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COVID-19 detected in United States (9 Viewers)

warneagle

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Got my first Moderna shot today. My arm is sore and my neck is a bit stiff, which is pretty much how I react to the flu shot. If anything, it's a bit less severe than the flu shot, which normally gives me a headache a few hours afterward.
 

Matthew70

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Going to be interesting with all the variants if the vaccines work. In time hopefully we will know if people that are vaccinated are also ended up in hospitals. Most likely Covid will be like the flu vaccine. Hope it hits the correct flu variant.
 

warneagle

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Yeah, any virus is going to mutate, especially one like SARS-Cov-2 that's highly infective (more replications = more chances to mutate, since mutations happen when the virus makes "mistakes" during replication). So far the vaccines have held up well and the evidence suggests they're effective against most of the current variants, although there's some evidence they're not as effective against the South African variant (but that's not a huge concern for the US at the moment).

Hopefully SARS-Cov-2 won't reach the level of diversity of the flu viruses, but even if the virus does continue to produce new variants, there will still be some benefit to vaccinating people, just like with the flu. We'll just have to wait until we have more data to know for sure.

In other news, I hadn't seen this until last night, but apparently Colombia is also doing pretty badly, with its highest numbers of cases and deaths to this point. The situation there and in India are a pretty effective counter-argument to the idea that COVID is essentially seasonal and will naturally decline in the warmer months, since those are countries close to the equator that don't have huge seasonal variations in temperature.

With respect to the Israeli case that was discussed earlier, Iraq's recent struggles are a strong counter to the idea that Israel's success is due to seasonality rather than its high vaccination rate, since Iraq is similar to Israel in terms of climate. It's obviously not a perfect analog in terms of population/demographics, but the idea that it's a purely seasonal thing that will come and go regardless of what you do in terms of policy and vaccination doesn't hold up when you look at these cases.
 

Jacob

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With respect to the Israeli case that was discussed earlier, Iraq's recent struggles are a strong counter to the idea that Israel's success is due to seasonality rather than its high vaccination rate, since Iraq is similar to Israel in terms of climate. It's obviously not a perfect analog in terms of population/demographics, but the idea that it's a purely seasonal thing that will come and go regardless of what you do in terms of policy and vaccination doesn't hold up when you look at these cases.

Iraq and Israel are pretty close on the map, but they hardly have the same climates. A better comparison would be Jordan, Israel's next door neighbor, where about half the country's population lives within 50 miles of the Israel border. They are following the exact same pattern as Israel, they are just lagging behind by 1-2 months. As of last week, Israel had given at least one shot to 62% of their population, with 58% fully vaccinated. Jordan had given at least 1 shot to 6% of their population, with 1.2% being fully vaccinated.

1619444005850.png

Magnitude of both peaks is roughly the same, the valley between the peaks is almost the same, and the rate of increase/decrease is almost the same in both countries.

Shift Israel's 2 months ahead on the chart, and you almost can't pick the counties apart without knowing which was which.

1619444137764.png
 
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Jacob

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In other news, I hadn't seen this until last night, but apparently Colombia is also doing pretty badly, with its highest numbers of cases and deaths to this point. The situation there and in India are a pretty effective counter-argument to the idea that COVID is essentially seasonal and will naturally decline in the warmer months, since those are countries close to the equator that don't have huge seasonal variations in temperature.

We had this same general discussion last year, and like other coronaviruses, we saw a heavy seasonal influence throughout the summer before a second wave that occurred in the fall into the winter. This effect is more pronounced at higher latitudes, which is why places like New York (and much of Europe) were lauded for their COVID response in the summer, and Florida bashed endlessly for theirs. Fast forward to now, and New York (and most of Europe) had a worse winter than Florida did.

I admit to not understanding the spread patterns nearly as much closer to the equator as the higher latitudes, so I'm not sure what is currently ongoing in Colombia. In general in the tropics, the spread patterns are not as pronounced by fall/summer, but more spread out through the year. Coronaviruses, flus, etc. still spread through Colombia and other similar regions every year, so I'm not sure how that proves that COVID isn't a "seasonal" virus.

