Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know for Saturday, Jan. 30

The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now just one step away from approval for use in the United States.

The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now just one step away from approval for use in the United States. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

By Brian Carlton

January 30, 2021

COVID-19 deaths climb, officials warn against sharing vaccination cards.

Don’t Share Your Card

Don’t post your vaccination card to social media. The Virginia Better Business Bureau says you could be causing a few problems if you do.

The card contains your full name and birthday, as well as information about where you were vaccinated. As with most things, scammers can pull down that data, edit and sell it. Already, reports have come in of people trying to sell fake vaccination cards on eBay and Tik Tok.

BBB officials also point out that someone could steal your identity by combining the information on that card with material already on your social profile.

 Instead of sharing pics of the entire card, the BBB suggests just showing your vaccination sticker. Or, if you’re determined to share the card, block out your personal information.

Arlington Hits Unhappy COVID-19 Milestone

Some bad news Friday in Arlington, as the city reported its 200th death related to COVID-19. Officials reported one new death Friday and four overall in the last seven days. The Virginia Health Department data shows 11,555 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city, with 725 people hospitalized.

More than half of the city’s deaths came from people who were 80 or older. Overall, the VDH data shows, no one under the age of 40 has died from COVID-19 in Arlington. A total of 52% are from the 80 and older range, with 26% in the 70 to 70 range.

As we reported earlier this week, Arlington officials were part of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission that called on Gov. Ralph Northam for help. Simply put, when the next batch of vaccine doses comes through, the commission members want equitable and transparent distribution.

On Tuesday, the White House announced that the Biden administration worked to procure an additional 200 million doses. That means Virginia’s supply of vaccine doses will increase by 16% starting next week.

Virginia Lawmakers Sign on to Expel Greene

Rep. Jimmy Gomez of California introduced a resolution this week to expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the US House. Now two Virginia lawmakers have joined the effort.

The push to expel comes after the latest bizarre claims from Greene. She believes most of the mass school shootings like Parkland were fake. She also claims the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary was staged, while posting support on social media for executing Democratic politicians.

Rep. Gerry Connolly and Rep. Donald McEachin both signed on to the resolution Friday. As of Friday night, 44 total representatives had joined the effort.

Virginia Resident to Lie in Honor at Capitol

A Virginia resident will be laid to rest next week, but not before being honored by Congress.

Brian Sicknick, a 42-year-old Virginia resident and member of the Capitol Police, died from injuries sustained in the Jan. 6 attack.

Sicknick was defending the US Capitol building when domestic terrorists stormed it, injuring temporarily taking control of parts of the Capitol building. The attack came as Congress was voting to certify the electoral college count from the 2020 presidential election.

Sicknick’s body will arrive at the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on the East Front of the Capitol, according to information from Capitol Police. His fellow Capitol Police officers will take part in a viewing immediately after, with members of Congress invited at a separate time.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, a congressional tribute for Sicknick will take place. His body will then be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

RELATED: Northam Stretches Some Restrictions Through February

We Say Goodbye Again to Qualified Immunity Ban

The idea of qualified immunity sparked some of the most heated debates in the General Assembly last fall. Multiple Democrats have pushed to repeal the concept, arguing that people need to be able to sue individual officers.

Set up by a 1982 Supreme Court case, qualified immunity protects government officials, including law enforcement, from some liability if you feel your rights were violated. This doesn’t happen every time. Officers can still face criminal charges and you can file a lawsuit, but there are conditions.

In order to file under qualified immunity, you first have to prove a court previously ruled that it was “clearly established” the officer’s specific actions were unconstitutional. Otherwise a judge throws out the case. The proposed bill would have eliminated that protection for all law enforcement officers, making it easier to sue. 

On Friday, Del. Jeff Bourne’s (D-Richmond) bill HB 2045 died in committee by a 6 to 2 vote. In addition to Bourne, Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) supported it. Voting against the measure were Del. Jay Leftwich (R-Chesapeake), Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach), Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Scott), Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth), Del. Rip Sullivan (D-Arlington) and Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax).

Arlington County Receives Grant to Help Combat COVID-19

There’s nearly $2.3 million heading for Arlington County. The county became the first in the Commonwealth to receive a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

The award of $2,283,147.93 will help the county procure necessary items ahead of a larger supply of COVID-19 vaccines. With the funds, the county plans to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment, as well as storage supplies to properly handle, distribute, transport and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Hannah Winant works as the public affairs manager for the Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management. She noted that when the call stating that Arlington County received the grant came, local officials immediately got to work.

“We actually got the call during inauguration—so talk about rapid action from the new administration and rapid action from the state on a federal level,” Winant said. “We’re really grateful to our state and to the federal partners with whom we work who are taking really quick action to make sure localities are empowered to take the steps we need to quickly role out vaccine once supply becomes available.”

Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. You can reach him at [email protected].

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