The post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases has arrived, and it’s terrifying. Every other day it seems North Carolina sets a new record for daily reported cases, and the percent of people testing positive for the virus has hovered around 14 percent, nearly three times what state officials would like it to be. The state’s latest COVID-19 map is blood red, indicating critical spread in 84 counties. Nurses are rallying the governor to enact tougher restrictions before it’s too late, and while more and more residents are getting vaccinated, officials have warned that the rollout will be slow and vaccines won’t be widely available until at least the spring. The immediate outlook is bleak, but our best shot at beating this thing is still the same: Wear a mask, wash hands, and wait six feet apart.

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