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Much like endangering others as a smoker is no longer acceptable, COVID-19 vaccinations are imperative to preventing future loss of life. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

The US is in the throes of a fourth wave of the pandemic as the delta variant sweeps across the nation, threatening to crush many parts of our country in ways we cannot imagine. We are only beginning to see the escalating consequences: increased infections; hospital ICUs at and over capacity; lifelong and life-changing side effects; deaths that leave behind stunned friends and families; and a tattered economy.

The gamble used to be, “maybe I’ll get it, maybe I won’t.” Predictive modeling shows that those who are not vaccinated will get the delta variant. They may not all get sick and die, but they will eventually be infected and likely infect others. And those at greatest risk in this wave are not just the elderly or those with health conditions as the numbers are rising for the young and healthy.

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