Daily corona round-up

The language of coronavirus

We’re deep into this thing now — almost nine weeks since the St. Patrick’s Day Meltdown — and just as the numbers have been piling up, so have the things we’ve learned about the disease. So it’s a good time to reiterate some style points.

When we report state and county numbers, we are referring to the number of cases of COVID-19 that have been discovered through verified testing. COVID-19 is the disease caused by coronavirus infection, kind of like HIV/AIDS. Testing positive for coronavirus is not the same thing as testing positive for COVID-19, though many news outlets seem to be using these terms interchangeably.

A person can test positive for the presence of coronavirus without having COVID-19, and they might never exhibit symptoms. They’re carriers, like people with brown eyes who make blue-eyed babies.

And the numbers we report are running totals. Subtract the number of dead, which is widely reported, and the number of recoveries, which is not, and you approximate the number of active cases that we know about through testing and reporting. People who have not been tested do not get counted.

This is my understanding of it so far, but reporting standards across the state are changing. Look for some reporting on that soon. Meanwhile…

Some news

The numbers

  • North Carolina saw a sharp decline in discovered cases today — just 281, according to the N&O‘s accelerated count.
    • But these guys have us at 329 today, still on a downward trend.
    • They also note 10 new deaths, for a total of 574 in our state.
  • Some perspective:
    • There are more than 4.24 million discovered cases worldwide.
    • The US has the most discovered cases by far with 1.38 million, including 13,462 new ones today. Next closest is Spain with 268,143.
    • Of those 1.38 million, more than 1 million are considered “active.”
    • 81,538 Americans have died of COVID-19 so far, including 751 new ones so far today. Next closest is the United Kingdom, with 32,065 deaths.
    • 260,161 Americans have recovered from COVID-19.
    • NC is 20th on the list of states ranked by discovered cases, largely because we didn’t get serious about testing until this month. We’re tucked in between Tennessee (15,544) and Iowa (12,373). New York is still the hottest state, with 345,987 discovered cases (more than Spain) and 26,874 deceased.
  • Guilford County starts the week with 601 total cases discovered, 125 hospitalizations, 276 recoveries and 37 deaths.
  • Forsyth County adds 9 for 375 total, 95 recoveries, five deaths.

A diversion

The legendary comic actor Jerry Stiller passed this week. Best known as George Costanza’a farther from “Seinfeld” — inventor of Festivus — or perhaps Ben Stiller’s father in real life, Stiller and wide Anne Meara were a pioneering comedy team in the early days of television, with hundreds of TV and film credit between them and among them. Here’s a early clip of Still & Meara on the game show “He Said, She Said,” a precursor to “The Newlywed Game,” which no one under 50 has ever heard of. I have not watched it yet, but I’m betting it does not age well.

Program notes

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