India will be an interesting case to follow, and I'm going to try to find some good data sources for that area, if they exist. The situation over there is certainly bad, and in most regions getting worse, but there are a few possible bright spots, as a few individual regions might be slowing/reversing. A few possible bright spots to watch there:
  • Cases in the Delhi region have declined for the past week
  • Cases in the Chhattisgarh region might be leveling out
  • Cases in the Ladakh region have declined for over a week now (albeit, this area is sparsely populated and tested),
  • Cases in Madhya Pradesh region appear to be leveling out
  • While still climbing, the rate of increase of cases in the Maharashtra region has slowed some
That's about all the bright spots I could find across India at a glance, as most areas are increasing pretty quickly. The data from the next couple weeks in those regions listed above may tell us a lot about where things are headed in the country. Similar to how the upper Midwest increased rapidly first and fell rapidly first, I hope we start seeing some of those regions turn south pretty soon.
 

Evan

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We had this same general discussion last year, and like other coronaviruses, we saw a heavy seasonal influence throughout the summer before a second wave that occurred in the fall into the winter. This effect is more pronounced at higher latitudes, which is why places like New York (and much of Europe) were lauded for their COVID response in the summer, and Florida bashed endlessly for theirs. Fast forward to now, and New York (and most of Europe) had a worse winter than Florida did.

I admit to not understanding the spread patterns nearly as much closer to the equator as the higher latitudes, so I'm not sure what is currently ongoing in Colombia. In general in the tropics, the spread patterns are not as pronounced by fall/summer, but more spread out through the year. Coronaviruses, flus, etc. still spread through Colombia and other similar regions every year, so I'm not sure how that proves that COVID isn't a "seasonal" virus.

India will be an interesting case to follow, and I'm going to try to find some good data sources for that area, if they exist. The situation over there is certainly bad, and in most regions getting worse, but there are a few possible bright spots, as a few individual regions might be slowing/reversing. A few possible bright spots to watch there:
  • Cases in the Delhi region have declined for the past week
  • Cases in the Chhattisgarh region might be leveling out
  • Cases in the Ladakh region have declined for over a week now (albeit, this area is sparsely populated and tested),
  • Cases in Madhya Pradesh region appear to be leveling out
  • While still climbing, the rate of increase of cases in the Maharashtra region has slowed some
That's about all the bright spots I could find across India at a glance, as most areas are increasing pretty quickly. The data from the next couple weeks in those regions listed above may tell us a lot about where things are headed in the country. Similar to how the upper Midwest increased rapidly first and fell rapidly first, I hope we start seeing some of those regions turn south pretty soon.

Colombia doesn't really have seasons other than a rainy season and a dry season. The temperature is largely the same, depending upon altitude, throughout the year minus the influence of precip.

Colombia's hardest hit areas lately have been Medellin, Bogota, and Barranquilla. Each of those cities has a drastically different climate. Bogota is chilly and rainy but the rain is usually only light to moderate and dry season is December through March and June through August. Medellin is like eternal spring year round and is very rainy with frequent downpours. Barranquilla is hot and extremely humid but the precipitation largely occurs from April to December.

Cases throughout 2020 were pretty level from July to December. Nothing climatological explains the December - January peak except for the fact that Colombians are notorious to travel for Christmas. Easter is another notorious travel period (Semana Santa)

ICU beds in Bogota are at about 90% of capacity. Last time they were close to that number was around January 15th - 25th. Cases were already going back up before Easter but hospitalizations didn't start to climb at a rapid rate until post-Easter.

I would attribute the peaks in Colombia to Christmas and Easter travel as well as people who are very tired of the lockdowns. The quality of medical care in Colombia varies widely and largely depends on how wealthy you are and if you live in a large city (which most Colombians do). But, unfortunately, most Colombians are not wealthy as the wealth inequality in Colombia is extreme. You really don't want to go to a public hospital in Colombia unless it is operated by the military (in which case it is military and military dependents only).
 

Evan

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I think the easiest case to make as to why it's vaccination in Israel and even the United States is comparing Israel to Lebanon and the USA to Canada. Canada has had an extremely poor vaccine rollout and cases are just now sliding down from a recent peak that was virtually identical to their previous peak in early January. Climate cannot explain that. Until last week their case count was going the opposite direction of the USA.

