Hey Everyone -
According to today's News Sentinel, active Covid cases in Knox county more than doubled in the last week from 198 on July 14 to 414 today. New cases have doubled from 20 to 44. The majority of these cases are individuals who are not vaccinated and are mostly the result of the new, more transmissible Delta variant. The director of the CDC said this week, "This is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated." Just under 49% of Knox county residents have been fully vaccinated, which is better than the state vaccination rate of 38% who are fully vaccinated and 43% who have received at least one dose.
State Senator Richard Briggs, who is also a physician, said, "To think that somehow Tennessee will be spared this next wave of the Delta variant, I think is just being very naive and being hopeful and not facing reality." Knox County Health Department lead epidemiologist, Roberta Strum, said that the KCHD is not surprised by the recent spike in cases and that cases are expected to increase.
The good news is that those who are vaccinated are not at serious risk from the Delta variant. So-called "breakthrough" infections are relatively rare, and even when they occur they do not cause serious illness. The bad news is that even the vaccinated can have breakthrough infections and can, in turn, pass the virus on to the unvaccinated. While adults have the choice whether or not to be vaccinated, no vaccine has yet been authorized for children under the age of 12, putting them at risk of infection. The even worse news is that Delta variant Covid infections among children are on the rise.
If you know someone who is not vaccinated, or if you, yourself, are not, I strongly to encourage you to click the link below and read the article from AL.com about a physician's recent Facebook post on Sunday.
The Session will be monitoring Knox county Covid cases and will determine if or when it may be necessary to reinstate protective measures in worship, such as face coverings or increased physical distancing. For now, we will continue along our path of phased easing of restrictions.
The best and safest way to avoid any changes to the easing of restrictions, and the best way to protect others, especially our families with children, is to get the vaccine. PLEASE, if you have not, go and get your Covid vaccine today.
Grace and peace...