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Vaccinations open the door for normalcy

This week, Carter County finally reached the 30 percent mark for COVID-19 vaccinations. That’s a big step in the right direction. But, that’s not good enough as 70 percent of our population is still not vaccinated.
As of Friday, the number of new vaccine recipients in Northeast Tennessee had increased by 37 percent over the past week and 89 percent over the past two weeks.
However, Carter County over the past seven days has had 206 new cases of COVID. New cases in Northeast Tennessee have increased by 166 percent over the past two weeks and by 1,095 percent over the past month.
Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 334 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths in Northeast Tennessee. That is the highest daily case increase since Jan. 16.
According to Tennessee Department of Health statistics, over the last seven days, Carter County has had a daily case rate of 52.2 cases per 100,000 residents per day. Over the past 14 days, the rate has been 22.6 new cases reported per day. For the 14 days prior to that, the average was 6.5.
Over the past seven days the positivity rate has been 23.1.
Some cities and states have used encouragement incentives. Ohio, for example, raffled off five $1 million gifts — real life-changing money — to inspire its residents into getting their shots.
Some places have chosen to cajole and threaten punitive measures to get people to get the vaccine.
We hope in Carter County, common sense will be the guiding principle.
The Carter County Health Department continues to offer the vaccine as well as testing. Also, all pharmacies in town offer the vaccine, so, it’s easy to get the shot.
The delta variant has thrown a monkey wrench into a pandemic we thought had been controlled earlier this summer. Now, we’re seeing the number of COVID cases on the rise nationwide, thanks to the variant, which is said to be far more worse than its predecessor.
The good news is that it doesn’t seem to be nearly as dangerous to anyone who has been vaccinated. That said, we’ll continue to urge anyone who has yet to be vaccinated to do so.
Football season is just around the corner and we know many are anticipating it. We urge everyone to be cautious.
Employees in many businesses are being cautious by wearing masks, and they are urging customers to do so as well. If you feel the need to wear a mask, then by all means, do so.
The vaccine and masks are your way of protecting yourself — and those around you. It’s your way of ensuring that school gatherings and sporting events that make like more enjoyable continue.