People were gossiping about who had it and where they got it and whether there was someone in town who knew they had it but refused to isolate.
“I had both shots of the vaccine, and people just acted like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t help,'” Cheryl Wetton said. “It bothers me sometimes that people act like Covid is a big joke. I always want to say, ‘Well, why don’t you just come right up here to the cemetery, and I’ll show you my husband’s grave? And I can show you it’s no joke.'”
Wetton actually did say that to a guy in town, she later confirmed. “He just got real quiet.”
“If you have it, everybody knows it. And they’re talking about you,” Tara Chitwood said. She was working behind the register at a souvenir shop, subbing in for her mom, who’d gotten sick a few days earlier. It was “more than likely” Covid-19, Chitwood said, because one of her mom’s friends tested positive. But her mom probably wouldn’t get tested, she said.
The latest wave is the worst one yet
When we called Cricket Kester, the phone had a bad connection, and she couldn’t hear us: “If this is family, call back. Otherwise we’re too sick to talk to anybody.”
We did call back, and Kester said she was glad. She and her husband were both vaccinated this spring and got breakthrough infections. She thought they’d be dead without the vaccine, and told us to put the word out that everyone should get it.
The coffee shop we’d filmed at in 2020 had just closed for two weeks, and everyone we talked to in town had heard people who worked there had gotten sick. The health center said the rumor had pushed a wave of people to get tested for Covid-19. Some in town knew the owners personally and were worried about them, but the owners did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. Most people we spoke to knew exactly the last time they’d eaten there.
Delta variant fuels the death toll — and the anxiety
That means a lot of jobs are in the service industry, and few people can work from home.
“They want to hide the fact that they’re sick so they can work,” Debbie Turley said. “You don’t…