In this DRNC statement, CEO stresses urgent need for vaccinations

Skyrocketing cases of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant in North Carolina are causing unprecedented spikes in COVID hospitalizations and deaths among people who are not vaccinated. I am proud of how DRNC has kept our work strong for people with disabilities during the pandemic, and grateful to DRNC staff, Board and PAIMI Advisory Council for supporting one another and our clients. A new and serious threat has emerged, and I believe in our ability to withstand it.

At Gov. Roy Cooper’s news conference yesterday afternoon, we learned that an alarming 80 percent of NC’s 100 counties are currently designated as areas of “high” or “substantial” transmission of the virus — and the numbers are climbing.  Strikingly, more than 90 percent of positive cases now are among those who are not fully vaccinated.

If you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, Disability Rights NC urges you to get more information about the lifesaving shots. Contact us if you or a loved one has a disability and you need more information about vaccines. We can also help bring the vaccine to you in your home or community. DRNC can and wants to help!

We can all help. If you are vaccinated, please talk with your friends and loved ones about the vaccine. Urge them to get vaccinated. Ask them to talk with their medical providers about the vaccine. If you are not vaccinated, please seek out information from reliable sources about the vaccine, such as this video the NC Department of Health and Human Services released today.

Vaccinations keep people with disabilities safe and can put this pandemic behind us. COVID should be feared more than the vaccine!

The governor was blunt yesterday: “Unvaccinated people are driving this resurgence and getting themselves and other people sick.” That’s why he issued an executive order effective Sept. 1 that requires the 50,000 employees who report to his cabinet members to show proof of vaccination or undergo testing at least weekly and to wear masks.

He hopes his action and similar recently announced actions of health systems in North Carolina and the federal government will encourage elected Council of State members to do the same for the state employees who fall under their authority. He also urged private businesses and agencies to take the same steps.

NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the rate of contagiousness of this variant is daunting. In February, the variant was unknown; now nearly every positive case is the Delta variant. In its original form, a person with the virus could infect 2-3 people. The Delta variant spreads from one person to six people. She noted hospitalizations more than doubled in the past two weeks, which is the fastest rise since the pandemic began.

“The Delta variant of COVID is even more contagious to those who are not vaccinated,” Cooper said. “It doesn’t matter your age or your race – if you are not vaccinated you are at great risk.  We’re hearing from doctors about people in the ICU begging for the vaccine right before they are being put on the ventilator, and by then it’s too late.”

According to a story today in the New York Times, the CDC is expected to release more information today about the rapid transmission rates of the Delta variant, reporting, “The Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox.”

The governor called the Delta variant “a monster,” and had these stern words for the public: “Here is my message to anyone who has yet to get a shot: Get a vaccine today. Don’t wait until you or a family member is sick and going on a ventilator. Don’t wait until we run out of hospital beds. Don’t wait until skyrocketing numbers threaten to shut businesses or cancel sports. Don’t wait until you infect someone you love. Get a vaccine today. The vaccines are safe, effective, free and available in every community.  And this vaccine could save your life. This virus is now much more contagious and spreading fast and it will find you if you are unvaccinated.”

Please don’t wait, or let your friends and family delay getting accurate information about the vaccine. We urge you to seek that information immediately, and if you are vaccinated, to share this critical information with your loved ones. Act now before it is too late!

If you want help learning how to get the vaccine or need it brought to you due to your disability, call DRNC’s Project ACCESS Hotline: 919-227-3952 or 877-235-4210. 

Virginia Knowlton Marcus
Chief Executive Officer, DRNC