This is a bad time to get complacent about COVID-19, unvaccinated people in Salem and the rest of Marion County. The Delta variant is much more transmissible. Covid cases are rising markedly nationally. Increases in deaths likely will follow.
It's beyond crazy that so many people are refusing to get vaccinated. New cases and deaths are almost entirely among the unvaccinated. Since vaccines are readily available, virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are preventable.
Why would anyone choose to risk serious illness or death when a vaccine is free, safe, and highly effective? Often the answer is misinformation and right-wing politics.
Today President Biden said that lies about vaccines on social media like Facebook are killing people. Harsh words, but he's right. If you're a Republican and haven't been vaccinated, keep in mind that the vaccines were developed during Trump's presidency.
So tell yourself you're going to get the Trump vaccine if calling it that makes you feel better.
Maybe you think that because Oregon has had one of the lowest infection rates in the country (only Hawaii and Vermont beat us among the 50 states when it comes to cases per 100,000 population), there's not much to worry about here in Marion County.
Well, for sure there's less to worry about than in a hot spot state like Missouri. But Marion County isn't doing as well as Oregon as a whole.
Almost certainly one reason is that while Governor Brown, a Democrat, has done a great job managing Oregon's response to the pandemic, the three Republican county commissioners in Marion County have largely been asleep at the wheel when it comes to encouraging mask wearing, social distancing, and getting vaccinated.
Marion County has the seventh highest all-time Covid infection rate among Oregon's 36 counties. The only counties doing worse than us are conservative eastern Oregon counties.
We're doing better when it comes to cases in the past two weeks. However, Marion County has had a 35% increase in the 14-day change, while other counties with a large population are kicking our Covid ass: Multnomah -25%; Washington +23%; Clackamas +24%; Lane -30%.
When it comes to all ages vaccination rates, Marion County at 48% is below the Oregon rate of 55%. And we suck when it comes to a comparison with the vaccination rate in other large population counties: Multnomah 64%, Washington 61%, Clackamas 55%, Lane 55%.
While grocery shopping this week, I noticed more people wearing masks in stores compared to the previous week. Probably this is due to a recognition that because of the Delta variant and rising cases, it doesn't make sense to let down our guard.
Here's how the New York Times describes the current situation in Marion County. Again, get vaccinated if you aren't already.
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