Welcome to the eleventh, post-Memorial Day issue of the 2021 edition of Unprecedented. As India and Peru experience record COVID-19 cases, many parts of the United States have reached a return to normality that was unthinkable even a few months ago. People are eating and drinking at restaurants and bars, attending live sporting events, and gathering with friends and families. Vaccines are due most of the credit for these developments. But, many states are finding themselves experimenting with lotteries to overcome vaccine hesitancy. Ohio, for instance, announced a $1 million lottery—won last week by a 22-year-old who thought it was a prank. California also has offered cash prizes of up to $1.5 million. And West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has enlisted his English bulldog, “Babydog,” in his state’s vaccination efforts—encouraging people to get vaccinated for Babydog if they won’t do it for their families. All of this must seem surreal to parts of the globe where vaccines still remain in short supply, but public officials are betting on these efforts to prevent the virus’s return. Whether their bet will pay off, however, remains to be seen.
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