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Governor John Bel Edwards receives the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, given by OLOL clinical supervisor Lori Koonce Feb. 9, on the campus of the LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

Had an interesting conversation recently with an acquaintance about the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in the state and the pitiful percentage of Louisiana residents who have been vaccinated.

You know that the vaccine can save your life and the lives of members of your family, your friends and a bunch of other folks, too.

I was trying to win him over to get the shot. Just to see if he was paying attention, I asked if he supported comments by the North Carolina GOP representative who claimed that a door-to-door COVID-19 vaccine campaign the president is talking about could be used to take folks' guns and Bibles.

Thankfully, my friend is not one of the anti-vaxxers rushing to the choir stand to join in that song.

He, however, is unmoved by reports that show that more than 90% of those folks getting the virus and dying now from COVID-19 are the unvaccinated.

My friend is an officer in an army of naysayers who want nothing to do with the vaccine.

He says neither he, nor his family, is taking the vaccine. I feel bad for him and his family. Interestingly, another friend told me recently that she has a friend whose wife is on a ventilator with COVID-19. The wife didn’t take the shot while her husband did; he is fine. We hope for the best for them.

I tried a different tack on my friend to get the shot by bringing up his love of LSU Tiger football. He bleeds purple and gold. I posed the question whether he thinks the rising numbers of people getting the scary, more contagious new delta variant of the virus will cause a problem at LSU home games.

Experts at the Louisiana Department of Health say the COVID-19 cases are trending upward, with 94% of the cases occurring among people like him and his unvaccinated family.

What if you and so many others don’t get the vaccine and the numbers continue to spike? Do you think LSU may be forced to limit the numbers in the stadium again? Would there be a limit on tailgating? Are you ready for that, I asked?

He said that is unlikely. No matter what, “(w)e can’t go back Ed. We can’t go back. Nobody will stand for that now,” he said.

Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, I said. But what if?

If only 33% of Louisianans have been vaccinated then it stands to reason that if 100,000 fans go into fabled Tiger Stadium, that would mean that about 60,000 to 65,000 or so may have not been vaccinated. That might be a stretch, but who knows. You want to take that risk?

What about being in a restaurant where 50 people are seated, talking, laughing, sneezing and coughing? Yep, having a great ol' time. Could there be a few delta spreaders among them?

My friend held steadfast that he does not want to return to facemasks and distancing. That’s for other people. He reiterated that the public won’t support it.

I get his feelings on that. I, too, am happy being with my friends now, sharing a few libations and laughing. But if the numbers continue to rise, I am going back to my mask even if it is not mandated. By the way, I have received both of my shots.

If the bad numbers don’t subside, I may have to reconsider my plans to attend my Southern University football games and hang out with my tailgate community. I’m sure all of them have received the shots, but what about the visitors?

I will continue to implore my friend and his family to get a shot. And, we will have more face-to-face conversations. But if the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise there will be a slight change. He will still be my friend, but I will be a wearing mask and standing a few feet away from him.

Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman, at epratt1972@yahoo.com.

Our Views: Be careful about Delta-plus, a variant that can still hurt us