First month of 2021 on track to be deadliest in pandemic for Tennessee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It may be a new year, but the pandemic is still very real as the month of January is on track to be Tennessee’s deadliest month yet.

Nashville resident Anthony Hayes said he can attest COVID-19 is very real, after losing three of his family members within three weeks just before the holidays.

“I lost my brother, my mother and my aunt a week apart from each other. So it’s been kind of hard because during the Christmas holidays everything, it’s always at my mom’s house,” Hayes told News 2.

Hayes mother was almost 70 years old, his aunt was in her 60’s, and his brother — a custodian for Williamson County Schools — was 52.

They are just three of the more than 8,100 Tennesseans who have died due to COVID-19 complications since the pandemic began in March.

Almost 30 percent of those deaths happened in December, but the alarming part here is the pattern:
in the first 11 days of 2021, we’ve had nearly 400 more deaths than the first 11 days of December.

“The fact is people are dying; it’s a small percentage, and that is somewhat comforting, but that small percentage of a lot of people is still a lot of people,” Dr. Todd Rice with Vanderbilt University Medical Center told News 2 Wednesday.

While vaccines are here, it is evident for those on the frontlines that this pandemic is not over yet.

“It’s a little surreal because the vaccine is there, and I’ve been vaccinated, but, you know, when I go to work our numbers are just completely out of control,” Rice explained. “I think it just emphasizes that while New Year’s is over, and while the vaccine is here, you know, we see the effects of actions from weeks ago that are starting to hit us in the hospital, and we think we’re going to see this for a couple weeks.”

“These parties that they show on television, with all these hundreds of thousands of folks,” Hayes said. “It’s ridiculous. Wear your mask; it’s not hard.”

The good news here is that the majority of people do recover. The Tennessee Health Department reports 88 percent of Tennesseans have recovered from the virus.

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