Please believe me. I absolutely hate to write this column. And, yes, I know that with at least 1/3 of you, this will be a very unpopular subject.

This may be slightly ahead of the current American public opinion, but, here’s where I think we are heading relative to COVID-19, the more contagious “Delta” variant, required face mask wearing (again) and more.

With much regret, I declare that it’s time to once again pay close attention to COVID-19.

Positive cases are spiking, during a time of the year when the opposite had been occurring in the past.

Yesterday, Wednesday, July 21, 2021 there were 61,000 new COVID-19 positive cases in America.

The more infectious “Delta” variant has accounted for more than 83 percent of all new positive cases.

This makes the very accessible vaccination all the more important to consider (if you’ve been unwilling).

The current positive cases are largely comprised of younger Americans who are not vaccinated.

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You’re also going to be hearing more and more about what’s being called “Breakthrough COVID-19 infections.” This refers to those who have been vaccinated and still contract COVID-19.

It wasn’t until the Delta variant unleashed and began spreading that the risks of “Breakthroughs” started getting public attention.

Like the 51 Texas Democrat state legislators who flew together to Washington, D.C., while not wearing face masks. All have said that they are vaccinated, yet at least 6 have tested positive. This group is no longer providing updates about whether others among them have tested positive.

This is irresponsible, because there’s a contact tracing that should be in effect for those whom they have come in contact with.

They've been a mini super spreader event all their own … infecting others upon arrival to our nation’s Capitol.

We’re witnessing daily reports about new infections: The New York Yankees, Olympic athletes, lawmakers and others are testing positive, despite being vaccinated (although some of them have not been vaccinated).

The good news is that the vaccine is working. It’s doing its job very well by dramatically reducing severe illness and death.

It’s important to note that those who are vaccinated and still contract COVID-19, almost all experience either no symptoms or mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization.

Health authorities are warning that even though the COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective … Pfizer and Moderna are about 95% affective against symptomatic infection … no vaccine is perfect.

Unless you have a very good reason for being against the vaccine, this again, makes the case for getting vaccinated.

A national debate is currently being waged about reimplementing face mask wearing requirements.

The White House is cognizant of how political this issue has become. Their position as of yesterday is that they will defer to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

The White House says that they will keep an arms lengths distance and not pressure the CDC.

I don’t believe this one bit and nor should you.

Behind the scenes, I believe that they are going to bring heavy pressure to bear. I readily expect the CDC to very shortly reissue new face mask wearing guidelines.

Governors and State Legislatures around the country are going to have to grapple with some very potentially unpopular decisions.

I both appreciate and commend New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s consistent stance thus far that “you cannot penalize the 60-70% who have done the right thing,” said Governor Murphy.

The American psychology is presently in a very fragile state of mind. People are not ready, nor willing to go through another round of restrictions, etc.

With the return to school right around the corner, our current circumstances will have a major impact on what our educational delivery systems will look like this early September.

Will students return in the fall for in classroom instruction?

Will normal teacher - pupil ratios be in effect?

Will students and faculty be required to wear face masks.

There are a lot of important questions that have to be asked and answered.

I don’t want to preach, but, I am willing to risk the criticism. I’m imploring young Americans and the other unwilling to take a fresh, new look at the COVID-19 vaccine.

It can potentially save your life … or, the life of someone that you unconditionally love.

NOTE: After she read my column, my fabulous Nurse Daughter, Lauren Hurley Lauriello shared two fascinating statistics with me:

Longport has hit an adult vaccination percentage of 82 percent and Avalon an amazing 94 percent.

NJ's most and least COVID vaccinated towns, by county

New Jersey reported just short of 4 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 statewide, heading into the last week of May. So how does that break down across all 21 counties?

And, how can some communities show a vaccination rate of more than 100%, according to state data? Reasons include people who have moved, those who are traveling and not residing at home where the census counted them, students who may select their school residence for vaccination data and people in long-term care (or other facility-based housing) among other reasons, as explained in a footnote on the state COVID dashboard.

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