Lebanon and Israel reached their peaks in mid-January maybe a couple of days apart at most. Very similar climates. Israel is now near 0 daily cases whereas Lebanon is still averaging a similar number of cases as to what they had in mid-late December.

I'm not saying climate doesn't play a role in COVID's spread. It definitely does. But it doesn't explain Colombia nor does it explain Canada and Lebanon versus the United States and Israel. The vaccine explains the latter comparison perfectly.
 

Jacob

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I think the easiest case to make as to why it's vaccination in Israel and even the United States is comparing Israel to Lebanon and the USA to Canada. Canada has had an extremely poor vaccine rollout and cases are just now sliding down from a recent peak that was virtually identical to their previous peak in early January. Climate cannot explain that. Until last week their case count was going the opposite direction of the USA.

Lebanon and Israel reached their peaks in mid-January maybe a couple of days apart at most. Very similar climates. Israel is now near 0 daily cases whereas Lebanon is still averaging a similar number of cases as to what they had in mid-late December.

I'm not saying climate doesn't play a role in COVID's spread. It definitely does. But it doesn't explain Colombia nor does it explain Canada and Lebanon versus the United States and Israel. The vaccine explains the latter comparison perfectly.

I hope vaccines are more of the reason for the fall than I'm giving them credit for, that would be what is best for everybody. I'm just cautious to jump on that train because like I originally posted on Israel, their hospitalizations are falling at the exact same rate they were last year, just a couple weeks sooner. I hope we see them fall and never come back up, and we'll get a good test on that in a couple months. I bang the seasonality drum as hard as I do because it has almost been completely ignored by the media and people that are pushing the NPI narratives, when it's been the biggest factor across the US over the last year.

I agree that Lebanon and Israel should be a good comparison, though their cases pre-vaccination don't have a high enough correlation for me to agree that the main difference in the last month or two is vaccines. Unfortunately Lebanon doesn't have good hospitalization data that I could find to compare the two.

I think a better comparison for USA vs. Canada would be bordering states vs. Canada.....

Actually, before I finish that last paragraph, I think one thing about my argument that I haven't made clear enough is the following. I'm saying seasonality is by far the biggest driver for when cases rise vs. when they fall. Vaccines absolutely can/should play a role in limiting the magnitude of surges, and can/should play a role in how low cases/spread gets during periods of less than favorable conditions for spread. In the case of Israel, I don't think vaccines had much/if any to do with them peaking in mid-January, but they certainly should be contributing to the fall and how far they fall. It would be wonderful if the reason that they started falling again after a temporary plateau in late February was because of vaccines. My biggest caution there is that the slope of the fall is about the same as last year's in Israel at this time. Similarly in the US, I don't think vaccines had anything to do with when regions rose or fell (especially those regions that peaked and fell before vaccine rollout even ramped up or started), but it should be playing a role in where we are headed over the next couple months. Michigan and Ontario surged at almost the exact same time this spring, but Michigan's peak was lower than Ontario's. I hope that was vaccine related.

If I'm right, we should see cases/hospitalizations continue to decline across most of the US through May. In the northern US, this trend should continue through June/July at least. Around the start of June we should see cases increase again across the sunbelt region, with the worst areas being Arizona, Florida, S and SE Texas, and to a lesser extent Alabama/Georgia/Mississippi/Louisiana. I really think this time period will be a very good early barometer for the level of success the vaccines will have in the USA.

As for places like Colombia, it's possible that my seasonality theory is mostly worthless in tropical regions. There's some papers on flu seasonality in those regions, but I haven't read through them (just googled them a few minutes ago) to see what conclusions they came up with.
 

Jacob

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We had this same general discussion last year, and like other coronaviruses, we saw a heavy seasonal influence throughout the summer before a second wave that occurred in the fall into the winter. This effect is more pronounced at higher latitudes, which is why places like New York (and much of Europe) were lauded for their COVID response in the summer, and Florida bashed endlessly for theirs. Fast forward to now, and New York (and most of Europe) had a worse winter than Florida did.

