Danville mayor, city officials plead community members to get coronavirus vaccine


(Photo: Courtesy City of Danville)

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday night, Mayor Alonzo Jones and other members of Danville City Council pleaded citizens to get vaccinated 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 the city council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17. “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.”

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Dr. Gary Miller said the Delta variant is affecting children now, while Councilman Lee Vogler lamented the politicization of the pandemic.

“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.”

According to Miller, he visited the intensive care unit at Sovah Health-Danville on Tuesday.

“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 not only battled the coronavirus, but lost his wife to to the virus, shared his experience again.

“To have experienced having the virus and in the process thinking you are going to die,” said Campbell. “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 discussed the surge in coronavirus cases and how it could jeopardize children’s return to the 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.”

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.”

This news comes after 53 new coronavirus cases were reported in Danville and Pittsylvania County on Tuesday, the highest jump in cases since February, according to officials. The spike in caseloads also prompted Sovah Health-Danville to impose restrictions on visitors.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists both Danville and Pittsylvania County as areas with high transmission. A community’s level of transmission — low, moderate, substantial, or high — is based on 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 Officer Bonnie Jones — who is currently hospitalized and on a ventilator at Sovah Health-Danville due to COVID-19 — and her family.

The Danville Police Department held a prayer service for Jones outside the courthouse on Tuesday.

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