A note to our readers

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We have a really personal message for our readers today.

Please get your COVID vaccine if you haven’t already done so. You don’t want to come down with this even once if you can avoid it, and you really don’t want to catch it multiple times. Trust us— we’re dealing with yet another round of the coronavirus in our household right now.

Our entire family has been vaccinated and we’ve kept up with our boosters, which of course doesn’t prevent anyone from getting infected but rather reduces the illness’s severity. That fact is both scary and deeply comforting. It’s frightening because of how miserably sick we are even with the vaccines (fevers of 102.5, violent body aches, coughing, etc.), and comforting because the vaccines have probably kept some of us out of the hospital, or worse.

Since the pandemic started, there have been an estimated 148,685 cases in Knox County, with 1,519 deaths. Incredibly, only 64.21 percent of our community has bothered to get even a single inoculation, and only 59.3 percent of our community is fully vaccinated, according to data from our Health Department.

Those statistics are appalling. In our family alone, COVID has cost us weeks in bed, wads of cash, and two of us had already been diagnosed with so-called “long COVID.” Keep in mind that’s with us being fully inoculated — God only knows what the cost to the entire community has been in terms of lost productivity, income, and long-term health costs. Or how much lower that cost might have been had more people taken the simple precaution of getting a few shots.

Please get vaccinated. Please.

In the meantime, we plan to keep publishing Hard Knox Wire through this illness. We can’t go out and physically cover stories, and we might not be physically up to writing as much as normal, but we’re going to publish as much as we can. Please be patient with us — hopefully we’ll be back on our feet soon.

Thanks,

J.J. and Jenna Stambaugh