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Editor Paul Osborne

     Why is the vaccination rate so low in Macon County? It’s a little over 42% at this stage. I received information from Emily Lamb, a Public Relations Specialist for QuoteWizard by LendingTree, LLC, with the latest update on its vaccine hesitancy report. Lamb stated: “Our analysts reviewed the main reasons people aren’t getting vaccinated. In Illinois, those reasons are:

65% are worried about side effects

28% don’t believe they need it

35% are waiting to see if it’s safe

40% don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines

40% don’t trust the government

21% don’t think COVID-19 is a threat.

    “The numbers won’t add up to 100% because each person gave several reasons for not getting the vaccine.”

     Although the report is about our state, I think the information in the report is pretty close to the reasons that I’ve heard why people are not getting vaccinated in Macon County. Despite FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, many people remain skeptical that getting vaccinated is a positive virus prevention procedure. It will be interesting to see if President Joe Biden’s plan to defeat COVID-19 and its variants, as delivered to the public on Thursday, makes any impact on the vaccination rate in Macon County and beyond.

     • GOOD NEWS — The Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County (EDC) and the City of Decatur joined The Atkins Group on Friday to announce the construction of Cardinal Warehouse and distribution facility, on Decatur’s northeast side. The 635,000-square-foot facility will be developed at 4250 North Commercial Crossing in the city’s logistics corridor. It will mean 75 new jobs for the community. (More details about the facility can be found on page 22 of this week’s print edition.) The Atkins Group, a family-owned business based in Urbana, has real estate holdings consisting of residential, farm, industrial, office and commercial properties. TAG currently invests and manages real estate properties in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and California.

     • I DON’T think Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent “mask mandate” is working in reducing COVID-19 infections — at least in Macon County. Some businesses have posted signs indicating, due to the mandate, everyone (vaccinated or unvaccinated) must wear a mask indoors in the place of business. I had to pick up an item in a place of business a few days ago and the place had two signs on the front doors — both indicating that everyone needed to be wearing a mask while in the place of business. I was wearing a mask and I must have really looked out of place. None of the cashiers or employees of the store and none of the customers wore a mask! Actually, I saw more local mask compliance a year ago than I do now.

     Whether a person wants to get vaccinated, or not, they could at least wear a mask when around other people not only to avoid getting infected but to not infect other people. The “political divide” on vaccination and/or wearing a mask and social distancing continues to be reflected in the numbers coming in from health departments and hospitals all over the nation. It’s no accident that infection and death numbers from COVID-19 and its variants continue to rise — especially in counties with low vaccination rates compared to the rest of the nation. If we had the unity of purpose that we had 20 years ago following 9/11, the wretched impact of COVID-19 would be greatly diminished.

     I think President Joe Biden’s new program to fight COVID-19 with “mandatory” plans is only further dividing our community and the nation over the virus.

      • NICE to still have the Farmer’s Market going strong in Central Park every Saturday. I walk from the office to the park each Saturday in order to buy some fresh vegetables. The Farmer’s Market should be going strong until the end of October when it will be over for this year and I will miss it. Your favorite vendors will be across the street from their usual places in the park this Saturday because the annual Art Fair will be in the park this weekend. It’s nice to see the Art Fair returning to its usual status in Central Park.

     • OUR COMMUNITY was certainly a part of the observance marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our nation. Thank you to all who planned and participated in those meaningful events at the 9/11 Memorial in Nelson Park, the 13th Annual Cruise 11 to Remember 9/11 and several other area events to remember that day that changed this nation’s history.

     I was also able to watch via Zoom a panel discussion presented by Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Internation-al Studies on “Afghanistan from 9/11 to Present: Where Do We Go From Here?” What made it even more interesting was that one of our sons, Retired Colonel Craig A. Osborne, was one of the panelists involved in the discussion. Craig was involved in deployments to Afghanistan so it was interesting to hear his thoughts on the subject.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. for the City Hall Insider every Thursday morning at 7:00.

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