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Vaccines are how we win the race

The world is engaged in a race between vaccinations and the coronavirus’s new strains. Some of these mutated variants spread much more easily than the original — which was plenty contagious enough — but so far, at least, they aren’t breaking through the vaccines’ protection.

In most of the world’s countries, the new strains are winning that race, at least for now. Globally, COVID-19 case counts have spiked back up to January’s high levels. In neighboring Canada, the province of Ontario went back on lockdown Saturday after just a short light loosening of restrictions, and top medical experts there are urging a full stay-home order to slow the spread.

The new strains are apparently running rampant through Canada, and too few people have the vaccine in their system to snuff out the viruses. Canada’s vaccination rollout is way behind ours. While New York and many other states now let anyone 16 and older get vaccinated, Canada and other countries are still struggling to get shots for its older, sicker residents. At least 19% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and many more have at least one dose. Canadians are a whole decimal place behind — only about 1.9% are fully vaccinated.

In the U.S. and United Kingdom, vaccinations have been mostly winning the race — but that lead is precarious. New York’s positive test percentage is edging up again. Remember, roughly two-thirds of the population still doesn’t even have even one dose of vaccine, so the viruses still have plenty of targets.

One big relief is that since we have already vaccinated most of our most vulnerable people, deaths from COVID-19 shouldn’t rise too much, even if cases do. This virus has already killed more than 50,000 people in New York, 555,000 nationwide and almost 2.9 million worldwide — far too many.

Vaccines really are our ticket out of this pandemic. That is one belief held in common between the different pandemic approaches taken under presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In the Trump administration, the federal government urged and supported drug companies to develop vaccines, maintaining a healthy sense of competition and urgency while also vetting the results thoroughly. It worked. The resulting vaccines have proven to be incredibly effective. And now under the Biden administration those vaccines are being manufactured in larger volume and administered far and wide.

Many people still don’t see vaccines as the answer, however. Some see it as political, but it isn’t. Some are suspicious and think the vaccines must have harmful side effects, but they don’t. Some believe conspiracy theories that are simply false.

If you are a vaccine skeptic, we understand, but we urge you to reconsider. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your family, friends, community, nation and everyone else.

Getting more people vaccinated is the only way we, as a species, are going to win this race. Hesitation could mean we have slide back into lockdowns like those in Ontario, and no one wants that. It’s not about politics or big government; rather, it’s about common sense, and individuals choosing to do their part for the common good.

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