If you see a headline stating that Missouri is leading the country in per capita COVID cases and hospitalizations, don’t blame those of us in the blue areas.

For instance, St. Louis County is doing just fine. It’s the red counties that are contributing to those numbers because so many people in rural areas refuse to get vaccinated — or wear masks. If you’re looking for a way to differentiate, just ask someone how they pronounce the name of our state. If it’s Missouree, they probably have gotten the shots. If it’s Missouruh, it’s likely they haven’t.

As I’ve said before, the irony is that so many of the refuseniks won’t follow the advice of medical professionals, but will swallow the on-air lies of fear-mongering, conspiracy-theory-spreading, right-wing-media loudmouths — all of whom have themselves been vaccinated! The sad thing is that the still-too-high numbers of deaths and severe illness are, as Dr. Fauci said yesterday, “entirely avoidable.”

Similarly, when you see headlines lamenting that the country won’t reach President Biden’s goal of having 70% of the adult population receiving at least one dose of a COVID vaccine by July 4th, keep things in perspective and put the blame where it belongs — on the red states, especially in the south. The Washington Post’s Dan Diamond tweeted yesterday: “Worth noting how different vaccination rates are around the country, particularly in Northeast (where all states have already hit Biden’s goal) vs. South (which will miss it). More than 84% of people in Vermont are vaxxed versus just 45% in Mississippi.”

Just take a look at this map from the Centers for Disease Control: