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Justice again says we’re near Delta peak: Get vaccinated, get the booster

MORGANTOWN — A few of the COVID numbers dipped back downward Wednesday and Gov. Jim Justice expressed some optimism.

“We think we’re at the peak level,” he said. “There’s absolutely every reason to believe we’re right at the eye of the storm.”

Mandates — vaccine and masks — remain off the table. “Do we want to absolutely fragment us even more and more?” he asked. “All I can possibly do with a good conscience is to continue to urge you in every way to get vaccinated.”

That includes boosters. “We need a run on the bank,” he said.

Active cases stood at 13,344, continuing to taper downward again after last Thursday’s spike. Hospital cases are also down, from 1,012 Friday to 974 Wednesday. Ventilator cases took a dip from 195 Saturday to 187.

But, reflecting the expected general lag between active cases dropping and a drop in hospital demand, ICU cases hit another record, with 298.

With Pfizer vaccine boosters now OK’d for most people who are six months past their second shot, COVID-19 czar Dr. Clay Marsh again emphasized their importance. He cited Israel, where awareness of the slow decline of the Pfizer vaccine and the need for the boosters first arose.

There, he said, since the boosters have been offered, the unvaccinated make up 17% of the population, but 60% of those in hospitals.

In West Virginia, as of Wednesday according to the Department of Health and Human Resources, there have been 11,808 breakthrough cases, reflecting all fully vaccinated residents; there have been 172,756 COVID cases since vaccinations began, and breakthroughs make up 6.84% of those cases.

Joint Interagency Task Force Director Gen. James Hoyer talked about the need for people to get educated on the vaccines. In that light, The Dominion Post raised the issue of all the misinformation floating around on social media — about such things as the virus really being exosomes produced by the body, about Pfizer killing T-cells, about mail-order ivermectin.

We mentioned how hard it is to have a civil conversation between people who disagree because it gets so emotional.

Hoyer said they often talk about that with Justice. “We’ve just got to continue to keep to the grindstone and put out what is accurate scientific and medical information and try to be civil in our discussions with individuals.”

Hoyer brought up the appearance of Linda Lanier at a briefing earlier this month to tell the story of her 40-year-old son Joey Goodnite, an MMA fighter who didn’t get vaccinated, got COVID, has been in the hospital for a couple months, and regrets his choice. Others will also be appearing at future briefings.

“We’ve got to tell the story,” he said, “of those people who have experienced the devastating impact of what this virus can do to them and their families to make sure people understand the value of what is available to us with the vaccine.”

Justice talked again about the fine line he walks. “We want to be respectful to others, do we not?” he said. “We don’t want to get in a food fight with somebody. …. Both sides have merits.”

He brought up the conversation he had recently with the head of Johns Hopkins’ infectious disease division. The doctor told him, “The number-one problem we have across this land is social media today. Because social media distorts everything all the time.”

People get anxious, Justice said, and make the easy choice, which is to just say no.

He offered an illustration of someone walking down a sidewalk who slips off and gets hit by a car. They’re lying in the road with their leg bleeding. Your response is probably going to be to call a doctor. “If you’re out there on the road bleeding, you’re not screaming for an update on Facebook.”

So, he said, if you want accurate information about the virus and the vaccines, “just talk to your doctors, just talk to the people that know. … And then make a decision.”

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp EMAIL