We hate to ruminate on bad news all the time but with the COVID-19 situation being what it is today, there’s not much of a choice.

The state’s percent positive rate was reported at 14 percent Tuesday. This N&O report details how North Carolina’s COVID surge is actually steeper than this winter’s:

“Multiple experts agree that the speed of the increase in the number of cases per day is faster now than it was over the winter, and that’s due to the highly contagious delta variant.

From June to October of 2020, the number of daily new coronavirus cases reported were mostly in the 1,000s or 2,000s range, with several exceptions where the state only reported a few hundred new cases. On Nov. 11, the state reported over 3,000 new cases for the first time. On Nov. 19, there were over 4,000 new cases for the first time.

But the current surge in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina looks a little different. On June 30, 208 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in North Carolina. But it only took until Aug. 5 for the state to report over 4,000 new COVID-19 cases.”

Mask mandates are back for Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties, and likely will come back for Wake, too, once all the county’s mayors get on the same page.

There are reports of COVID-19 clusters at nine schools across Wake, Durham, and Johnston counties. Teachers and staff from WCPSS to UNC-Chapel Hill have told us they’re worried the Delta variant will run rampant in their classrooms.

And all the while, we’re living in dueling realities, where some  of us have been vaccinated, some of us can’t be vaccinated, and some of us won’t be.

This NPR interview with the chancellor of Medical Sciences at the University of Arkansas––where only about a third of the population is fully vaccinated––is jarring. 

The doctor, Cam Patterson, talked about how much different this wave of the virus is, with younger patients hospitalized with serious illness, pregnant mothers losing their babies because of COVID-19 infections, children hospitalized with COVID complications, including a five-week old baby, at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

North Carolina’s vaccination rate is higher than Arkansas’s, with some 47 percent of the state’s residents fully vaccinated. And, to be clear, we’re not highlighting all of this to shock or scare people, but to ask people who are resistant to the precautions––getting vaccinated, wearing a mask indoors, asking children to wear masks at school––to please consider the medical workers who have to take care of COVID-19 patients day in and day out.

They live in a different reality, too, where they witness “the most unfathomable human suffering.” It’s a reality that’s likely a lot worse than any of us who haven’t experienced it could be able to imagine.

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Follow Editor-in-Chief Jane Porter on Twitter or send an email to jporter@indyweek.com.