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Dark COVID-19 Days Ahead in Winter, Governor Jim Justice Warns

Gov. Jim Justice said Monday he wants residents to know the virus will get worse before it gets better. Exacerbating the situation is the approach of colder weather and more people being indoors. (Photo Courtesy Of W.Va. Governor’s Office)

CHARLESTON — The COVID-19 pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better with cold weather coming, the governor of West Virginia warned Monday.

People are going to be inside more, according to Gov. Jim Justice at his Labor Day online pandemic briefing.

“I personally believe that we’ve got more bad days in front of us than good right now,” Justice said.

Two things can happen, he said. The state will reach the peak of the virus fueled by the delta variant, then drop relatively soon, Justice said.

“Or what is more apt to happen is just this,” Justice said. “It’s going to get colder and as it gets colder we’re going to be more in confined areas and it’s going to get worse.”

The state has 21,500 active cases and many are going to die with colder weather approaching, the governor said.

“The colder it gets the more apt it’s going to be a bigger problem than it is today,” he said.

The solution is to get vaccinated, said James Hoyer, who is in charge of the joint interagency task force on vaccines. Hoyer said the numbers will continue to rise in West Virginia while they may drop across the country.

“The only way to work our way out of a bad outcome is vaccination,” Hoyer said.

Justice said local governments are in the best position to impose mandates. Boards of education which do not require masks can be voted out of office, Justice said.

“Local people should be making the very best decision,” he said.

Fifty-nine schools in 26 counties have outbreaks, Justice said. Nineteen schools are closed and 30 county school systems have imposed a mask mandate, he said.

Children should be wearing masks indoors and everyone of age should get vaccinated, said Dr. Ayne Amjab, state health commissioner.

“Going along with those lines, too, it is a decision at the local level and also at parent level, too. So, everything the governor just said we can’t disagree with that,” she said. “But children at that age indoors should be wearing masks.”


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