Seven thousand+ new COVID-19 cases: The pandemic remains among us

Let's call this protest what it is: Viral, unpatriotic stupidity.

The Commonwealth of Virginia added 7,080 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, while hospitals admitted 188 new patients suffering from the disease while 28 died. Floyd County’s seven new cases puts the total just two shy of 1,000.

The only “good news” if we can call it that, is no deaths in our area but 28 died elsewhere in The Old Dominion.

Yet we still see ignorance abound in places like Food Lion, where most customers wander around the aisle without masks, some of them coughing, which is a potential sign of the COVID-19 delta variant that is spreading rapidly locally, nationally and worldwide.

“I don’t need no f—–g mask,” declared one potential virus carrier in that grocery store on Sunday. “They’re for sissies.”

Really? I wear a mask in most establishments, including trips to the grocery story, court — which I cover once a week for The Floyd Press. I will be wearing one tonight while covering the volleyball season opener at Floyd County High School. So must those in the bleachers. I’ve been called many things in my life, but “sissy” has never been one of them.

A new poll shows six in 10 of Americans favor having students and teachers masked.

Reports The Associated Press:

About 6 in 10 Americans say students and teachers should be required to wear face masks while in school, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Similar shares say teachers and eligible students should also be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Masks have been a point of contention as U.S. schools reopen amid rising numbers of coronavirus cases. Questions about whether to require them have caused turmoil among parents and politicians, with some Republican governors banning mask mandates even as President Joe Biden threatens legal action against them.

In a reflection of that polarizing debate, the poll finds a wide partisan divide. About 3 in 10 Republicans said they favor mask requirements for students and teachers, compared with about 8 in 10 Democrats. There was a similar split over vaccine mandates in schools.

“I understand personal choice, I understand personal freedom. But when it comes to public health, we should all be looking out for each other,” says Budhiono Riyanto, whose seven-year-old son is in school in Queens, New York, with a mask. “The best protection so far is to mask up and vaccinate.”

“We need to do everything we can to keep schools open and safe,” says Jeff Hicklin, 40, an accountant in Falmouth, Maine.

I worked eight years as a political operative for the Republican Party, which claims that “freedom of choice” is more important than the safety and lives of children.

That kind of asinine “party over common sense” attitudes is a primary reason I walked away from the GOP in disgust.

The Republican Party, I firmly believe, is now controlled by anti-democracy, corrupt, dangerous fanatics.