By JOSH RESNEK
We are now in the middle, literally, of a conflicting reality when it comes to the pandemic and COVID-19.
The nation is vaccinating more than 4 million Americans daily. One day last week that number was an astonishing 4.5 million in a day.
Here in Everett vaccinations continue at a heated pace.
To date, almost 2 million residents of Massachusetts have been vaccinated.
Restrictions have been lightened. Gatherings are tending to grow larger although face masks remain widely worn throughout the city and the state.
Vaccinations are up.
COVID-19 cases around the state are rising.
That’s the complication. What to do about it is the rub.
Middlesex County is the reddest geographic area in Massachusetts.
Hospitals are not overcrowded. Deaths have receded.
Everett reported last week about 100 new infections.
The virus remains powerful. New infections remain abundant.
In some states like Minnesota and Michigan, new cases are soaring out of control, again.
Across the United States last week, about 300,000 new infections were reported.
A new strain of the virus believed to originated in Brazil is now the largest cause of new infections in the United States.
For our Brazilian population in Everett, the virus remains a horror show in their native land.
Deaths have gone over 345,000 and the Brazilian national health system is strained to the point of breaking down and failing.
In three days last week deaths totaled 12,000 in Brazil.
Everett’s Brazilian population is acutely aware of the problems in Brazil.
The new P1 variant strain attacks younger people and tends to be more intense, according to the CDC, which is monitoring its spread.
Fallout locally from the pandemic includes continued, long, lines of residents in need of free food.
The new stimulus recently passed includes about $8 billion for free food distribution throughout the United States. Some of that money will make it to Everett.
Public schools have reopened without great fanfare or difficulties initially.
Grades K-5 went back to school last Monday.
The reopening was smooth, according to school officials.
A recent poll of parents of school children showed that 60% of parents believed their children did well enough during the year with online learning to move on to the next grade.
Traffic has markedly grown during the past two weeks.
There is the view of the virus held rather widely that the worst is over, that the reopening of everything is on the way, and that vaccinations will make us safe.
What the exact truth of the matter is remains to be seen.
In the meantime, residents are urged to maintain social distancing, to refrain from eating indoors in closed spaces, and to wear masks at all times.