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Trending Topics: Champaign County praised for vaccination program, debate over local man’s guilty plea for inciting riot

Daria Makhneva / For CU-CitizenAccess

Among the most trending topics locals discussed on Facebook and Twitter were the highest rate of COVID-19 vaccination in Illinois, the first UK variant of COVID-19, Market Place Mall looter’s guilty plea, a mysterious Walmart fight and, of course, the weather.  

The most frequent tweets this week were about the high rate of vaccination in Champaign County. Posters expressed their delight about living in the county with one of the highest rates of vaccination in Illinois. As of February 10, Champaign County administered 43,528 vaccines and fully vaccinated 4.84% of the population or 8,353 residents. Moreover, 35,175 people, or 16.8%, received the first shot of the vaccine. 

On Wednesday, February 3, Gov. Pritzker toured Champaign County vaccination facilities. This news exploded in numerous tweets, again, praising the Champaign health system and Illinois Governor. 

Users from other counties questioned why Champaign is doing so great, and why it is “nearly impossible to get vaccinated in Chicago”, for example. 

Spotted in Chambana members on Facebook also gave each other recommendations on how to get the second shot of the vaccine. For instance, getting the second shot through IHotel location requires extra attention: residents should count the 28 days by themselves and pick the right spot through the online system because “the IHotel form allows you to sign up earlier than 28 days”.

The health district clarifies the difference between the two vaccines and the waiting period on its website: “Please note that the second dose of Moderna Vaccine should be at least 28 days after your first dose and the second dose of Pfizer Vaccine should be at least 21 days after the first, but there is no maximum interval between both doses.”

While vaccination was the main topic on social media, users shared information about the first UK variant of COVID-19. They said, “it was just a matter of time”. Others were concerned about lifting safety measures at this point.  

On February 2, Shamar Betts, the man who is accused of inciting a riot in Champaign on the May 31, 2020, plead guilty to federal charges. A Spotted in Chambana member shared a post with the hashtag #FreeShemarBetts, spelling the first name of the defendant Betts with a mistake.

This user compared the alleged purse theft by Rep. Carol Ammons and Betts, claiming that the first was not charged at all, while Betts will face prison. Almost all of 109 commentators did not approve of this comparison and any possibility to free Shamar Betts. They did not see any base of such comparisons except “the color of the skin” of these two people. One of them mentioned: “He pleaded guilty… seems like even he doesn’t think he should be free for inciting a riot.”

CU-CitizenAccess previously reported on the impact of the Market Place mall looting and the racial justice protests going on around the same time.

The fight by the bakery at Champaign Walmart gathered more than 1,000 comments and attracted 200 new members to the Spotted in Chambana group. No one could identify the reason for this fight.

Users joked about “Walmart baguette fight club” and were sorry for the “ruined avocados”. Other commentators questioned where Walmart security was and what went wrong with the situation leading up to the fight. 

In the end, we hope these pictures of magnificent Chambana sunsets and an enormous snowball bring you a smile and positive emotions.

In this article, CU-CitizenAccess gathered the main topics local citizens conversed about during the first week of February, from February 1 through February 7. The search was done by keywords “Champaign County”, “Champaign, IL”, “Urbana, IL”, “Chambana” on Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, the Facebook group Spotted in Chambana with more than 42,000 members was a main source of discussion.

Users from the Chambana area post information about lost and found reports, coronavirus, volunteer opportunities, business, traffic, weather, roads, giveaways and many other subjects. Among all of them, we have chosen the most popular or controversial posts with the highest numbers of reactions or comments on Facebook. While on Twitter we checked the trending tweets of the first week of February.

Daria Makhneva / For CU-CitizenAccess

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