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Ever since the mask mandates have been lifted for those of us who are vaccinated, I have often wondered, who’s lying?

Clearly, the state knows who is vaccinated and who is not. (Hey, let’s start some conspiracy theories, friends!) OK, it would take a fairly sizeable process of elimination for Gov. Eric Holcomb’s employees to ferret out who is not vaccinated. Figuring out who is vaccinated is easy because of the government records that are kept.

I am a card-carrying vaccinated person. (Unfortunately that statement used to be used only for designating card-carrying communists or some other terrible thing. But this has become political, so why not?)

Back to the beginning. When you go into Meijer or Walmart or Menards or McCool’s or the county office building or the license branch or … you get it … who the heck is lying?

Look at the numbers my colleague Steve Garbacz compiles and reports on a weekly basis. If you take the Indiana State Department of Health’s weekly percentages of the numbers of people vaccinated in our counties it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that, when you are out and about, a majority of the people are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated. And they are not protecting you and me from the potential virus they are possibly carrying and spreading.

Steve only tells about the percentages of people who are vaccinated.

So, if we were to turn around Steve’s reporting, you could say that if you are in a crowd of 100 people in Steuben County, about 55 of those people are not vaccinated and should be wearing masks, if you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice. (And obviously we don’t.) That’s because nearly 45% of people in Steuben County are vaccinated. That’s the high end for northeast Indiana.

The number grows when you leave Steuben and enter the crowd of 100 in DeKalb, where there would be 59 people who were not vaccinated, or 63 in Noble County who are not vaccinated or almost everybody in LaGrange County. (OK, that’s a bit rough. There would be 77 people not vaccinated in a crowd of 100 LaGrange County.)

Yesterday when you went to the super center to buy your groceries, think about the number of people in that store. How many people were vaccinated? Probably not that many. At least not enough to justify protecting you through herd immunity. The only other protection is the mask — and that’s protection from the people carrying the disease who are the people most likely to contract COVID-19 these days.

Now that the delta variant is ripping through the country, the CDC is telling us that even some of us who are card-carrying vaccinated persons should probably start wearing masks again in certain situations. (By the way, I have a double shot of antibodies because not only do I have Pfizer BioNTech coursing through my body, but I contracted COVID-19 last fall.)

Like many of you, I have been driving around with a handful of masks looped around my gear shifter even though I haven’t worn one for a couple months. Last Sunday, I brought my masks inside and tossed them in the laundry, a full two days before the CDC’s announcement. I could sense it was coming, and I have been seeing more people masking these days.

It makes sense. As the New York Times reported last Sunday, now that we’re not wearing masks, we’re starting to come down with more common colds and other mild viruses that we had been protecting ourselves from while wearing masks. It’s no different than what you see in Asian countries during the winter months when viruses and flu bugs run high. We would be better off if we followed their lead, but we don’t and won’t.

We don’t want government telling us what to wear and what not to wear, is the thinking. If a mask mandate returns, I would be surprised if it is followed. Especially when you have politicians, mainly Republicans, doubting science. Indiana Sen. Mike Braun was one of them on Tuesday when he issued a statement in response to the CDC’s advice; Braun said that masks don’t work. (I certainly hope history doesn’t treat the deniers well.)

It was reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert, said he believed we will see COVID-19 cases continue to rise until hitting a new peak in October.

Come on, people. Do we really want to go through this again? Get vaccinated. And if you are going to be in an enclosed space, think about wearing a mask, especially if you are not vaccinated.

mike marturello is the editor of The Herald Republican. He can be reached at

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