State Watch

W.Va. Gov. frustrated over vaccination rate: 'We just are going to keep lining the body bags up'

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) expressed frustration with his state's vaccination rate, warning constituents that people are either going to get inoculated against COVID-19 or "we just are going to keep lining the body bags up." 

Justice made the comments during a COVID-19 news briefing on Friday, during which he implored West Virginians to get vaccinated. He said that 74 people had died in the state since Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, today we have an overwhelming amount of deaths. Seventy-four people died. Seventy-four more people have died since Wednesday," Justice said.

"And they'll keep dying. That's all there is to it," he continued. "We just are going to keep lining the body bags up, and we're going to line them up and line them up."

The governor's grim comments comes as the state deals with a surge in coronavirus infections following early success in rolling out vaccinations.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 2,320 new coronavirus infections on Friday as well as 57 deaths.

There were total 29,744 current active cases of coronavirus in the state as of Friday. According to West Virginia MetroNews, the number of active cases represents a new peak, topping 29,257 active cases reached in January.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40.1 percent of the Mountain State's total population has been fully vaccinated. The state lags behind the nation's total vaccination rate of 54.4 percent.

Justice said he doesn't think that vaccines should be mandated. However, he issued a warning that more people would die until enough people get the jab. 

"At the end of the day, we're going to do one of two things," Justice said.

"We're going to run to the fire and get vaccinated right now, or we're going to pile the body bags up until we reach a point in time to where we have enough people that have natural immunities and enough people that are vaccinated," he said. "Now, that's all there is to it. I would really highly encourage you to get vaccinated."

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