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Unvaccinated people are 5 times more likely to be infected and 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19

Of course we have a new wave of infections; one where the US collected an additional 171,000 cases on Friday and 1,761 deaths. Florida and Texas led the way once again as Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott continue their head-to-head race for America's worst governors. However, you are facing stiff competition from someone who hasn't gotten nearly as much press – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

Tennessee is home to this school, where men followed a doctor into the parking lot and threatened his family because the doctor had the boldness to simply testify and answer questions for school board members. That school, Williamson County, was out of service all last week after so many children and staff became sick with COVID-19 that classes became impossible. Good job there.

But that's not all. In a hearing earlier this week, Governor Lee's ban on school masks went on trial after parents of immunocompromised students sued the state for putting their children at risk. As reported by the education website Chalkbeat, the prosecutor argued that schools should use "creative planning" to ensure these children can attend classes without encountering children anxious to spread disease freely. Of course, schools have no problem rescheduling classes and rescheduling students depending on who is wearing a mask on a given day or not.

It is this kind of creative thinking that has resulted in such a surge in COVID cases in the state of the Volunteer (Sick) that Tennessee has actually moved to the top of the group when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases Population goes. For a long time the Dakotas hung there along with Rhode Island, which was struck in the first eruption, but now Tennessee is ahead. A whopping 16.5% of people from Tennessee have now tested positive for COVID-19, and with a nationwide positive rate of 21%, there's no doubt the number can still grow.

But DeSantis is not that easy to get fired. Florida has also advanced (literally) ahead of North Dakota, now holding second place with 16.1% of the state's population testing positive. In terms of raw numbers, it's no competition, Florida had 3.4 million cases versus 1.1 million in Tennessee. Still, it seems the Sunshine State may have a little trouble getting to the top of the sickest state charts, as its positivity rate has dropped to "only" 14% and is actually vaccinated much higher than Tennessee.

With only 43% of the state's population vaccinated, multiple counties under 30%, glowingly positive attitudes, and Bill Lee pointing out terrible policies, there's a good chance Tennessee could keep the crown as America's sickest state. Congratulations. I guess.

In any case we are here. So take the CDC picture above, cut it out, keep it in your pocket, and wave it to anyone you know who may not be vaccinated. Unfortunately, with 36% of Republicans still saying no, there are many options.

There really shouldn't be any need for Joe Biden to strap someone down and stick a needle in their arm to accomplish this. Common sense should be much, much more than enough. The well-known problem with common sense, however, is how unusual it can be.

Oh, and while the 5x better odds than the unvaccinated are great, wear your mask on.

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