Rant for Dec. 9: A tale of two Zooms:
- It was painful Tuesday morning to watch several Rome city commissioners who fought a mandatory mask decree in July suddenly see the light and espouse steps to likewise enlighten others as coronavirus continues to take a very heavy toll here. Their voices were needed months ago to stem, not fuel, doubts and rebellious attitudes. Look where that has us today.
- But another Zoom meeting Tuesday evening, a virtual gathering of members of One Community United, truly soothed the soul. It was filled with “thank yous” and acknowledgements of how members had helped one another — especially churches — during the pandemic. There was praise for those who worked to keep local protests peaceful following a summer of social injustice. There were jokes about the sudden immersion into digital preaching as churches emptied to avoid spreading the virus. One preacher kidded about going outside to perhaps share The Word with the dogs and cats. Individually and collectively, One Community United members expressed nothing but gratitude for having made it through one of the toughest years ever — with a lot of help from their friends. In short, it was … redemptive.
Rant for Dec. 7: We can’t wait another day to crack down on coronavirus. In seven days, our five-county area recorded 793 new coronavirus cases. Floyd counted 282 positive tests through Saturday; Bartow County, 265. “It’s very troubling and we’re very worried,” said a stoic Dr. Gary Voccio, director of Northwest Georgia Public Health. And for good reason:
- Our hospitals are flooded with COVID patients: 69 in Floyd Medical, 39 in Redmond Regional and 30 in AdventHealth/Gordon. At Cartersville Medical Center, 24 COVID patients were being treated on Thursday after a spike of 39 over Thanksgiving (Daily News-Tribune). That’s 162 patients in four area hospitals at the end of last week.
- Those free health department tests, which had dropped in recent months, are now at 1,000 a day if the weather is good. Two of those paid “rapid test” sites had no appointments open today and no in-clinic tests were available Sunday or today.
- Our public schools are seeing quarantines rises and new cases increase even as CDC standards are moderated.
- Unmasked: As well-intended as area retailers have been about “masks required” signs on their front doors, they’re not being followed or enforced. As for stores and restaurants opting out of Rome’s mask requirement… we’re opting out of them.
The Rome City Commission has stepped up — and is expected to do so again on Tuesday — but needs help. Just look at some of the photos included on Facebook of indoor sporting events and political rallies. The County Commission meets Tuesday and needs to move on from the party-and-politics spin while it has a chance to save face — and lives. Our school systems must think very hard about attendance overall in these last days of the semester — and especially at indoor sporting events.
Our prognosis for Christmas is bleak while January and February look dreadful even with the first doses of vaccine reportedly on the way. Our healthcare system, especially those trying to save the lives of those exposed by others or their own inaction, can’t take much more.
The community needs to make those hard calls, and now, to give us a fighting chance this winter.
Agree or disagree? What to do: The Floyd County and Rome City boards of education meet this week. So does the Floyd County Commission. Let them know by emailing the following (and, if you’d like, CC or BCC us):
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Rome Board of Education:
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Floyd County Board of Education:
- Dr. Tony Daniel Tonydaniel@floydboe.net
- Chip Hood Chiphood@floydboe.net
- Dr. Melinda Strickland Mstrickland@floydboe.net
- Jay Shell Jshell@floydboe.net
- Danny Waits Dannywaits@floydboe.net
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Rant of the Day, Dec. 2: We won’t even try to top the Rant of the Year by Gabriel Sterling of the Secretary of State’s Office who’s had it with threats to many involved in the 2020 elections process. Trump. Perdue. Loeffler. Any other spineless elected official too afraid to take a stand — federal, state and local. Tough words but words the state and nation heard on Tuesday afternoon. He called all standing silent as being complicit — and he’s right. He’s our nominee for Person of the Year.
- We have one more job for Sterling while he’s at it: The pandemic. The state, and particularly Northwest Georgia, need his passion and his rage to snap people to attention. With a record 112 people in Rome hospitals, 25 new positive tests are local schools reported Tuesday, outbreaks in our nursing homes and a keen watch on a “surge upon the surge” following Thanksgiving, a clear, enforced message has to go out. What people don’t understand is that our healthcare workers who are left trying to save stubborn lives or those put in harm’s way by others are beyond the edge. Lose them and we’re all in trouble.
Rant of the Day, Nov. 27: Thanksgiving with the runoff candidates. From the morning news shows through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade into NFL football and we think even during back-to-back replays of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, we had regular visits from Kelly and Raphael and Jon and David. The candidates in the two U.S. Senate seats on the Jan. 5 took no holiday from the broadcast ads, most being attack pieces allow Warnock continues to produce the year’s most clever pitches. They were tiring and probably needed to take a break from an already stressed audience. But then we questioned why, the challengers especially, didn’t take the nuclear option. Our suggestion:
A simple, mostly silent “narrative” if you will, showing empty chairs around the Thanksgiving table. The focus on missing friends, either because of fears of spreading the pandemic or reflecting the 8,716 people who have lost their lives since March. Imagine the camera slowly sweeping around the table, chair after chair left empty, perhaps with an empty plate and utensils in place. Some of us didn’t have to imagine that scenario on Thursday. The message to TV viewers would have ended with this: Remember those whose callous comments and overall inaction played a part in why those chairs were empty.
Rant of the Day, Nov. 26: Amid the pandemic and politics, a pantry offering food and hope: We shared the post below on our Hometown Facebook group on Tuesday, complimenting the Davies Shelters for another great idea. What we didn’t expect: The flood of comments, shares and emojis the original post would spawn. Even more critical: the outpouring of support helping “to solve food insecurity in our community.” Thanks something to be very thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Rant of the Day, Nov. 25: When it covers to COVID, state leaders are ‘running on empty.’ Within minutes of a mostly useless media briefing by the governor Tuesday afternoon, word came of two more passings of Floyd County residents, the latest victims of coronavirus. These two were casual, older friends, faces we’d seen over the years. Once again, these were names, not just another set of numbers to record and report. And yet even as Washington called on Georgia to get aggressive in controlling the virus, as the state once again acknowledged Northwest Georgia remained in a “high transmission” zone, the governor’s call was passive sound bite — but without any bite whatsoever. “I don’t see any reasons to take any additional steps right now,” was the quote attributed to him and posted by the AJC. Our best analysis is to label him as another “empty suit” but we don’t want to offend the pants or jacket. Once again, politics over pandemic.
Rant of the Day, Nov. 24: Dr. Gary Voccio is scheduled to meet with Floyd County commissioners this afternoon to update them on the state of the pandemic in our area. We have recommendations on how to “improve” this session:
- Surprise Voccio and the community by making masks a must in unincorporated Floyd County. What’s now in place — “recommendations” and some PSAs on social media — obviously aren’t working. Floyd County recorded 430 new cases in the two weeks ending Nov. 23. The positivity rate: 12.6% vs. Georgia’s average of 9.7%
- Pledge additional county resources to helping Voccio and all healthcare interests battle the virus. Our healthcare workers are paying the price for lax enforcement; on Monday, 88 coronavirus patients were in Floyd, Redmond Regional hospitals. That’s a pandemic record.
- Follow the city of Rome’s example in limiting public exposure at key face-to-face county offices and moving more services online.
Bottom line: Put the pandemic, and the commmunity, ahead of politics.