Journalist’s Notebook: A Divided House | Newspaper



I feel bad for Speaker of the Senate Craig Blair and Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw. I can only guess how Hanshaw is feeling right now, but I can attest that Blair is tired right now as he tries to keep the Republican Senate caucus together on the COVID-19 issue.

I saw Blair hours after leading Senate Republicans at a press conference last Tuesday that aimed to show caucus members united despite differing opinions on certain aspects of COVID-19. But instead, the press showed divisions even among Republicans over COVID vaccines and what lawmakers should do regarding possible terms.

It appears most members are against President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandates for federal employees, federal contractors, and companies with more than 100 employees. It also appears that most Republican senators are behind a state effort to ensure that monoclonal antibody treatments are available more quickly to those infected before they become so symptomatic as to be. require hospitalization.

It is more or less that. Blair has confirmed that there aren’t enough votes in the 23-member Republican supermajority to call for a special session (they need 21 votes out of 34 on the Senate side). Some of the Senate Republicans at the press conference admitted that there weren’t even 18 votes (just a simple majority) needed to pass any kind of legislation dealing with vaccination warrants, mask warrants or passports. vaccine.

As it turns out, a survey sponsored by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and conducted by North Star Opinion Research in the first week of September found that 67% of those surveyed said employers should make decisions about vaccines instead. than the Legislative Assembly, with 18% disagreeing.

You have your more moderate Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, who are strong supporters of the vaccine, even though they think people and businesses should be given a choice to get the vaccine. Then you have State Senator Mike Azinger who thinks the vaccine is a danger, believes that companies should not be allowed to force their employees to be vaccinated or require proof of vaccination for customers, and don’t think local school boards should be allowed to require masks in schools.

Takubo and Azinger represent the wings of COVID-19 opinion in the caucus, with other caucus members taking intermediate positions. Once again, it appears that not everyone present at this press conference is in agreement on all issues. While the goal of trying to show a united front was laudable, that is not how it came to be. Do not believe me ? The video is now on the State Senate YouTube channel.

It can’t be an easy task right now for Blair and Hanshaw, trying to keep their caucuses together and not be led by either fringe members or the minority of the public who agree with that fringe.

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Ultimately, the majority of eligible West Virginia are 60% fully vaccinated. It might not be a landslide, but it’s not a slim majority either. At least 74.2% of eligible West Virginia have at least one dose of the vaccine. That leaves 25.8% of eligible West Virginia unvaccinated – 402,449 West Virginia. Some of these West Virgins are filling our hospitals and clogging up our morgues.

Former Republican State Party Leader Melody Potter pointed out a few weeks ago on Steam Release on WV MetroNews Talkline that the media must share the number of COVID-19 cases recovered. I guess she thinks pointing out that many people survive COVID will show it’s okay.

Okay, there are 185,033 recovered cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia on Wednesday while there are 28,773 active cases in the state as of that day. So what? Here’s a number for you: There have been 2,214 total COVID-19-related deaths since vaccines were available last December, of which 95.02 percent of those deaths were unvaccinated.

As of Thursday, we have 107 intensive care beds statewide to treat serious COVID-19 infections. Guess what? It also means that we only have 107 intensive care beds to treat any other serious injury or condition. Today, we had a total of 1,153 inpatient beds available on Thursday, and hospitals are able to convert a regular bed to an intensive care bed if needed. But it’s not like flipping a switch.

More than likely if you have a loved one with a heart attack they are going to be shipped across the state if not in another state and guess what? Our neighboring states have the same problems. All because 84% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 are not vaccinated and 90.9% of intensive care beds are occupied by unvaccinated people infected with COVID.

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I’ve been told that some members of the Senate Republican caucus were unhappy with Takubo’s appearance last Monday at Governor Jim Justice’s COVID-19 briefing. Takubo is a doctor, a pulmonologist specializing in respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. He has been actively fighting for people’s lives since the start of the pandemic.

At Monday’s briefing, he simply told the truth: He didn’t admit anyone to hospital due to reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine. This does not mean that there cannot be some: all drugs have problems. But so far, Takubo’s experience with the vaccine is that it is safe and effective. While he favors phasing out monoclonal antibody treatments faster, he wants more people to get vaccinated, so they don’t need treatments in the first place.

It is sad that a factually accurate statement by a lawmaker employed as a doctor, based on his frontline experience, draws criticism from other lawmakers. Guess it’s a good thing they don’t have the numbers to act on a special session.


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