Montgomery County, home of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech, saw an increase of 92 cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus infections in Monday morning’s report by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Floyd County rose by another 3 with a new total of 184.
Montgomery could top 1,500 cases this week and Floyd could top 200 if infections continue at present rates.
Virginia now reports 134,571 cases, with 10,293 hospitalized and 2,743 deaths. Nationwide, deaths from the virus were 198,562, less than 1,200 from 200,000, according to the report at 9:40 a.m. Monday by Worldmeter, which keeps totals for nations.
Yet a woman at Food Lion proclaimed over the weekend that the pandemic is “a hoax” and part of a conspiracy by the “Dark State.”
She also quoted claims by QAnon, the group that supports the so-called Dark State.
Many of us have to shake out heads in disgust when such claims emerge during a valid worldwide pandemic that will have killed more than a million people by week’s end.
I used to think that there are just too many people out there who are plain dumb and stupid, as Forest Gump used to say, but it is far worse than that. There are way too many racists, bigots, homophobes and haters in the mix too.
“It’s hard to remember a gloomier time in our public life,” writes columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. “So much of the analysis we read, the news we consume and the hot takes that fly by us on social media suggest that the exits from this dreadful era are blocked. We’re led to believe that our country faces inexorable decline and that those who see the possibility of reform and redemption are deluded.”
So much of the despair I see in conversations, and posted on social media, are talking points straight out of the QAnon playbook, a wild-eyed conspiracy theory that claimed Democratic leaders and billionaire George Soros were running a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC.
A delusional lunatic from North Carolina stormed the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant on Dec. 4, 2016, with an AR-15 assault rifle, fired shots into the walls and later told police he drove to the nation’s capital to free children he felt were imprisoned in the basement as part of a child sex ring.
That grew into a wider belief by far-right conspiracy fantasies of “a cabal of Satan-worshiping global sex-traffic ring” is leading a plot against president Donald Trump, who promotes conspiracy theories.
Trump,, QAnon claims, will lead a “day of reckoning” that will involve arrests of liberal politicians and journalists that he claims are “enemies of America. “
Incredibly, Trump endorsed GOP Marjorie Taylor Greene, a candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives running in Georgia. She won a runoff and could easily win the seat in November.
“There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it,” Greene said after Trump was elected.
This past weekend, Vice President Mike Pence had scheduled to speak to a Montana fundraiser for Trump but canceled at the last minute after press reports revealed the hosts were promoters of QAnon.
Media reports document Trump promoted QAnon claims in tweets at least 216 times.
“I don’t know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much. Which I appreciate. But I don’t know much about the movement,” Trump said in response to a reporters question. He called QAnon “people who love our country.”
When asked about the FBI listing QAnon a “domestic terror threat” who claimed the president “is secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals” by the FBI, Trump said “Well, I haven’t heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says Trump is trying to “legitimize a conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a domestic terrorism threat.”
There’s a signpost up ahead. Next stop, the Twilight Zone.