As I write this, the state’s official numbers indicated that 2,712 state residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, about 8% more than the 2,520 who have been added to the tally of those who are fully vaccinated.

In other words, we’re falling behind. As if we needed numbers to tell us that.

After reading stories of children orphaned because their misinformation-peddling parents died of COVID-19, injured people who can’t be treated because hospitals are full of COVID-19 patients who rejected vaccines and masks, and nurses and doctors despairing about yet another surge in their ICUs, it’s hard not to become a jerk about the whole thing.

Just shut up and get your doggone vaccine and wear the doggone mask! That’s what I want to shout at certain people, although I wouldn’t settle for “doggone.”

I don’t do this, however, because I’m a grownup. More importantly, it doesn’t work: it just hardens people’s mistaken beliefs because they won’t want to give a jerk like me the satisfaction of being correct.

We’ve got to grit our teeth and continue the painfully slow process of one-on-one discussion, although I’m hopeful about the increasing number of companies that are requiring vaccines of workers.

Vaccination isn’t a magic solution, as shown by rising caseloads in well-vaccinated places like Israel and Hawaii, but it’s a big part of the solution. The small percentage of vaccinated people who do get re-infected are less sick for less time. And we need to protect kids under 12 until they can get vaccinated. This is one time when the cliched cry of “Won’t somebody think of the children?” is warranted.

As for masks, they’re back. Why? There is evidence that the fast-spreading Delta variant is more likely to cause pre-symptomatic spread, meaning you can exhale the virus and infect somebody nearby even though you feel fine.

I have started wearing a mask again in public indoor spaces. Can’t say I’m happy about it, but such is life. And it will be our life through at least winter, I think.

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