Home Coronavirus Video: Gov. Northam Gives COVID-19 Briefing That, Hopefully, Won’t Be as Eventful...

Video: Gov. Northam Gives COVID-19 Briefing That, Hopefully, Won’t Be as Eventful as Last Wednesday’s…

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Last Wednesday, Gov. Northam was in the middle of his weekly COVID-19 briefing – his first in weeks – when all hell broke loose at the U.S. Capitol. So…needless to say, it was kinda hard to concentrate on the COVID-19 situation in Virginia. Anyway, let’s hope this week’s briefing won’t be nearly as eventful. See below for video and highlights.

  • Northam reviews Virginia’s vaccination plan. Want to get up to 25k Virginians/day “as quickly as possible” and eventually to 50k/day. We’re currently are getting about 110k vaccine doses per week.
  • We want every vaccinator to administer vaccine doses as fast as possible. Focus on priority populations, but we also want vaccines in arms.
  • Only a handful of states have given more doses than Virginia has, and they’re bigger than we are. Virginia has distributed 100% of the vaccines we’ve received to 160 vaccination sites across Virginia.
  • We have 8.5 million people. At two shots each, that’s 17 million shots. So “Virginia needs everyone to move faster.”
  • Grateful for partnership with hospitals. In recent days, seeing a new attitude from federal partners, able to work much more closely with them. A better federal partnership and support will help all the states.
  • In Virginia, we’re following CDC recommendations. About half of Virginia now eligible to receive the vaccine; this is a major logistical challenge and will take a while. Everyone will need to be patient. We’re moving faster every day. Vaccinations clinics are well run and very efficient. We need people to get the vaccine; it’s our only way out of this pandemic.
  • Virginia Medical Reserve Corps is doing great work – “we need you to help,” so please volunteer if you have medical experience or want to help with logistics.
  • Vaccines are how we get back to a “near normal,” the “light at the end of a long and dark tunnel.” Encourages everyone to get vaccinated. “Your turn is coming – and soon.”
  • Wayne Turnage – former Chief of Staff to Gov. Tim Kaine and now Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Resources and Director of Department of Health Care Finance at District of Columbia – speaks about the importance of 60%-70% of the population being vaccinated. Also talks about many African Americans having a “justifiable mistrust” of vaccinations, due to an “egregious history” of “medical experiments once implemented in the Black community.” Despite this, Turnage attests to the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines proven by “rigorous experimental research study designs.” The current COVID-19 vaccines are safe – “no chance that these vaccines will transform into the actual virus and make you sick.” Once you get vaccinated, you have <5% chance of getting COVID, and basically zero chance you’ll become deathly ill. The benefits of the vaccine are “exceedingly clear” and clearly outweigh the risks. So please get vaccinated, it will literally save your life.
  • Gov. Northam says we want kids back in school. So later this afternoon, Dept. of Education will be issuing new guidance for how schools can reopen safely.
  • Gov. Northam talks about threats of violence to state capitols and security leading up to next week’s inauguration. Says violence has no place here or in Washington. Free speech is a value we all hold dear, but violence is something else entirely. We WILL have a peaceful transition of power next week. Met with National Guard earlier this week. We want them back home safe and need them back to help with vaccinations, etc. If you’re planning to come here with ill intent in your heart, “you need to turn around right now and go home – you are not welcome here and you are not welcome in our nation’s capital.” If you DO come here and act out, “Virginia will be ready.” Law enforcement is working in close coordination.
  • Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney: “Richmond is aware…prepared…planning for weeks for the upcoming lobby day.” Earlier this week, declared state of emergency in Richmond. Goal is respect the right to peacefully demonstrate and to safeguard health and safety of Richmond residents. We all have a right to be heard, but also to be safe and free from fear and intimidation. “Let me be clear – the violent, lawless insurrection and assault on democracy and its institutions that unfolded last week in Washington, DC will not be tolerated in the city of Richmond…We will protect the city…” We expect full cooperation and respect for our new laws, including gun laws.
  • Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran – we are taking all necessary measures to ensure the work of our General Assembly proceed safely and without interruption. Will also protect people’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Unified command to handle security for Monday, January 18 Lobby Day in Richmond. Preparations began weeks ago. Public can expect to see an abundance of law enforcement personnel throughout the city. They are well prepared for rapid response if an incident occurs. Those who are planning violence will not be tolerated.
  • Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins – currently over 2,400 National Guard members supporting security efforts in D.C. Many of the Guard members had to muster in the middle of the night, in a matter of hours…it’s a testament to the strength of National Guard members. The Guard isn’t just supporting law enforcement, but also vaccination efforts. Their purpose is to be always there and always ready for the Commonwealth.
  • Northam – “all 50 capitals in this country are potentially under attack this weekend and during inauguration.” “We take that seriously” and will be prepared.
  • Northam says “all options are on the table” for putting in place new COVID-19 restrictions. Says restrictions are already in place. This pandemic is in the hands of Virginians – we know what works.
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