I admit to not understanding the spread patterns nearly as much closer to the equator as the higher latitudes, so I'm not sure what is currently ongoing in Colombia. In general in the tropics, the spread patterns are not as pronounced by fall/summer, but more spread out through the year. Coronaviruses, flus, etc. still spread through Colombia and other similar regions every year, so I'm not sure how that proves that COVID isn't a "seasonal" virus.

India will be an interesting case to follow, and I'm going to try to find some good data sources for that area, if they exist. The situation over there is certainly bad, and in most regions getting worse, but there are a few possible bright spots, as a few individual regions might be slowing/reversing. A few possible bright spots to watch there:
  • Cases in the Delhi region have declined for the past week
  • Cases in the Chhattisgarh region might be leveling out
  • Cases in the Ladakh region have declined for over a week now (albeit, this area is sparsely populated and tested),
  • Cases in Madhya Pradesh region appear to be leveling out
  • While still climbing, the rate of increase of cases in the Maharashtra region has slowed some
That's about all the bright spots I could find across India at a glance, as most areas are increasing pretty quickly. The data from the next couple weeks in those regions listed above may tell us a lot about where things are headed in the country. Similar to how the upper Midwest increased rapidly first and fell rapidly first, I hope we start seeing some of those regions turn south pretty soon.

Just a small update on India, the Delhi region again reported a sizeable drop in cases. I know nothing of their # of tests or how reporting is over there, so this could simply be a testing bottleneck, but I hope this is indeed representative of what is occurring there.

Screenshot_2021-04-27 TOI Coronavirus Live Tracker How India is fighting coronavirus Updates, ...png
 

Evan

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I hope vaccines are more of the reason for the fall than I'm giving them credit for, that would be what is best for everybody. I'm just cautious to jump on that train because like I originally posted on Israel, their hospitalizations are falling at the exact same rate they were last year, just a couple weeks sooner. I hope we see them fall and never come back up, and we'll get a good test on that in a couple months. I bang the seasonality drum as hard as I do because it has almost been completely ignored by the media and people that are pushing the NPI narratives, when it's been the biggest factor across the US over the last year.

I agree that Lebanon and Israel should be a good comparison, though their cases pre-vaccination don't have a high enough correlation for me to agree that the main difference in the last month or two is vaccines. Unfortunately Lebanon doesn't have good hospitalization data that I could find to compare the two.

I think a better comparison for USA vs. Canada would be bordering states vs. Canada.....

Actually, before I finish that last paragraph, I think one thing about my argument that I haven't made clear enough is the following. I'm saying seasonality is by far the biggest driver for when cases rise vs. when they fall. Vaccines absolutely can/should play a role in limiting the magnitude of surges, and can/should play a role in how low cases/spread gets during periods of less than favorable conditions for spread. In the case of Israel, I don't think vaccines had much/if any to do with them peaking in mid-January, but they certainly should be contributing to the fall and how far they fall. It would be wonderful if the reason that they started falling again after a temporary plateau in late February was because of vaccines. My biggest caution there is that the slope of the fall is about the same as last year's in Israel at this time. Similarly in the US, I don't think vaccines had anything to do with when regions rose or fell (especially those regions that peaked and fell before vaccine rollout even ramped up or started), but it should be playing a role in where we are headed over the next couple months. Michigan and Ontario surged at almost the exact same time this spring, but Michigan's peak was lower than Ontario's. I hope that was vaccine related.

If I'm right, we should see cases/hospitalizations continue to decline across most of the US through May. In the northern US, this trend should continue through June/July at least. Around the start of June we should see cases increase again across the sunbelt region, with the worst areas being Arizona, Florida, S and SE Texas, and to a lesser extent Alabama/Georgia/Mississippi/Louisiana. I really think this time period will be a very good early barometer for the level of success the vaccines will have in the USA.

As for places like Colombia, it's possible that my seasonality theory is mostly worthless in tropical regions. There's some papers on flu seasonality in those regions, but I haven't read through them (just googled them a few minutes ago) to see what conclusions they came up with.

