CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice led off Tuesday’s virtual COVID-19 briefing by celebrating that he had no deaths to report since his last briefing on Friday, saying he “hopes and prays it will become the new normal.”
Addressing questions about COVID-19 precautions in educational settings this fall, Justice said, “Things would have to change dramatically” for him to support a mask mandate for kids in schools. He also said that he did not see a reason to move forward with mandatory vaccinations on college campuses, as is being suggested in other states.
Despite those thoughts, the governor continued his push for state residents to get vaccinated. “It is absolutely your right(not to get vaccinated) and I’m going to respect that no matter what, but there is no question whatsoever that the more that we vaccinate, the less people will die. We know that for sure. This thing has not gone away. I am not being an alarmist.”
Justice also reminded state residents that the next set of “Do it for Babydog” sweepstakes winners will be announced on Wednesday.
When questioned about the continuing dispute over his companies’ finances, Justice asked people to wait for the full outcome, before passing judgement on the situation, telling them “my effort is wholeheartedly behind running this state as your governor.”
He also addressed the more than 2,000 jobs set to be lost when the former Mylan(now Viatris) facility shuts down in Morgantown, later this month, saying the state will “continue to work it in every way until we get a good resolution.”