Good morning, RVA: 4,526 • 59; vaccine clinics; and Inauguration Day

 
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By Ross Catrow. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Good morning, RVA! It’s 33 °F, and today you can expect highs in 40s. Lots of sunshine today—but that’s to be expected when a new day is dawning.

Water cooler

As of this morning, the Virginia Department of Health reports 4,526 new positive cases of the coronavirus in the Commonwealthand 59 new deaths as a result of the virus. VDH reports 602 new cases in and around Richmond (Chesterfield: 256, Henrico: 233, and Richmond: 113). Since this pandemic began, 630 people have died in the Richmond region. So, like, was there a data reporting issue or not? After skyrocketing case counts over the weekend, yesterday’s numbers have us back on that 4,000–5,000 plateau we’d been chilling on for minute. We’ll know more tomorrow, but I’m mostly going to set that question aside—partly because I’m nervous about the answer and partly because today is a new day. Instead, let’s turn to this story by Sabrina Moreno in the Richmond Times-Dispatch which fills me with hope. Moreno visited one of the region’s mass vaccination clinics, and I just want to highlight a few parts of the story (which you should definitely read in its entirety). First, about 1,000 people we’re vaccinated in a single day—at one clinic in one locality run by the Health District. That’s about a third of Ross’s Stupid-Math Daily Vaccination Goal (2,720), and, of course, doesn’t include any of the vaccinations administered elsewhere in the region or by hospitals or by the federal CVS/Walgreens partnership. Second, they vaccinated 24 people every 15 minutes. I will divide those numbers for you: That’s 1.6 people every minute! Third, I think this quote from one of the nurses in charge of running these clinics is important: “I finish every week with the goal of making sure that there’s [no vaccine] sitting in the freezer because it needs to be in people’s arms and not in my freezers…And we’ve done that.” All of that fills me with hope. While we should be realistic about the potential of a coming vaccine shortage, I feel better knowing that our region is already building the systems we need to get as much vaccine into people’s arms as we can.

I tuned in to the public comment portion of last night’s RPS board meeting and heard overwhelming support for extending Superintendent Kamras’s contract for four years. Don’t believe me? You can read through all 30 pages of it right here (PDF). If you contacted your board member, thank you. However, you’re not off the hook yet! I think another round of emails in support of a four-year contract might be necessary ahead of the next meeting. Stay tuned. Also on the schools tip, Jessica Nocera at the RTD says Chesterfield will push back it’s scheduled vaccination of teachers “after receiving only 750 doses instead of an estimated 4,000 shots.” This is the local impact of a vaccine shortage at the federal level and is undoubtably frustrating and heartbreaking for Chesterfield teachers. Additionally, the County will not push back their date to return to in-person instruction. Apparently they’d set this date before vaccination was even a possibility, but, dang, the messaging around that is tough.

Whoa. Jonathan Spiers at Richmond BizSense says Mark Olinger, Richmond’s Director of Planning and Development Review, resigned on Friday. A deputy director will serve in the interim. I mean, nothing against Olinger, but it’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of bringing in some amazing new talent when an important job like this opens up. Anyone know a young, progressive, pro-density, anti-car planner that wants to work at a mid-sized city with a lot of heart?

GRTC had their regularly scheduled board meeting yesterday, and you can watch the recording of the entire meeting here. Mostly I wanted to point y’all to the board packet(PDF) which includes the operating report that’s packed with all sorts of stats, graphs, and tables if you want to dig in. Usually I just scroll to the ridership report, which you can find on page 27. Ridership is, of course, down compared to last year (-6.74% overall), but continues to track with seasonal trends. I’ll be real interested to compare this April’s numbers to last April’s, the first full month of the pandemic.

I haven’t had time to read through it all yet, but the regional Partnership for Housing Affordability released an update to the Richmond Regional Housing Frameworkthat marks out progress made toward each its goals and solutions. For example, under Goal 4b “Transform Richmond’s aging public housing communities with resident-oriented rehabilitation and replacement”, you’ll find “RRHA has been carrying out the relocation of all seniors living in the Fay Towers site to three separate developments. 77 residents were relocated to Highland Park Senior Apartments, 72 to Jackson Place, and 51 will be moved into the Baker School project.” Now I just need a housing expert to parse through all of this and write up the what’s what!

Four years ago today, I wrote this email and linked to this Vox story about how 23% of people felt sad that Donald Trump was about to be sworn in as president. Just 23%! What a sweet summer child I was four years ago! Anyway, today is a new day, and coverage of the inaugural ceremonies begins at 10:30 AM with the actual swearing in and ending of our long national nightmare at 12:00 PM. Inauguration ceremonies and events will continue throughout the day, and Biden will even sign a stack of executive orders before dinner. It’s a new day!

This morning’s longread

Trump Is on the Verge of Losing Everything

Schadenfreude.

At noon on January 20, Trump will be in desperate shape. His business is floundering, his partners are fleeing, his loans are delinquent, prosecutors will be coming after him, and the legal impunity he enjoyed through his office will be gone. He will be walking naked into a cold and friendless world. What appeared to be a brilliant strategy for escaping consequences was merely a tactic for putting them off. The bill is coming due.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

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