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Johns Hopkins University last week recorded nearly 20,000 coronavirus cases nationwide. That’s a jump of 47% from the week before.

Indiana faces a particular challenge when it comes to nursing homes. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 79% of the state’s nursing home residents had gotten a vaccine as of late June, but only 49% of nursing home staff had done so.

For nursing home residents, Indiana ranks 27th among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. As for nursing home staffers, Indiana ranks 43rd.

Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the state health department’s chief medical officer, spoke to reporters at a recent briefing about the struggle to persuade reluctant Hoosiers to get the vaccine. Some, she said, have just been waiting to hear more about the health effects. The best way to reach those folks, she said, is through one-on-one conversations.

“So we do encourage people that if you have questions, if you have concerns, please take the time to talk to somebody you trust or your local health care providers to get some more information,” she said.

Coronavirus cases not only are expanding, they’re growing more severe.

A hospital in Springfield, Missouri, reports that more than 90% of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit are on ventilators. That’s compared to maybe half of ICU patients on ventilators at the peak of the pandemic.

Dr. Howard Jarvis, an emergency medicine physician at that hospital, told CNN all of his sickest patients had one thing in common.

“If they’re sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, they are unvaccinated,” he said. “That is the absolute common denominator amongst those patients.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the data to back that up. The agency reports that more than 99% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths in June were among unvaccinated people.

It’s the same story everywhere. Lots of people who didn’t think they needed a vaccine are finding themselves on a ventilator. Or dead.

And even though variants of the disease are becoming more deadly, these illnesses are preventable. The vaccines work.

That’s the frustrating part for medical experts such as Dr. Jonathan S. Reiner of The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

“It doesn’t need to be this way,” he told CNN.

If you’re among the holdouts, it’s time to end the wait. The vaccines have been proved safe and effective at protecting against serious illness, and while there have been side effects, most are minor and go away in no more than a few days.

Don’t be one of those people lying in the hospital with a look of regret on your face. Get the shot.

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