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Mayor Alonzo Jones and other members of Danville City Council pleaded Tuesday night for citizens to get inoculated against COVID-19 amid a surge in cases.
“I don’t understand why it is such a battle for people wanting to take care of themselves,” Jones said at last night’s meeting of the City Council. “Here we have something (a vaccine) that can help us, but because of the politics we are willing to risk not only our lives but the lives of the kids.”
His comments followed comments from Vice Mayor Dr. Gary Miller and Councilman Lee Vogler.
Miller said the Delta variant is affecting children now, while Vogler lamented COVID has been politicized.
“There are folks who are big supporters of our current president, and there are folks who are big supporters of our previous president,” Vogler said. “There’s probably not a lot of things that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have in common, but there’s one thing they do have in common, they both got the vaccine. I think everyone should get it.”
Miller said he visited the intensive care unit at Sovah Health-Danville earlier in the day.
“There are 14 people on a ventilator. Twelve of them have COVID-19. None were vaccinated,” Miller said. “Anybody that doesn’t think we have another crisis has their head buried in the sand.”
Councilman Sherman Saunders talked about citizens expressing theological excuses against getting the vaccine.
“'God will provide,’ yeah, God gave you common sense too," Saunders said.
Councilman Lawrence Campbell, who battled COVID and lost his wife to COVID, again shared his experience.
“To have experienced having the virus and in the process thinking you are going to die. You can’t breathe. You can’t walk. … I don’t know why I am sitting here. Honestly, if anybody should be alive, it should be my wife. … My wife was a holy lady.”
Campbell added, “You (those who remain unvaccinated) are going to play around with life and death when you have an opportunity to not only protect yourself but your family and friends? We know what is going down. This is serious.”
Councilman Barry Mayo talked about the surge in COVID cases and how it could place in jeopardy the return of children to the school classrooms.
“It is almost a begging moment to ask the parents who have not even thought about taking the vaccine to look at how serious of a situation this is,” Mayo said. “… What is it going to take to say, “I need to do this (get the vaccine).’ Don’t fool yourself.”
Mayor Jones agreed, saying, “I want to encourage everybody to do what it takes, if not for you, then for your kids. I don’t see schools staying open if it (surge in COVID cases) keeps going like it is.”
On Tuesday, there were 53 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Danville and Pittsylvania County. That number was the highest since February. The spike in caseloads also prompted Sovah Health-Danville to impose restrictions on visitors.
The Centers for Disease Control lists both Danville and Pittsylvania County as areas with high transmission. The CDC uses a four-tiered system to measure a community’s level of transmission: low, moderate, substantial, and high.
A community’s level of transmission is based on just two metrics: new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people and the positivity rate, both measured over the last seven days.
Council members also offered their thoughts and prayers to Danville police officer Bonnie Jones and her family. Jones is hospitalized and on a ventilator at Sovah Health-Danville because of COVID.