More than 1 million people worldwide have died from the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Most of those deaths came in the United States, where mishandling of the response was driven by political considerations that ignored health concerns.
Critics of embattled president Donald Trump blame most of the 200,000+ plus deaths in the United States on his mishandling of the crisis. Besides the deaths directly connected to the virus, homicides in 27 cities across the country rose by 53 percent, says the Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan research group.
Domestic violence increased by 12 percent.
In Washington, members of Congress struggle to come up with a new virus relief package to help American families, businesses, schools, restaurants and airline workers. House speaker Nancy Pelosi wants a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans, $335 billion for schools and $57 billion for added child care.
Republicans want to trim at least $1 trillion from the Democratic proposal.
In Virginia, confirmed virus cases dropped below 500 cases per day on Monday, a lower than usual level not seen in months. What determines if the decline is ongoing or just a one-day variance are the seven-day averages.
Health experts say the real measurement are hospitalizations and deaths. More than 3,100 have died in the Old Dominion, according to the latest daily report released Monday by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
Nine of those deaths came in rural Floyd County, with about 15,000 residents, but that total is about twice the toll from Montgomery County and the city of Radford, with a population of more than 115,000. But the county and city, with two universities, has more than 2,500 infections, compared to 203 for Floyd.
Medical experts say the rise in infections (and deaths) can be attributed in large part to the number of those ignoring the rules for wearing masks or maintaining social distancing.
“It’s the socialization that people are starving for,” says Dr. Molly O’Dell, who heads up the pandemic response for Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts. “People are tired of the constraints.”
Critics of those who go into public places without masks and ignore social distancing say such actions who they may also be tired of living.
Even those who follow the rules, however, can get sick. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife were diagnosed with the virus last week. Turns out a staff member at the executive mansion had the virus.
Northam, 61, pediatrician and former Army doctor, issued orders to wear masks in public, urged frequent hand washing and social distancing.
“As I have been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, #COVID19 is very real and very contagious,” the governor tweeted Friday. “We are grateful for your thoughts and support, but the best thing you can do for us — and most importantly, for your fellow Virginians — is to take this virus seriously.”
Virginia’s first couple remain in 10-day isolation at the mansion. The staff member is also in quarantine but not hospitalized.
Several other governors have tested positive for the virus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the disease of easily spread from person to person, has a long incubation period and many of those infected never display any symptoms.
News of positive tests for the Old Dominion’s governor and wife came on the same day that president Trump headlined a rally in Newport News that state and local officials said posed “a several public health threat” because it violated Virginia’s 250-person limit on public and private gatherings.
Neither Trump nor his campaign responded to calls seeking comment.