submerged like the United States and Europe.”

How bad is it – nationally?

  • CNN, reporting on the COVID resurgence in various states’ reports, observed, “There is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both Covid and non-Covid emergencies.”
  • “More than 3 million people in the United States have active coronavirus infections and are potentially contagious,” reports the Greenwich Time.
  • North Dakota’s COVID-19 death rate is estimated to be highest in the world at 18.2 deaths per 1 million people.
  • Closer to home, CBS Baltimore quotes Maryland governor Larry Hogan from his recent press conference, “Now we’re seeing problems everywhere, but our absolute worst are in those rural areas, particularly in Allegheny and Garrett county but in other places on the [Eastern] shore, as well,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you live, or what demographic group you happen to fall into — this virus doesn’t care doesn’t recognize county borders or state borders. It’s coming for all of us. And we’ve all got to be as vigilant as possible to stop it.”

How bad is it – in Virginia?

The tears of a mime.

For weeks Ralph Northam ignored the resurgence of COVID-19 across the world and the United States. It was inevitable that the surge would reach Virginia. Rather than use his “COVID press conferences” to talk about preparations and possible new restrictions Northam blathered about court cases involving Confederate statues. Small business owners could have started preparing for tightened restrictions if they had been discussed. For example, restaurants could have rented or purchased more propane heaters in order to serve patrons outdoors if they were warned that indoor dining might be curtailed. Parents with essential jobs could have started to arrange childcare during school hours in areas where Virginia schools are open if school closings were possibly on the horizon. Now Northam is in a panic. He is dropping new and resumed restrictions without any prior notice. Virginians are left to wonder what Ralph “The COVID Mime” will spring on them next. Elections have consequences and we are suffering the consequences of our last governor’s election right now.