Now is the time for life-changing decisions for many individuals and their families. It is simple as that.

As the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus spreads across Minnesota, many American residents have chosen not to get vaccinated with any COVID-19 vaccine.

The unvaccinated are aiding in the spread of the delta variant, are overwhelming hospitals in current COVID-19 hotspots and are endangering themselves and their families. This latest coronavirus wave has become the "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

There is no one specific group avoiding the vaccinations, but individuals on both sides of the political spectrum.

One group, according to a New York Times article, are "adamant in their refusal of the coronavirus vaccines." This group tends to be "disproportionately white, rural, evangelical Christian and politically conservative."

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The other group, about half of the unvaccinated, have "been putting (the vaccination) off or want to wait and see before making a decision," according to the Times article. This group tends to be a "more diverse and urban group, including many younger people, Black and Latino American, and Democrats."

All three of the COVID-19 vaccines currently offered in the United States are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. The vaccines will soon be fully approved. This will ease the concern of some.

The explosion of the delta variant has changed the perception of education, government and businesses around the country. More than 400 universities and colleges now require students to have the COVID-19 vaccination. Many hospitals and medical centers and the federal government are now requiring employees to get the vaccine.

More mandates and restrictions are coming.

The delta variant is dangerous and infectious — plain and simple. First discovered in March in India, the coronavirus variant now accounts for more than 93% of coronavirus cases nationwide.

This delta variant can contain "1,000 times the viral load," compared to the original coronavirus, according to a University of California-San Francisco report. In addition, the delta variant can be carried earlier and remains infectious longer than the original virus.

The vast majority of those contracting the delta variant now are unvaccinated. Many end up hospitalized. And the vast majority of the deaths were unvaccinated. In Maryland, every person who died from coronavirus in June was unvaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Louisiana, 97% of the cases and deaths since February were unvaccinated. In Alabama, over 96% of coronavirus deaths since April 1 were unvaccinated.

Most important, know that COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at preventing serious illness from the delta variant and other strains so far. In other words, if you are vaccinated, you are less likely to contract the coronavirus, less likely to become seriously ill if you do contract the virus and less likely to be hospitalized and more likely to survive.

If you remain unvaccinated, the risk multiplies significantly and the odds can be deadly if you catch the delta variant.

"If you don't choose the vaccine, you're choosing death," said one Louisiana physician last month.

It is time to choose life for yourself, your family and your community.

Please get fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, the West Central (Minn.) Tribune.