Virginia came close to 10,000 new COVID-19 virus infections Sunday, eclipsing the record of more than 6,000 the day before by more than 3,000 cases.
With a backup building in those waiting for the new vaccine, the increase in cases shows a clear avoidance of preventative measures by too many in the Old Dominion.
With a disputed change in presidential administrations Wednesday with the inauguration of Joe Biden and the departure of Donald Trump, America currently has no national strategy and states are left to battle the deadly pandemic on their own.
Thursday marks the first anniversary of the discovery of the virus in this country, and we end that year with the nation closing in on 400,000 deaths and record increases in hospitalizations and deaths.
Incoming president Joe Biden promises a strong national push against the virus.
“We will manage the hell out of this operation,” he said Friday. “Our administration will lead with science and scientists.”
For nearly the entire pandemic, political polarization and a rejection of science have stymied the United States’ ability to control the coronavirus.
That has been clearest and most damaging at the federal level, where President Trump claimed that the virus would “disappear,” clashed with his top scientists and abdicated responsibility for a pandemic that required a national effort to defeat it, handing key decisions to states under the assumption that they would take on the fight and get the country back to business.
But governors and local officials who were left in charge of the crisis squandered the little momentum the country had as they sidelined health experts, ignored warnings from their own advisers and, in some cases, stocked their advisory committees with more business representatives than doctors.
From the top down, there’s a lot of blame to go around but much of it falls on those who ignore regulations to wear masks and maintain social distancing. We see that every day in Floyd County, where the mask-less venture into grocery stores, pharmacies and other public places with little regard to their own safety or the risk they pose to others.
Just a few months ago, Floyd County had just 20 confirmed cases and those who subscribe to one of the idiotic conspiracy theories that dominate the discussions claimed it would “all go way” right after the election.
It didn’t. It got worse, much worse. Floyd County now has more than 600 cases with nearly all of that coming in the last three months.
During the lockdown of the Capitol in last week’s riot, several members of Congress tested positive right after being sequestered in a crowded room where some of their colleagues — most Republicans — refused to wear masks.
In Minnesota, more tan 100 members of the State Senate celebrated a dinner with their spouses and staff two days after the Nov. 3 election. Most shunned masks, even when they were offered. For Senators tested positive for the virus in the following days, including GOP majority leader Paul Gazelka, who denounced masks as “conspiracy” and called the pandemic a hoax.
Then one of the other Senators who tested positive was hospitalized and died of the virus on Dec. 18.
Jerry Relph, a Vietnam veteran and grandfather, was 76. His daughter, Dana Relph, blames Gazelka and the other Republicans who tried to minimize the dangers.
“Why are you throwing a party with 100-plus people in the middle of a pandemic?” she said in an angry comment directed at Gazelka. “Why would you choose to do that when we know people are going to be eating and drinking and taking their masks off, where the inhibitions will be lowered?”
Gazelka is refusing to comment. In Louisiana, Luke Letlow, elected for a first term to represent his district in Congress, died from the virus just a few days before going to Washington to be sworn in. Letlow also paraded around without masks and called pandemic nothing more than a “mild flu.”