Daily corona round-up

The great masked ball

I’ve got anecdotal evidence that not everyone is wearing a mask, even though the CDC specifically recommended that we do.

This is not good.

The road to triumph here demands that we all move in the same direction, or at least face the same way. We are starting to level off in North Carolina — that’s the trend, anyway. Imagine what we could accomplish if we all decided to protect ourselves and each other…. Anyway, wear a mask, or make one, or find one hanging on a fence. They’re out there. As my friend Big Tiny used to say: Don’t be dumb; get you some!

Speaking of being out there: I can’t be the only one who’s amazed at the amount of people driving around the Triad. Most consumer-facing businesses are closed, 369,000 people have filed for unemployment and we’re supposed to be limiting our travel to essential trips, like doctor’s appointments or the grocery store.

But I’m seeing people all over the place — and everyone seems to be saying the same thing! Which means, of course, that we’re all driving around judging each other and looking for an excuse to fill out the Guilford County snitch form.

But I’ve got some actual data to look at, so let’s look at the data, which is different from the numbers.

The data

  • Maybe they haven’t quite lived up to President Trump’s promise, but Google sure is spying on us! And they’re giving us a peek at the data with this portal, which tracks mobility using cell-phone data, distilled down to the county level. The latest data measures from Feb. 16-March 29. Here’s a link to the NC PDF, and a couple highlights.
    • In Guilford County, our activity is quite diminished in “retail & recreation” (down 47 percent from the baseline), “transit stations” (down 42 percent) and “workplaces” (down 39 percent). Even “grocery & pharmacy” is down 27 percent. Guilford is up 20 percent, however, in the “parks” category, which my trips to the greenway confirm.
    • “Transit” is only down 17 percent in Forsyth County, but everything else is comparable to Guilford except for the “parks” descriptor: Forsyth residents increased their travel to parks by a whopping 57 percent.
    • Our numbers are about a week ahead of these measures. Let’s take a look.

The numbers

  • Let’s start with our park-loving residents of Forsyth County, where we had an increase of 10 COVID-19 diagnoses to make it 99. Scroll down to the chart, and you’ll see that these numbers are escalating slightly.
  • Guilford County’s reporting is not as thorough as Forsyth’s. But they’re claiming 104 cases; that’s up 10.
  • We had a big spike in North Carolina today, adding 281 cases. We’ve added more than 250 cases in our state every day of April. This means we’ve started to get our testing apparatus in gear.
  • We’ve completed more than 40,000 tests now, and these NC DHHS numbers show that of their 2,870 cases, fewer than 10 percent (270) are hospitalized.

A diversion

Speaking of masks, let’s talk about the Lone Ranger: One of the country’s first heroes, though bereft of super powers, the masked gunslinger roamed the Old West with his trusty horse Silver and his sidekick Tonto atop his mount Scout, doing good and fighting crime. There’s a great list of his virtues on the Wikipedia page, which will then send you down a delightful rabbit hole. “The Lone Ranger” began as a radio program in 1933, was converted into film serials in 1938 and made the successful transition to television in 1949. YouTube has got the pilot, which aired that year on Sept. 15. I have not yet watched: Let me know if it holds up.

Program notes

  • Tonight’s featured image, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art’s public-domain collection, is a drawing of a stage set with statues and awnings by Robert Caney.
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