As the post-pandemic boom in gatherings and celebrations grows, unvaccinated Idahoans should think about the train that is screaming toward them on the tracks to which they’ve lashed themselves.

The Delta Variant Express is just starting up its engines in the United States after wreaking devastation in India.

If anyone missed the news on how devastating the variant was there, they need to consult the web for the images of thousands of smoldering outdoor funeral pyres and interviews with people whose family members died without treatment.

The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spreads faster, is more deadly and causes more breakthrough cases among the vaccinated than the original virus, according to medical experts.

Widespread vaccination and dropping infection rates have led states, cities and counties to remove health and safety restrictions on businesses, schools and large events. As a result, the country is entering a woohoo summer of celebration with arms flung wide in welcome. Hugs and kisses are the order of the day.

If people are smart, the normalcy party can go on. But if we’re not, more tears, suffering and death could end the party.

Idaho vaccinations lag behind all but eight other states. According to the CDC’s most recent state report, just over a third of Idaho’s population is fully vaccinated.

An additional 6% or so who have gotten one dose shouldn’t skip the second. A recent preliminary study showed that just one dose of the Pfizer vaccine is only 33% effective against the delta variant.

This should send chills up the spines of Idahoans who have chosen to wait or to refuse vaccination.

This is why. If they wait and try to play catchup by being vaccinated only after the delta variant hits, it will take them five to six weeks and two doses to reach the 75% level of protection that those vaccinated earlier got with the first dose.

COVID-19 cases in Idaho have dropped dramatically from 700 daily new cases in January to about 200 daily cases so far in June. Cases may drop further with summer coming and people spending more time outdoors where viral spread is low.

That’s great. However, falling case numbers could produce a false sense of security.

Of new cases, 90% are occurring in unvaccinated individuals, according to state deputy epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Turner.

Idaho has lost at least 2,125 residents to COVID-19. In the winter, hospitals barely avoided being overwhelmed.

Don’t let the delta variant force us to repeat that experience. Get vaccinated.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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