Progressive rock and roll legend Ian Anderson, founding member of JETHRO TULL, spoke to "The Five Count" radio show about the prospect of returning to the road while the pandemic is still raging in most parts of the world. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't think you're looking at what I'm looking at in terms of the infection rates throughout many countries I'm [supposed to be] performing in, including [the U.S.], where you've actually had record infection rates of all time since the beginning of the pandemic, and the same thing applies, as of today, in Italy [and] in Germany. In the U.K., we're down to, actually, 50 percent of the daily infection rates compared to a couple of weeks ago. And that's kind of good news, cautiously, because it looks like [the] omicron [variant] has spread so far and so wide throughout the U.K. population that natural immunity from being infected plus the considerable level of vaccination that we've achieved here looks like it's… Obviously, you must never, ever think, 'Oh, it's over. We've beaten coronavirus.' It's not going away. It's gonna be with us as an endemic disease, whatever happens, for the rest of probably my children's and my grandchildren's lifetimes. But hopefully it's not going to account for too many lives. And we can only hope that in Europe — they're about, I would guess, three and four weeks behind us in most of Western Europe; same thing with the USA. But there are parts of Eastern Europe where they haven't even smelt omicron yet, and their vaccination rates are maybe 28, 30 percent. Boy, are they in big trouble. And so am I because I'm supposed to be playing in some of those countries in the weeks to come. It's gonna be pretty damn serious in a lot of places." Anderson continued: "We're back where we were. Right now, it's an echo of 2021 and 2020. Already we've had to postpone again, for the third and fourth times, two tours in January. I'm hoping that some of the things in February will go ahead. Fingers crossed. And March may be the same. I think by later in April and into May, things will be looking better. But, boy, they're not looking better at the moment. And the degree to which hospitals can cope with the rising levels of infections from those who are not vaccinated and are becoming seriously ill, then there is trouble ahead." Over 90% of those aged 12 and over in the U.K. have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and over 82% have had their second. Among 15 major nations surveyed in a poll by Morning Consult, the United States and Russia have the lowest rates of vaccinated people and the highest rates of vaccine skepticism, according to The Hill. In the U.S., more than 63% of the population are currently fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while more than 75% have received at least one shot, according to data from the CDC. More than 862,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. JETHRO TULL's first studio album of new material in over 18 years, "The Zealot Gene", will see a January 28 release on InsideOut Music.

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