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Editorial: Misguided Rally Taking Place on Wednesday

“Federal and Commonwealth officials are recommending at least a 14 day period of declines in positive tests before baby steps are taken to re-open businesses. It’s the height of selfishness not to follow this basic benchmark. One person’s desire for a haircut shouldn’t cost someone else’s life.”

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On Wednesday a group plans to exercise their Freedom of Speech rights to protest the current Federal and Commonwealth guidelines in the fight against COVID-19. Protesters will be driving around the Capitol grounds, honking their horns in an effort to pressure Governor (a medical doctor) Northam to lift the mandatory business closures that are in place. The rally coincides with the Legislature’s one day Veto session.

This rally is being promoted by Senator (not a medical doctor) Amanda Chase who just happens to be running for Governor.

The rally has provided talking points for the protestors if contacted by the media. Simple logic, which is not likely to be found at the rally, shows how this event is misguided and, frankly, dangerous.

  1. “Government Coronavirus projections have proven markedly inaccurate, as evidenced by them being continually revised downward” – Projections are a fickle beast. They’re never going to be perfect. These projections were also impacted by the shut-down and social distancing efforts.
  2. “Even at the Coronavirus peak, in such hot spots as New York City, the predicted hospital bed and ventilator shortages did not materialize, and hospitals remained well below capacity.” – This is a good thing and shows that efforts taken can and will work. There are several analogies bouncing around the internet, my favorite is, “The parachute is slowing my descent, I can take it off now.” Let’s wait until we land before we cut the cord, shall we?
  3. “Due to the Governor’s orders, hospitals are not allowed to perform ‘non-essential’ procedures. Patients needing cancer surgery, joint replacement, and other vital hospital services are unable to receive them.” – This is true. However, if we get another spike from – I don’t know – gatherings of people protesting gatherings and business closures will stretch on even longer.
  4. “ALL jobs are essential. The costs of the Governor’s economic shutdown far outweigh the short-term Coronavirus benefits, in the Commonwealth.” – Yes, all jobs are essential. But having your customer base or employees continually getting sick or dying will not be beneficial for anyone’s bottom line.

As of this morning, 300 people have died in the state of Virginia as a result of COVID-19. People are dying at an unprecedented rate. As of this morning 41,114 deaths in the United States and 165,939 worldwide. The United States is leading the world in deaths by this disease.

The good news is that today was the third day in a row the number of people testing positive has declined, but even that comes with a caveat. The number of those tested reached 56,735. Without more extensive testing we have no way of knowing how many asymptomatic folks are in the community. This is not the time to relax our guard. This fight isn’t over and we certainly haven’t won. Federal and Commonwealth officials are recommending at least a 14 day period of declines in positive tests before baby steps are taken to re-open businesses. It’s the height of selfishness not to follow this basic benchmark. One person’s desire for a haircut shouldn’t cost someone else’s life.

There is no denying the economic and psychological cost is immense, but we can and will get through this if rational minds prevail.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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Crime

City of Richmond declares State of Emergency due to “credible threats” related to planned protests

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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The City of Richmond and Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration has declared a State of Emergency for the city due to what officials call “credible threats” of violence related to planned protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.

The declaration follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a statewide State of Emergency, which allowed the administration to send National Guard troops and State Troopers to Washington, D.C. to help with security, logistics, and other immediate needs following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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Business

Family of local freight and transportation company makes $2 million donation to children’s hospital construction project

The Children’s Hospital Foundation’s matching campaign effectively will double the gift to $4 million.

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A local freight and transportation provider has made a major gift towards the construction of the forthcoming Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU expansion. In addition to the company’s gift of $150,000, Estes family members committed $1.85 million to support the Wonder Tower, the new home for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s inpatient, emergency, and trauma services.

The two donations from Estes Express Lines and the Estes family were matched by the Children’s Hospital Foundation, maximizing the total investment in the Wonder Tower to $4 million. As part of the capital campaign to raise $100 million, the foundation is matching the first $25 million in gifts from the community.

“The support of Estes Express Lines and the Estes family is extremely meaningful. We’re grateful they’ve added their voice and support to our mission to build a world-class pediatric hospital in Richmond,” said Lauren Moore, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Foundation. “They’re truly a values-focused company and family, and their gifts reflect the importance they place on protecting children and their childhoods.”

“We are a family-owned business that’s had the honor of working with thousands of Richmond-area families for nearly 90 years,” said Rob Estes, president and CEO of Estes Express Lines. “Children deserve the best possible medical care when they need it, and we’re proud to support Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, as a company, and as a family.”

As part of the donation, some areas of the Wonder Tower will be named in honor of Estes, including the hospital’s loading dock, a nod to their work as a freight carrier business. The gift includes additional recognition of the family’s generosity throughout the building.

Once complete in spring 2023, the Wonder Tower will bring world-class pediatric facilities to Central Virginia. Located in downtown Richmond, the 16-story tower will be home to CHoR’s Level 1 pediatric trauma center, emergency room, inpatient units, new operating rooms, increased imaging capacity, and family amenities — all in an environment created just for kids and their loved ones.

“The children’s tower is being built for and by our community thanks to generous friends like the Estes,” said Elias Neujahr, CEO of CHoR. “It will be a beacon of hope for kids and families across the Commonwealth while helping us attract and retain top talent so our children have access to be the best care, close to home.”

In 2021, Estes Express Lines will celebrate its 90th anniversary as CHoR finishes its centennial year. “Let’s all come together to support the Wonder Tower, a special place where all families and children can receive exceptional pediatric care, right here in Richmond,” said Estes.

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