You can’t pick your family, but you can step away from them. And significant numbers of Americans are doing just that, as the ongoing mask and vaccine debate divides even the closest relatives.

It’s reminiscent of the Great Family Divide of 2016. That pivotal time, which came after voters’ political positions hardened into emotional concrete. In the weeks leading up to and after the contentious election of President Trump, civil dialogue was squashed in clashes over issues and values. Quicker than you could cite the latest poll, Uncle Joe, Aunt Mary and even Grandpa and Grandma were uninvited from family holiday gatherings. Psychologists offered advice 24/7 about how to survive Thanksgiving and Christmas through “respectful listening” and “strategic silence,” but many familial bonds were irretrievably broken. And everybody was mad.

And now here we are, deep into the Great Family Divide: Part Two. I never thought I’d be a part of it, but early on I found myself in a circular conversation with an older cousin who insisted COVID was no more dangerous than the flu. She got more insistent as I carefully tried to state the facts about the rate of infection and the scary rise in hospitalizations and deaths. I realized I had to end the conversation before I was disrespectful either in tone or words.

We have not spoken since. And I can’t bring myself to fight with her about getting vaccinated, though she lives in Louisiana — one of the states with the highest rate of delta variant spread.

Meanwhile, Chet Hanks, the 30-year-old eldest son of popular movie stars Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson is all over the internet ranting against COVID vaccinations, shouting in a video, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” while urging the unvaccinated to protect themselves by staying inside. Notably both the elder Hanks and Wilson were gravely ill with COVID last year. I’d understand if they, too, decided to put a little distance between their son and themselves. They know first-hand how dangerous the virus is.

This is about health and life much more than a family squabble. But just 58% of Americans are fully vaccinated, so I’m relieved that the medical advisories and community regulations have made the world a lot smaller for the unvaccinated by mandating proof of vaccines — as GBH does, and so do other companies like Google and United Airlines.

It’s about time, says GBH contributor and medical ethicist Dr. Art Caplan, “to get tough on the unvaccinated holdouts.” Like a lot of other frustrated folks, I’m prepared to do that by drawing boundaries (you will not be visiting me) and yes, cutting ties. And that includes some in my friend group. I support your freedom to do what you think is best for you, as long as your choice does not impact my health.

Fortunately, I’ve not had to step away from most of the people close to me. In my circles, we are all vaccinated and are actively following mitigation efforts like masks and social distancing. I’ll weather the next iteration of COVID with this chosen family.