Big week for sad news

As milestones go, it was a big week for sad news.

Arkansas passed the 800,000 mark in active cases on Wednesday and then added to that on Thursday for a total of 802,198 since the ongoing pandemic began some 22 months ago.

Deaths also increased, and, as of Thursday, the total number of Arkansans who have died is at 9,937.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said it would be, “not many days” before the state hit the 10,000 mark.

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That previously unthinkable number could be hit by early next week, if not sooner.

The forecast numbers from the Centers for Disease Control continue to be improbably bad, as seen below.

Where will the death toll end? Given the state’s low vaccination rate numbers, still barely over 50 percent, it seems reasonable and prudent to believe a couple thousand more of our neighbors and friends are already dead and just don’t know it.

Just looking at reported cases, there’s been not quite 235,000 added this year. The case count was at 567,824 on Jan. 2. As of today, Feb. 10, it is 802,198. The delta and omicron variants have had their way in Arkansas and even a fraction of a percent is still so many people.

What’s interesting, at least in a very morbid way, if you look at the number from 2020, the contrast is so stark.

  • June 2, 2020 — 7,818 cases, 136 deaths.

  • June 3, 2020 — 8,067 cases, 142 deaths

  • June 4, 2020 — 8,425 cases, 151 deaths

Go back and look at that June 3 number. It is 8,067. Today’s number is 802,198. You want to do the math on that percentage increase?

Don’t. It will just depress you.

Think of yourself in June 2020, as you hoped and prayed that a vaccine would come. That you hoped and prayed that you or no one you knew would die, alone, in a hospital bed. As loved ones watched on an iPad and unable to communicate because of a ventilation tube.

Remember the people you know who have died that way.

May their memory be a blessing.

If you don’t want to get sick and die, there’s some things you can do:
Get vaccinated
Get boosted
Wear a mask
Avoid crowds