We see the numbers rising. The cases are getting closer and closer — a spouse’s friend, a co-worker, someone you went to high school with. Maybe you’ve had it yourself.

You’ve noticed that we’ve had outbreaks in local restaurants and bars just this week, and an acceleration in cases statewide that you might find troubling.

Perhaps you still think the whole thing is bullshit, but even then, you’ve got to have a creeping doubt in your convictions after a portion of the White House staff, numerous celebrities and other boldfaced names, and like half the people who went to Sturgis came down with the disease caused by the coronavirus.

But most of us by now recognize the prevalence of COVID-19 and we’re just trying to do our best while the coronavirus circulates among the plague rats, which of course increases the likelihood that it will reach us.

We saw our first case in North Carolina on March 6; by April 1 we were averaging almost 150 new cases a day. By the end of April, we saw more than 400 a day. New cases hit our first peak between July 11 and 17, adding a couple thousand a day. That’s when we extended Phase 2, and things started to drop. Next peak was in late August, right after the college students went back, but this one saw only about 1,500 new cases a day.

And now we’re back: an average of more than 2,000 new cases a day for the last week. It’s interfering with the reopening of our public schools. It’s affecting the election both in process and outcome. It’s pushing the end-of-the-pandemic goalposts further and further into the future.

At this point, we’ve got to ask what’s wrong with us that we can’t seem to get this right. But everybody knows what’s wrong with us: We don’t currently share the same reality, evidenced by the fact that there are two sides to the global pandemic: people who respect the virus and those who think the rest of us are making it up.

But it seems there are fewer and fewer people who subscribe to the latter philosophy. Because those are the people who have been getting it.

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