COVID-19 in Tennessee and Confusion Over Omicron

Tennessee ranks fourth worst in the nation for COVID-19 deaths. The COVID mortality rate for Tennessee is 5.9 deaths per 100,000 persons, as compared with the 2.3 per 100,000 national average. West Virginia, Arizona and Wyoming have higher death rates. The vast majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated. Over the seven-day period ending December 16, the rate of infection was 35/100,000 for the unvaccinated and 8/100,000 for the vaccinated. On December 20, 99% of new cases were among the unvaccinated.

According to USA Facts, there have been a total of 1,354,367 total cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee and 18,054 deaths, for a mortality rate of 1.3%. On December 20, there were 5,732 new cases, and 68 deaths, representing a significant increase over the previous seven-day average of 2070 new cases and 40 deaths. The CDC reports that the omicron variant now represents 73% of new cases of COVID in the United States.

Conflicting information over the omicron variant has been extensive and is causing confusion, frustration, and even anger. There have been articles reporting that omicron causes only mild symptoms. There have been articles reporting that omicron is dangerous. There have been articles reporting that the vaccines should work against omicron. There have been articles reporting that the vaccines won’t work against omicron. President Biden is predicting a “winter of death” for the unvaccinated, yet the half a billion tests he promises to Americans will be delivered only in January, after the Christmas surge. While Bloomburg reports that school closings are increasing rapidly, NBC reports that school closings are “unlikely” because of omicron, while a Harvard expert recommends that schools should never close because of COVID.

Let’s face it. Our political and health leaders and the media elites have blown it when it comes to COVID. At a time when the country really needed leadership to step up to the plate, leave partisanship behind, take a break from sensationalism, and act as one for the greater good of the country, they blew it. Political leaders politicized the pandemic in an effort to get the upper hand in the polls. The NIH and CDC were all over the board with recommendations and mandates. Media either resorted to scare tactics or dismissed the seriousness of the pandemic according to which party was in office and which party platform they favored. It’s going to be almost impossible for these people to regain the trust of the country.

None of these changes the basics of what we know about COVID and how best to avoid getting and/or spreading the virus. That has always been the same and the recommendations are simple:

  • wear a mask in large gatherings, especially if you are at risk and you don’t know if everyone is vaccinated
  • practice social distancing in public
  • wash or sanitize your hands as needed
  • take particular precautions to protect the elderly and those with co-morbidities
  • get vaccinated

Again, the concern is not simply that you might die of COVID. You probably won’t. The mortality rate is pretty low, though it is a risk and there are no guarantees, even if you’re young and healthy. The more immediate concern is the impact you will have on the healthcare system, which is already overloaded in many places, and the impact you will have on others, who may not be as healthy as you are.

COVID is not going away. We’re going to have to learn to live with it. Do what needs to be done to protect yourself and others.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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