A couple of dispatches from the coronavirus front:

First, a death.

My stepson’s friend lost her dad a couple of weeks ago. He was 60, and evidently a great guy. I didn’t know him; he’s not from here. All I know is what I heard second-hand from the service.

My understanding is that he was unvaccinated, skeptical about it at least until it was too late. I don’t know if his death has changed the view of anyone else in the family, but it’s terribly unfortunate. I don’t blame them; I just feel really badly for everyone involved.

The hard truth is that it didn’t have to be.

A vaccination would almost certainly mean he’d be alive today, able someday down the road to go to his daughter’s graduation, her wedding. Maybe meet a grandchild, see the kid play ball.

About half of our state is vaccinated. Half.

The other half? I can’t imagine that any logical arguments I could make here would make any difference. I’ve been making them here for nearly two years, about masks, vaccines and physical distancing. Maybe those logical arguments convinced a few people; I’ll never know, and in some ways I don’t care, in the sense that those folks did the right thing and it doesn’t matter why.

The only thing I can do at this point is tell stories. I wish I could tell you names, and conduct interviews, of the people in the story I just relayed, but I can’t. Do you believe me, or do you think I’m just making it up to pull on your heartstrings? That probably depends on your pre-existing viewpoint on the vaccine.

My business is reporting facts, not writing opinion pieces, even though I do that in this space as a sort of side gig. I’m not a marketing guy, able to conjure tears with video and a crescendo of violins. We provide facts and let people make of them what they will; our opinion page is mostly intended to provide a forum for an exchange of views.

The other story? Some people I’m close to have been sick lately, not with the virus, thank goodness. But pretty sick. So as to not rattle any cages, I’m not going to name them, but suffice it to say that under normal circumstances it’d be worth hospitalization.

But now? Nope. Not when the hospital is stuffed full of COVID patients. They can’t transfer out to Topeka, and Topeka can’t transfer out to Kansas City, and so on. I’m willing to bet that people in our region will be pretty significantly impacted by this backlog. I know I am already.

These are real people. These are real consequences.

The choice you make about the vaccine has a ripple effect throughout the community.

I’m half-inclined to say it’s too late now, that if you’re not vaccinated you’re just going to have to hope you catch a mild version.

But vaccination immunity is better than the immunity you get from catching it, so I’m not going to let you off the hook.

But there I go again, trying to make logical arguments, and I told you at the outset I wasn’t going to do that.

Just think about that dad, and that daughter, and the grandkid yet to come. That’s the best argument I can make.

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