In the U.S., unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to contract COVID-19 and die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eleven times more likely to contract COVID-19 and die.

Reducing the COVID-19 death toll is a question of national security and our economy. But most important: Stemming the COVID-19 death toll will help to preserve the lives of our loved ones.

For people who are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious, health or political reasons, regular testing can help to keep them — and the people around them — relatively safe.

President Joe Biden’s proposal to mandate the vaccine for employees of companies with 100 or more employees — and people in certain professions — gives people the testing option. People who don’t wish to be vaccinated are to be tested for COVID-19 weekly; if found to have the virus, they must quarantine for the recommended amount of time.

We believe federal tax dollars should fund both the vaccine, as Biden has proposed, and testing, which has been the case throughout the pandemic.

Businesses with 100 or more employees are not all large corporations. Many are small, family-owned businesses running on small margins.

With enough FDA-approved vaccine available for all eligible residents, the U.S. should have one of the world’s lowest COVID-19 death rates.

But in many areas of the U.S., the number of people who are not vaccinated is high. Because of those low vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases are rising. One only needs to look at Indiana for such evidence.

In many areas of the U.S., hospitalizations and deaths are increasing.

Some deaths are due to hospitalized COVID-19 patients crowding out other seriously ill people. For example, last week a 73-year-old Alabama man died of heart issues after 43 hospitals with full intensive care units turned him away. He died shortly after admission to a hospital in Mississippi nearly 200 miles away.

In May and June we were celebrating the anticipated end of the pandemic. Many people resumed their life as normal.

But the delta variant — against which the COVID-19 vaccines are very effective — changed everything.

With increased vaccination and testing, we can begin to, once and for all, put this pandemic behind us. With increased vaccination, our economy, which appeared to be getting back on track this summer, can once again leap forward.

Above all, with increased vaccination we can help to save the lives of the people we know and love.

Vaccines in the past have saved many lives. Let the COVID-19 vaccine work for us.

OUR VIEW is written on a rotating basis by Grace Housholder, Andy Barrand, Michael Marturello and Steve Garbacz. We welcome readers’ comments.

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