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.

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30 responses to “Where Does Ralph Northam Go From Here with COVID-19?

  1. “This sparked protests against the legislation in Berlin that resulted in police using water canons to disburse the crowd.”

    When I think of water canons I think of things like:

    1) Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2) Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit
    3) Water always seeks its own level.

    Seriously, though, wouldn’t hand sanitizer cannons have been more apropos?

  2. Virginia is a Blue state with respect to new cases. Northam should get a pass.

    • Not sure what that means. We hit our highest daily record for new cases two days ago. However, as usual, there was a “data problem” to blame. Nine months in and the geniuses in Richmond still can’t count cases accurately. But the seven day average doesn’t lie. ” … the state’s seven-day average, which smooths out such irregularities, hit a new high of 1,594.3, up 10.9% in the past week.” Up 10.9% in a week?

      As for being a blue state … yeah, the Democrats who hissed and huffed about Donald Trump’s incompetence in handling the virus and how Republican governors were killing people with their reopening plans are eerily quiet about stumblebumble Northam’s efforts during this surge.

  3. Pandemic: “prevalent over a whole country or the world.”
    No wonder the case numbers [a useless number without context of the number of tests run] are increasing — but then you have to ask did Elon Musk’s exercise add or decrease the number of positive cases?

    C-19 cannot be ‘controlled’.
    Remember as we move to more shut downs when the government did it last time —- the numbers went up! How was that possible?

    • I’d be perfectly happy for Northam to say, “COVID-19 cannot be controlled beyond masks, social distancing and hand washing”. I can live with him saying, “If the positivity rate exceeds 10% I will have to shut down indoor dining and all K-12 schools”.

      In other words, I can live with any articulated plan he puts forward.

      What I can’t live with is a governor who ignores an obvious spike in cases until he panics and blurts out new restrictions.

      One of the most useful parts of Larry Hogan’s press conferences is when he describes what is being learned from the contact tracers about how the disease is being spread in Maryland.

      • “In other words, I can live with any articulated plan he puts forward.What I can’t live with is a governor who ignores an obvious spike in cases until he panics and blurts out new restrictions.”

        This is helpful as I didn’t understand your concerns previously. Perhaps that was my fault, but this clarifies your position. Thanks.

        This article may be of interest as it demonstrates the difficulty of making plans without a clear understanding of the plan.

        “VA: Gun Shop and John Crump Sue Gov. Northam over Nations Gun Show”


      • Northam has issued phased guidance that is delegated to the locality to decide what is appropriate for them.

        That includes the schools.

        It’s the opposite of top-down, one-size-fits-all edicts.

        I give him credit for that.

        What DJ seems to be demanding, in fact, is top-down edicts.

        • “It’s the opposite of top-down, one-size-fits-all edicts. I give him credit for that.”

          Aren’t you the person who kept insisting that the federal government (Trump) mandate COVID-19 restrictions for the entire country? We’ve had numerous posts about this. When did you change your mind?

          “Northam has issued phased guidance that is delegated to the locality to decide what is appropriate for them.”

          Where are you getting that? Please provide a source. That’s not my reading. It’s an executive order, not an executive suggestion.

          “Although Virginians have done much to mitigate the spread of the virus, it is clear that additional measures are necessary. Accordingly, I order following additional restrictions.”

          “pursuant to §§ 32.1-13, 32.1-20, and 35.1-10 of the Code of Virginia, the following is ordered:”


          • Actually I was not.

            And if you check – you’ll see that Northam has issed extensive phased gudiance. Google is your friend but you gotta use it.

          • The discussion you responded to was about what was announced on the 13th. Those were top down edicts. That was the context.

            My post further demonstrated the impact of his abrupt executive orders with a link to an article about the lawsuit against Northam.

            Wouldn’t it just be easier and more honest to just admit you made an error?

          • My response is that there is phased guidance – and there is.

            Beyond that, the Gov is permitted to add to that gudiance and he does.

            What he is doing is not that different from many other Governors including red state governors.

            What’s HONEST is to admit that. no?

          • When I was wrong I apologized. I guess you can’t even admit an error. Fine. I got it now.

            “It’s the opposite of top-down, one-size-fits-all edicts.”

            This was a top-down edit and you know it. JohnCrump corrected you as well.

          • Ya’ll actually demonstrate what I’m saying. DJ is ripping on Northam for NOT laying down specifics and ya’ll are ripping on him for top-down edicts even when he has issued substantial phased guidance.

            I totally don’t accept ya’ll approaches. No matter what Northam did , ya’ll would be on him.. and ya’ll replicate that same behavior going on in other states also including Red states.

        • LarrytheG
          Northam is doing top-down edicts. One of the reasons why I am suing is because Fairfax gave the Gun Show permission to happen (and still is giving permission). Northam inserted himself into it by ordering it canceled.

          • Come on MAN…… you need to bill the event as a ‘Gathering celebrating the new America under B&H’

            have everyone get $1 of admission for bringing a sign and keep them moving in orderly fashion up and down the rows…. an ‘inside, out of the weather march/protest/demonstration’

          • Northam is issuing generalized phased guidance on most stuff but he still have the responsibility and authority to deal with specific issues also.

