• 86°

Summer makes a comeback after COVID

Last year was our year without a summer.
As the COVID-19 pandemic gained a stranglehold on communities not only in Northeast Tennessee, but across the nation, festivals and community events were canceled, people were told to stay home and avoid gatherings. We learned about social distancing and living in a bubble.
The novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 remains in our midst this summer, but as positivity rates drop to some of their lowest levels of the pandemic and vaccinations increase, there is hope for summer 2021. Already, some churches have had Vacation Bible School. The Covered Bridge Jams held each Saturday evening in the summer have made a comeback with big crowds. “Liberty!” was back on schedule this summer and with one weekend remaining of the 2021 season, the drama has been deemed a success.
Also, summer baseball is back, and each time the River Riders play, there is an enthusiastic number of fans in the stand at the Blackbottom park to enjoy an evening of baseball. Many of these boys of summer playing in the collegiate summer baseball league are chasing dreams of professional baseball careers.
And – though it may not be exactly like the summers of years past – it’s a start, and a sign of the brightening light at the end of the tunnel.
However, there is one thing that could make the summer even brighter. And, that is more Carter Countians getting their COVID-19 vaccinations. As of Monday, only 27 percent of Carter Countians had been fully vaccinated, which is the least number among the counties of Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Counties. As of Monday, 182,428 people or about 36.08 percent of the total population in Northeast Tennessee have been fully vaccinated.
What this means for Carter County is that there is a greater percentage of people living among us who are not vaccinated against COVID than who have received the vaccine. For some residents, attending an event like the Covered Bridge Jams may come down to personal responsibility and their own comfort level.
If you’re fully vaccinated, attending an outdoor event is fairly safe. However, for those who are not fully vaccinated, they must remain vigilant as COVID-19 is still out there.
For those who are unvaccinated, you may be putting yourself at risk especially if you do not wear a mask.
Public health officials say that if you do attend, continue to take precautions such as social distancing and washing your hands.
And, they say, if you are not feeling well, stay home
So, be safe, and have fun as summer makes a comeback in Carter County and the surrounding area.