Yes, the pandemic is ongoing. Yes, the pandemic is ongoing in Tennessee. Yes, teens remain at risk of death from the virus. None of this is nearly as upsetting to state lawmakers as the thought that a teenager somewhere in the state might be able to get vaccinated even if their QAnon-humping, anti-vax, in-this-house-we-die-for-Dear-Leader parents are trying to withhold the vaccine in order to score Internet Points in conversations with fellow Buck Turgidsons.
Once again, we’re seeing what now seems to be an inevitable shift in the pandemic. It is becoming a Republican-spread disease, one that is being tamped out in heavily Democratic regions even as it runs rampant in Republican-held states. That dynamic is not likely to last, however; with each new outbreak, the odds of the virus mutating into something that can evade existing vaccines increases. Diehard Trump conservatives may be the incubators of the next pandemic phase, but will not be its only victims.
If you know a Tennessee teenager, or are perhaps vaguely aware of the presence of Tennessee teenagers, you might take this opportunity to remind them that they can be vaccinated against a deadly disease with serious long-term health risks for free, and without parental permission, because the state Supreme Court already decided that nearly two decades before they were even born. That said, they may not have the option for long. The typical behavior of the Mop Sink Mob when they learn that somebody, somewhere has been practicing unauthorized hygiene or reading from the Forbidden Tomes Of What Our Laws Is is to hastily pass new laws banning whatever it is that’s sent them into the latest paranoid spasm. Tune in next week when the state’s Republicans insist that nobody can be vaccinated without their parents’ permission unless they are at least 70 years old and are on a first-name basis with the wait staff at their closest diner.