OPINION

Delta-fueled COVID-19 cases are rising across Kansas. The fastest way to end the pandemic is to get vaccinated.

By The Editorial Advisory Board
Getting vaccinated is the way out of the pandemic.

Upset about new CDC guidance to wear masks again?

Then get vaccinated.

Want our state and country to get back to normal as quickly as possible?

Then get vaccinated.

Irritated by busybodies constantly harping on COVID-19 precautions?

Then get vaccinated.

You might notice a certain theme running through the previous paragraphs. But it’s time for us all to take a moment and understand what’s really going on as the delta variant of COVID-19 surges throughout the country.

First off, cases are rising nearly everywhere. The delta variant is substantially more contagious than earlier mutations of the virus, which means that it will take every opportunity to spread, and exploit every possible weakness in the population. If you haven’t been taking it seriously yet, the news last week should prompt a rethink.

Second, Kansas faces a real challenge. As The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Jason Tidd wrote: “Of the 50 states, Kansas has the 12th-worst rate of new cases, according to data released Wednesday by the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The positivity rate is 13th-worst. Both are in the federal red zone. The Kansas death rate is fifth-worst and is in the orange zone.”

That’s alarming. But what’s even more alarming — and totally expected — is that those Kansas counties being hit hardest are those with the lowest vaccination rates. Like a prairie fire, delta is seeking the driest tinder possible, taking the easiest route it can to blaze across the landscape.

Make no mistake: Being vaccinated protects you and your family. It’s our ticket out of the pandemic. It’s your ticket to avoiding serious illness.

Now, let’s also take a moment to address a couple of misconceptions that vaccine deniers love to make. Most importantly, the vaccines are thoroughly tested. While available for now under an emergency use authorization from the FDA, full approval will likely arrive shortly. They are safe and proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Any side effects you may experience pale next to a full-blown case of COVID-19.

Also, vaccines don’t necessarily prevent you from ever catching the virus. But so what? In these cases, the vaccines transform a potentially life-threatening disease into — essentially — a common cold. Why wouldn’t you take that deal?

Vaccines have unfortunately become politicized these days. But they will protect conservatives and liberals (as well as libertarians and socialists). They will protect Republicans and Democrats.

It doesn’t matter what you believe, only that you roll up your sleeve.