Of the dozen states with the worst numbers of COVID cases per capita, Tennessee is #5. In the last 2 weeks, Tennessee has experienced an increase of 144% in daily cases and 105% increased hospitalizations in the same period. Deaths are up 75%. Tennessee seriously lags the country in vaccinations; just 40% of adults are fully vaccinated. And, as usual, the counties with the lowest vaccination rates, also have the lowest aggregate IQ. These people are morons. How do I know? These are the counties where, after 4 years of showing what he is, Trump got his best electoral results. watch the correlations:
Moore Co.- 17% fully vaccinated (Trump- 81.6%)
Grundy Co.- 19% fully vaccinated (Trump- 82.0%)
Macon Co.- 22% fully vaccinated (Trump- 85.3%)
Clay Co.- 22% fully vaccinated (Trump- 77.9%
Cannon Co.- 22% fully vaccinated (Trump- 79.1%)
Smith Co.- 23% fully vaccinated (Trump- 78.8%)
Sequatchie Co.- 24% fully vaccinated (Trump- 80.7%)
Lake Co.- 24% fully vaccinated (Trump- 73.3%)
Fentress Co.- 24% fully vaccinated (Trump- 85.2%)
Jackson Co.- 25% fully vaccinated (Trump- 77.4%)
Hancock Co.- 25% fully vaccinated (Trump- 86.4%)
Bledsoe Co.- 25% fully vaccinated (Trump- 82.1%)
Weakley Co.- 26% fully vaccinated (Trump- 75.7%)
Chester Co.- 26% fully vaccinated (Trump- 78.5%)
Lewis Co.- 26% fully vaccinated (Trump- 79.8%)
Lawrence Co.- 26% fully vaccinated (Trump- 81.9%)
Lauderdale Co.- 26% fully vaccinated (Trump- 63.3%)
Union Co.- 26% fully vaccinated (Trump- 83.7%)
These people don't know how to protect themselves from a deadly disease... nor from an autocrat. Let me ask you, should people in these counties be voting on matters that effect normal people all across the country? The Tennessee House has 99 members. There are 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats. Yesterday, Associated Press reported that "All 73 Tennessee House Republicans signaled their support on Wednesday for a special session to limit the authority of local officials to make rules aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, as lawmakers fumed over mask requirements in a handful of school districts. House Speaker Cameron Sexton sent the letter signed by his whole caucus to Republican Gov. Bill Lee."
Sexton represents backward Cumberland County. Cases there have risen 180% in the last 2 weeks and hospitalizations are up an unimaginable 1,174% in the same period. Still, just 38% of Cumberland's adults are vaccinated. The county was an enthusiastic backer of Señor Trumpanzee-- 78.0%. I'm sure they adore Sexton. He is them; they are him.
"The request," wrote reporters Jonathan Mattise and Kimberlee Kruesi, "came the day after a nearly four-hour acrimonious school board meeting in affluent Williamson County, south of Nashville, over mask mandates. Many attendees opposed to mandates frequently disrupted the proceedings before officials voted to implement a temporary mask mandate for elementary school students, staff and visitors. One person was escorted out by deputies, and dozens of other parents walked out in support."
Sexton’s letter described in vague terms what could be on the table for a special session, which still is not certain to happen.
“We believe there is a need to curtail the overreach by independent health boards and officials, confirm a parent’s right to make decisions that impact the mental and physical health of their children, provide support and direction to schools to ensure educators are properly compensated for COVID-19 leave, and protect all Tennesseans from misdirected mandated designed to limit their ability to make their own decisions,” Sexton wrote.
He wrote that lawmakers also need to evaluate the practice of some businesses requiring proof of vaccination to enter their buildings, and “other issues related to COVID-19.”
...Sexton’s push against school mask requirements has drawn criticisms from advocates who say he’s putting children at risk of getting sick and spreading the virus. Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons tweeted Wednesday that he applauds the counties that “acted on recommendations of medical experts rather than the threats of politicians.”
Tennessee students are retuning to school amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, particularly among the unvaccinated. Currently, children under the age of 12 do not qualify for the vaccine.
...Only a small handful of schools have elected to adopt a mask mandate as Tennessee’s vaccination rates remain among the lowest in the country.
...U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who is from Williamson County, tweeted support for the mask opponents at the meeting, thanking conservative personality Clay Travis and “the dozens of Tennessee parents for standing up for common sense.”
“No masks for kids!” Blackburn tweeted.
The governor has resisted implementing a statewide mask mandate for schools, instead choosing to leave the decision to local officials.
Dr. Sheldon Jacobson is a professor of computer science at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He applies his expertise in data-driven risk-based decision-making to evaluate and inform public health policy. Yesterday he penned an OpEd for The Hill, urging that those who refuse to be vaccinated pay a price, which is what is happening in other countries. "Just under one in five adults remain COVID-19 vaccine-resistant," he wrote. "Anytime a person consciously or unconsciously decides to avoid something, they are weighing the balance between risks and benefits. Those who have forgone the vaccine due to hesitancy have decided that the personal vaccine risks outweigh the personal vaccine benefits. But vaccines are more than just about the individual. They are a public good. Childhood vaccines have demonstrated this role and benefit for decades, with numerous diseases that they prevent and lives that they save. If a person chooses to not be vaccinated against COVID-19, this begs the question: Should there be a price to pay?
Health insurance is pooled risk. If people opt-out of getting vaccinated, they are willingly exposing themselves to risks that those vaccinated are not assuming. As such, should they be paying the same health insurance premiums for their coverage? There is a precedent for differential health insurance costs, which exists between smokers and nonsmokers.
One way to manage this in the short term is to have unvaccinated people immediately be required to pay a higher deductible for any care that is primarily due to COVID-19. Cruel? Perhaps. But COVID-19 is cruel, and anyone who does not take precautions to protect themselves and others is being cruel-- even unintentionally.
He suggests the same approach to life insurance costs. A friend of mine in Paris told me that things are getting back to normal for vaccinated people. Museums and restaurants and bars are open again-- but only with vaccine passports. The rapidly shrinking numbers of unvaccinated people cannot use public transportation but they don't need to since they can't get in anyplace. 56% of French people are fully vaccinated and 67% have had at least one shot. "France," reported the Associated Press, "is now requiring people to show a QR code proving they have a special virus pass before they can enter restaurants and cafes or travel by plane, train or bus across the country. The measure is part of a government plan to encourage more people to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot and slow down the spread of the virus... The measure has already been in place since July for cultural and recreational venues like concerts and sports arenas." In some areas it is also in place for shopping malls.