In Louisiana, where just 36.5 percent of residents have been vaccinated for COVID-19, the state’s Department of Heath held a noon media update yesterday to announce 4,032 new cases of the disease had been reported in the state within the last 24 hours. Think about that; it's incredible. Further, 20 died on Monday alone as a horrifying “perfect storm” is spreading across the South after slamming Florida.
The recipe? Mix one part of the delta variant, then slowly stir in the states with the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Lastly, apply the abandonment of social distancing, hand washing and masks. While the South has been as steady as a big rock in a shallow pond, the cry “enough is enough” is a symphony to evil ears.
There is a willful aversion to any more laws or even thoughts of the hurricane of a killer. But COVID is spreading like wildfire.
I can also tell you what you’ll learn from the COVID dashboards at Johns Hopkins, USA Today, and the NY Times are not fake. This is very real. And, while I am hardly a soothsayer, what is about to happen in Tennessee is as treacherous as it can be. At Tuesday’s noon presser in Louisiana, it was noted the average number of cases in Louisiana is now 11 times greater than just a month ago, and double what it was just last week.
Worst of all, this disease isn’t about to let up. Outside of taking the vaccine, we must return to our masking in public, hand washing, distancing all in a no-touch zone.
“If this was a bus accident on the interstate, 20 people dying would be horrific,” said Tulane University epidemiologist Susan Hassig. “We’ve just kind of become inured to that ultimate impact, unfortunately.” (“inured” is a “learned word” that means, “accustomed to something, especially something unpleasant.”)
We have relaxed our awareness to fending off the disease, have quit wearing face masks and social distancing, and only 39 percent of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated. Such a laissez-faire attitude towards vaccinations and a lack of awareness will doubtlessly get some Tennesseans killed in the coming weeks and months
It is so bad that in Mount Juliet, Tn. (about 20 miles east of Nashville), pastor Greg Locke of the Global Vision Bible Church is vehement in his belief the whole coronavirus scenario is a great big lie. “If you show up wearing a mask, I’ll ask you to leave. I’m tired of playing Democratic games up in this church.” Locke said in a way that has attracted national news outlets. “The pandemic is “fake,” the death count is “manipulated,” and the vaccine is a “dangerous scam” in what he proclaims.
Locke’s church is a big red-and-white circus-like tent and he speaks from the tailgate of a pickup truck. In May he boasted he wasn’t getting the vaccine and said, “I discourage everybody under this tent to get it.” The latest figures from the Tennessee Department of Health show that 95-to-98 percent of the most recent hospital admissions are those who are not vaccinated. Yet Locke is adamant. He doesn’t believe “the delta variant nonsense. Stop it.”
A year ago, he announced his church would remain open and that people didn’t need to distance or wear face masks. “I don’t care if they send the military … roll up in here with tanks …ladies and gentlemen we are staying open,” he said at one point, “and at another he added, “We are packed to capacity …. they will be serving (Wendy’s) Frosties in hell before we shut this place down, just because a buck wild, demon-possessed government tells us to.”
Perhaps the Rev. Locke should visit Louisiana to see what’s coming. Yesterday it was announced 169 people had been admitted to hospitals overnight and that, statewide, there are now 1,390 people inpatient with COVID diagnosis. That is the largest number since Feb. 1, 2021, when 1,440 hospitalizations set the record. The February numbers were from the third surge of the virus since it first slammed the U.S. in March of last year.
Locke also said on Sunday, “I don't need to be ‘a Jerk for Jesus’, but I’m not going to kowtow down to a wicked godless culture.”
It has been discovered the fourth surge - delta variant - is three times as potent, this from skyrocketing hospital admissions, and is two times as contagious as the first disease. “Nobody expected to see these numbers one week after we warned people the surge was starting,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, the chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. “This virus is just much more of a beast than we have seen before.”
Louisiana and Florida hospitals have both issued warnings that elective surgeries and other medical procedures may need to be postponed because the delta-fed COVID is so overwhelming and so fast. This fourth surge has increased hospital caseloads three times as fast as the original COVID and, to date, 610,000 Americans have died in the last 14 months.
According to the Johns Hopkins dashboard, Tennessee has had 8,789 cases in the last seven days, an increase of 88.7 percent from the week before. There have also been 53 deaths, an increase of 140.9 percent in the last seven days. Happenstance? Not hardly.
In almost every instance when a patient is admitted, each former holdout eagerly asks for the vaccine and is told it is too late. The vaccine, you must understand, can only repel the virus once it is in a healthy body. We are going to get an eyewitness account of the new variant of COVID in the new few weeks. I cannot urge our readers with a greater conviction in my heart … get vaccinated today because, well, -- just watch …
Hamilton County is on the very brink of getting clobbered.