Well, I think we've discussed this some in the past, and I don't remember exactly where we left it, but my take is that although seasonality plays a role, some of the data correlation you see is really more about how people cycle their behavior in response to weather, rising cases, media attention, lockdown fatigue, etc.

Sure, UV exposure, RH, and temperature impact the survivability and spread of COVID. And I know you would absolutely agree that weather conditions definitely influence people's behavior in a given area as it pertains to activies that are more/less likely to transmit/spread COVID. For example, after a period of several weeks with cold temps and heavy snow, if there's a few days or a week with a nice thaw and sunshine, people's behaviors are going to change massively as far as what they do, where they do it, and how they do it.

Similarly, I think that event calendars throughout the year vary substantially on what activities are performed and where (inside vs outside and activities conducive the warmer or colder weather). Clearly COVID disrupted this, but most states kept fairly similar profiles in what they allowed and when/how with a few outliers here and there.

My point is that the climate variable, IMO, is more about how different climates and different periods of weather drive changes in human behavior and activities versus any impact on the virus itself and the virus' own behavior. The latter still is influenced by climate and weather but we shouldn't see such large variations between states who've had extremely similar weather for the past several months and share as very similar geography and climate.

As an example, why in the world has Ohio and Indiana not looked anything like Michigan for the period of March - yesterday? Looking at its surrounding states, there's not really a state anywhere around Michigan that has had similar case increases/decreases over the same time period. You could say Minnesota and Pennsylvania line as far as the shape of your case count changes on a graph but the slope and trajectory of cases in those states are a fraction of what happened in Michigan. A little odd, no?

To expound a bit further, we can also look at states that border Canada. I'm sure you're very familiar with how the population is distributed in Canada. Border crossings and population movement between Canada and the United States (excluding Vancouver) are going to be 95%+ Ontario/Quebec into Michigan/New York.

I found a COVID graph for the 5 counties of Western NY surrounding the Buffalo area (2nd busy USA/Canada crossing site after Michigan).

5 Western NY counties: https://buffalonews.com/news/local/...cle_261f0820-dcb5-11ea-9ade-d3e35b30860b.html

Michigan: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/michigan/

Canada: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/

It is stunning how similar Canada and Michigan have been this year until vaccine rollout increased in the USA. The western NY map is not quite as heavily correlated but still looks more similar to Michigan and Canada than all the states in Michigan's region. No state in the Midwest has that kind of aggressive slope that Michigan has. But the western NY counties get close and Canada is just dead-on similar. Thus, my point is that the reason Michigan and the Western NY counties are seeing such a quick and sharp drop is because of better vaccination rates. Canada's numbers are slowly decreasing at a much lower rate of change.

It's just a theory. I would expect Michigan and the 5 western NY counties to be somewhat similar due to climate/weather and Canada border crossings. I think the border crossings and Canada's lower vaccination rates is a plausible explanation for why Michigan and the 5 western NY counties looked more like Canada than any place in the United States until recently. Just a hypothesis. I may be totally wrong.
 

Jacob

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Appreciate the discussion, I'll try to give a detailed response later. I think we are pretty close in where we feel vaccines play a role, but disagree on how much to attribute to human behavior vs. natural factors.

Quick comment on comparing Canada to Michigan, I like to look at Ontario as opposed to Canada as a whole. Ontario was almost a full month behind Michigan in their winter peak, Michigan peaked around December 1st, Ontario peaked around January 11th. It would make sense that Michigan is dropping faster than Canada now if they are a bit ahead of the curve. I do agree that in theory vaccines should make the rate of decrease faster in Michigan, but we'll just need another few of data to really be able to compare.
 

Matthew70

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Looking into these numbers they do not seem to correlate to what is happening in MI and other states. Even here in TN we are 47th yet our cases are not elevated. TN has pretty much been wide open like FL for quiet awhile. Yesterday our governor stripped the health depts of their ability to mandate masks. Thankfully the wearing masks is finally coming to an end. Hopefully schools follow suit since it is clearly shown in statistics that kids do not really get sick or die from Covid. Also if one is vaccinated it really is stupid to have to wear a mask. I say leave it up to the individual if wants to wear a mask or get vaccinated. Will be interesting where the % will be when the vaccinations start slowing from people not getting them. WV governor yesterday is now offering a $100 for people to get the vaccines. Reason is they are coming to a crawl on people wanting vaccines. Wonder if they will start giving money every year to get Covid vaccines? I know publix offers $25 to get flu vaccines.
 

