TN COVID: Its a rural problem driven by low vaccination rates

Julian Fry
2 min readSep 6, 2021

What’s behind Tennessee’s rise to the number 1 COVID hotspot in the country? The data might surprise you, it surprised me. I had thought the rise was consistent across the state. The answer is rural populations. Counties with populations greater than 200,000 have, so far, fared better than those with smaller populations.

Marion county has the highest rate of new case creation expressed per capita — and its population is close to 30,000. It also has one of the lowest fully vaccinated rates in the country — just 34%. (However even the best counties are only 54% fully vaccinated.)

To put that in context — Davidson County — population 700,000 has one third the rate of Marion County.

Not surprisingly counties adjacent to hotspots fare worse.

Higher cases lead to higher fatalities. Here are those counties with an average of more than 10 fatalities per million per day

Notice the incredibly low vaccination levels in these counties:

Here’s a link to the NY Times stats for TN — they do a great job

Time to bunker down…. the current rate of case increase in these areas with extremely low vaccination rates is adding stress to an already heavily stressed hospital system.

Undoubtedly this is going to get worse in Tennessee in the near term

Originally published at on September 6, 2021.



Julian Fry

I’ve always been logically driven. I like to think I look at things broadly and draw observations that may not be represented by main stream media.