  4. Baconator with extra cheese

    Is Covid disproportionately impacting brown people in Brazil or is that only happening in Virginia because Dr. Governor Coonman is a racist?

    • I’ve been to Brazil quite a few times and I would dearly love to go back and investigate the matter. A spring with out Carnival samba dancing contests would be horrible.

  5. This just in …

    New York City to close all schools starting tomorrow. To his credit, diBlasio said that he would close the schools if the rolling 7 day positivity rate exceeded 3%. It did and the schools are closing. Cuomo said that NYC was on the verge of entering “the orange zone”. I don’t really know what that means but since Orange Man Bad I imagine it’s not good news. Cuomo also said the rate of increase in western NY was “astronomical”.

    Looks like those science-based Democratic leaders in New York didn’t really have a handle on the virus after all. However, the avowed communist mayor of a failing and disintegrating city (NYC) is still more competent with regards to plans, metrics and actions than our governor.

  6. This just in …

    Northam held his COVID update and did not announce any new restrictions (beyond those announced on Sunday). However, he did say “nothing is off the table” regarding further COVID-19 related restrictions. So, one again, Virginians are left to wonder what plan The COVID Mime has in mind.

    Northam is also very happy that Virginia has the fourth lowest rate of new case increase. Of course, North Dakota once was virtually COVID free during the spring outbreak. Now it has the highest COVID mortality rate in the world. But Virginia has “The Virginia Way” – a magical combination of superpowers that protects The Old Dominion from all manner of bad things. No doubt the Virginia Way will stop that dread virus at the border.

    I’ll take 50/50 odds that Northam blurts out additional significant restrictions for Virginia by Thanksgiving.

    While Hampton Roads (Eastern Region) has only started to see COVID hospitalization spike, the rest of Virginia is now at close to the same point we reached during the peak in May. And hospitalizations are not testing dependent to any significant degree. ICU occupancy is now 74%.


    But The COVID Mime is happy Virginia is fourth from the bottom in new cases … looking backward at the data.

    Does Northam often drive in reverse by looking through his rearview mirror?

    • This just in….. Gov. N has mandated that UVA and VT can no longer have 1,000 spectators in the stands for football games.. it has been decreased to 999 for safety reasons. He stated, “We have determined that having 1,000 people sitting in a 65,000 capacity outdoor arena has not stopped C-19. We’re going to try incremental changes to ‘stop the spread’?

      Makes all the sense in his world……

      • The numbers are indeed arbitrary -BUT – those numbers are all over the place including professional sports that now play to fake crowd noise and yep, it’s gotta be according to “rules”, no just any old fake crowd noise is kosher.

        I just don’t see where Virginia is worse than other states to be honest.

        And I strongly suspect the critics of Norham are also political critics – did not vote for him and favor the other side anyhow…

    • Well, said it before and will again – Many governors including Northam are lilterally damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      The critics are just waiting to see which way it goes then they pounce.

      Some Governors have steel spines and stay the course. Others duck and others still try to thread a path that gets them the least threats from dingbats.

      • “Damned if you and damned if you dont”…. kinda’ like small businesses that are required by Ralph E Newman to do the job of law enforcement officers

      • Northam is either a dunce or a coward, your choice. He either can’t formulate a plan, in which case he’s a dunce or he has a plan but lacks the guts to disclose it, in which case he’s a coward.

        Even diBlasio had a plan. When the positivity rate got over 3% he would close schools. It did and he did.

  7. “This sparked protests against the legislation in Berlin that resulted in police using water canons to disburse the crowd.”

    Its interesting to watch the news feeds from international sources, vs the international news of u.s. sources.

  8. This is expert skeptic day for me…
    Outside of washing hands, not coughing on people, and staying home if sick, I think the course is to do nothing. It would take courage to say this, hence…bupkis.
    Kids don’t die from this, so we lockdown…why?
    To protect elderly? At what cost and can we really stop it from eventually being introduced around the elderly?
    I think we are just prolonging the agony while destroying wealth and social fabric. Let’s develop herd immunity and get back to life. If you are over 50 and think you are losing sense of taste or smell, get on it right away!
    This study was published recently in NEJM. I would guess there was a better chance for compliance with social distancing, masks, cleanliness, etc, since this was Marines, yet the precautions seemed ineffective, if not counterproductive. Viruses do what they do and about the only thing we can control would be – wash your hands, don’t cough on people, stay home if sick – what was received wisdom 100 years ago…

  9. Using and comparing hospitalization numbers is only helpful if the same criteria is used to create those numbers. It appears that the numbers are now created differently.

    “Here’s another contributing factor as to why reported hospitalizations have increased:

    Per updated (10/6) HHS guidelines, patients occupying “Observation” beds (>8hrs) are now included in Hospital admission totals.

    They were not counted as admissions in July’s guidelines…”


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