Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee to be the next governor of Virginia, can expect renewed scrutiny of his grasp on the effects of COVID-19 on his state, and the policy responses those effects warrant.
On Monday, his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin, unveiled a new digital ad hitting McAuliffe for his misleading pandemic-related claims.
In various media appearances, McAuliffe alleged that Virginia had exceeded 8,000 new coronavirus cases on September 27, September 28, and October 4. The real totals for those dates were 2,916, 2,711, and 2,084 cases.
McAuliffe went even further in his fearmongering, stating that on October 7 in Virginia, 1,142 children were in ICU beds. In truth, only 460 Virginians of all ages were sitting in intensive care units due to COVID that day.
“Terry McAuliffe’s campaign is built on spreading lies and sowing fear,” Youngkin campaign spokesman Christian Martinez said in a press release. “McAuliffe either has no clue what is going on with the pandemic, didn’t bother to check, or is happy to spread misinformation about COVID if he believes it will help him further his political career. Whatever the truth is, it’s disqualifying.”
McAuliffe has attacked Youngkin in the past for opposing vaccine mandates, misleadingly casting him as anti-vaccine. During the final debate between the two candidates on September 28, McAuliffe incredulously asked “He’s going to send a child to a school where a teacher’s not wearing a mask and a teacher’s not vaccinated?”
Youngkin responded by noting that “I’ve gotten the vaccine; my family has gotten the vaccine. It’s the best way for people to keep themselves safe. And I in fact have asked everyone in Virginia to please get the vaccine,” but arguing that he didn’t “think we should mandate it.”