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Feelgood story of the day: Ohio lottery winner says it was the lottery that finally convinced him to get vaccinated

To cleanse the palate, my favorite news item of the week — and not just because people winning the lottery always makes for the warm-and-fuzzies. It’s because this dude is exactly whom one would want to see win a vaccine lottery. Watch, then read on.

Not only is he working-class, he was still in his Amazon uniform when he greeted the press after getting the news. And he wasn’t some vaccine enthusiast who was always going to get his shots whether there was money at stake or not. He was open to being immunized, he says, but couldn’t get motivated to make time given his long work hours. That’s a surprisingly common problem among vaccine holdouts; some are militant anti-vaxxers but many are just busy and either can’t get off work or can’t block off a day for side effects in case they experience them. It was the lottery that finally convinced Jonathan Carlyle to make it a priority. Now he’s a millionaire (well, thousand-aire after taxes) who’s looking to buy himself a big, COVID-free house.

How many infections were prevented by him getting vaccinated when he did, cutting off a chain of transmission? How many have been prevented in Ohio by the rush to get immunized after the lottery was announced?

Carlyle wasn’t the only winner yesterday:

The good news is that cases continue to fall across the U.S. and in Ohio. The 16,500 confirmed infections recorded nationally yesterday were the lowest since March 29 of last year, a figure so small that it encouraged Axios to end its weekly snapshot of the state of the pandemic. “Cases in the U.S. are low, and they’re likely to stay low — which is why, after 56 weeks, this will be the end of our weekly map,” the outlet said. Cases in Ohio are the lowest they’ve been since last June and the state’s positivity rate has fallen to 2.6 percent, its smallest of the pandemic.

The bad news is that there’s trouble brewing in the UK, which has administered a higher percentage of first doses than we have. If a new wave can happen to them, it should be able to happen to us.

The UK has reported 5,274 new COVID-19 cases in the latest 24-hour period – the highest number of daily infections since late March, according to the government’s data…

It comes as Public Health England (PHE) revealed the number of cases of the Indian (Delta) variant have almost doubled in the past week – rising by 5,472 to 12,431.

PHE officials said on Thursday that the Delta variant has now overtaken the Alpha (Kent) one as the most dominant in the UK.

I wrote about the propagation of the Indian variant, B.1.617, in the UK a few days ago. There’s new data about it since then: Not only does it appear to be the most contagious version of the virus yet known, it’s also producing more severe cases.

Pfizer’s vaccine does appear to be effective against it so vaccinated Americans should be okay. For the unvaccinated, it’s a serious threat if it gets rolling.

I’ll leave you with a local news report from Ohio about the state of the lottery incentive program. There was a surge in vaccinations before the first two drawings but new immunizations have fallen off since then. Which makes sense, as anyone likely to be motivated by a lottery drawing would logically want to run out and get vaxxed before the first or second drawings to maximize their chances. Still a few drawings to go, though…