Matthew70

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I do have a question that I have not seen discussed lately. The more covid mutates does it make it more severe or less severe? The Spanish flu became less severe over time correct?
 

gangstonc

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Looking into these numbers they do not seem to correlate to what is happening in MI and other states. Even here in TN we are 47th yet our cases are not elevated. TN has pretty much been wide open like FL for quiet awhile. Yesterday our governor stripped the health depts of their ability to mandate masks. Thankfully the wearing masks is finally coming to an end. Hopefully schools follow suit since it is clearly shown in statistics that kids do not really get sick or die from Covid. Also if one is vaccinated it really is stupid to have to wear a mask. I say leave it up to the individual if wants to wear a mask or get vaccinated. Will be interesting where the % will be when the vaccinations start slowing from people not getting them. WV governor yesterday is now offering a $100 for people to get the vaccines. Reason is they are coming to a crawl on people wanting vaccines. Wonder if they will start giving money every year to get Covid vaccines? I know publix offers $25 to get flu vaccines.
Tennessee is 5th worst as far as number of cases per million people. I would say the number of cases there is pretty bad considering the population density.
 

warneagle

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It's hard to say whether future strains would be more or less virulent than the current ones. We'll just have to wait and see, since the virus is still actively spreading and mutating and there are probably variants that already exist that we don't even know about yet.

Obviously natural selection favors any strain that's more infective (the ability of a pathogen to pass from one host to another and establish an infection) since it would be able to spread and reproduce more easily, and there is some positive correlation between higher infectivity and higher virulence (the ability of the pathogen to cause damage to a host). Some of the new SARS-Cov-2 strains that we've seen, like the UK and South African variants, as well as the more recent Brazilian variant, seem to follow this pattern.

(Of course, there are counter-examples: the common cold viruses, including some coronaviruses, are highly infective but not highly virulent, while HIV is highly virulent but not highly infective, and both have been very "successful" pathogens.)

In theory, there's an optimal balance between virulence and infectivity, because if a pathogen kills the host too quickly, then it won't have enough time to replicate and the host won't spread it, but a more virulent pathogen can also divert more of the host's resources to reproducing itself, which would allow it to spread more effectively. The traditional idea was that this balance meant mutations were self-limiting, but unfortunately more recent research shows it's more complicated than that.
 

KoD

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I do have a question that I have not seen discussed lately. The more covid mutates does it make it more severe or less severe? The Spanish flu became less severe over time correct?
Mutations are random so both can happen but those that benefit the virus are the ones that will propagate the most. Variants that are more contagious are the most likely outcome to uncontrolled/rampant spread. The mortality is less important for a virus that isn't outrageously deadly, but as we discussed viral septicemia is the most dangerous part of the infection and getting immunized is extremely effective at preventing that.
 

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Would never know it’s bad here. News hardly mentions it and everything is pretty much open full capacity. Masks are probably worn by 30% if that. Older people definitely are not wearing. It’s mainly younger people. Governor did away with mask mandate. I don’t see TN reaching even 50% vaccinated. I had a customer today he and his wife took the vaccine. He had no issue but his wife was down 3 days. He said he would take it again. His wife said absolutely no way. She’s done with even a booster. Same with my mom who is a cancer survivor and 72. She said no more vaccine for her. Strange how it affects some and not others.
 

gangstonc

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Would never know it’s bad here. News hardly mentions it and everything is pretty much open full capacity. Masks are probably worn by 30% if that. Older people definitely are not wearing. It’s mainly younger people. Governor did away with mask mandate. I don’t see TN reaching even 50% vaccinated. I had a customer today he and his wife took the vaccine. He had no issue but his wife was down 3 days. He said he would take it again. His wife said absolutely no way. She’s done with even a booster. Same with my mom who is a cancer survivor and 72. She said no more vaccine for her. Strange how it affects some and not others.
I was just going based purely on statistics.
 

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