After the thunderstorm

Last evening a vicious wind cut through Greensboro, felling trees and power lines and, in my own backyard, irredeemably destroying a brand-new patio umbrella. The kind with the solar panel on top and lights underneath.

Hours before sunrise a strange, slow thunder tumbled its way across town, its shroud of dark clouds delaying the dawn.

But after the sun burned through, damn if it didn’t turn into a beautiful day today, crisp and fresh like a sweaty jar full of ice water. I know this because, though I haven’t left the property today, I’ve probably walked around my house three full times, spent a cumulative 90 minutes in the backyard — some of it contemplating the ruin of the patio umbrella, wondering if it could be salvaged.

It cannot.

This day, however, is full of redemption. Let’s go deep into the numbers to see what I mean.

The numbers

  • I’ll start off by saying the numbers aren’t good. They’re never good. These are our fellow human beings we’re discussing, and most of the people we write about here are our neighbors in Guilford and Forsyth County. Besides a most painful experience, just the diagnosis of COVID-19 must be terrifying for everyone involved. And so every new COVID-19 case affects spouses, children, parents, friends, coworkers and others.
  • By April 7, COVID-19 was the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. USA Today has one of those cool graphic charts chronicling its rise.
  • 1,666 Americans died of the disease today as of 6 p.m.
  • Forsyth County has found five more cases for a total of 113, but still counting just two deaths.
  • Guilford County added just three cases, for a total of 125. But there’s something troubling behind this.
    • At nine deaths, Guilford is second in the state, after Mecklenberg County where 10 have died but 861 have been diagnosed. For comparison, Durham County has counted just one death, and Wake County has none, with 243 and 385 cases, respectively.
    • The relationship between diagnosed cases is generally linear, so there’s always a delayed effect.
    • Like we say in the newsroom: More reporting is needed.
  • But hey, something good: True, the death rate in the state is escalating — 72 today, a 14.3 percent jump. But as we’ve mentioned, that’s tied to a big jump in cases a couple days ago. And our rate of increase in diagnosed cases has been in decline for three days straight. A trend!
  • But hey — this doesn’t mean you can have a cookout with all your friends. It means that the measures we’ve been taking are working. Here’s some more charts to hammer it home.
  • These guys say we can probably handle what’s coming if we stay the course.

A diversion

Ya herd? We’re all staying home. In honor of that, I present a classic locked-room mystery done in the film-noir style. The Kennel Murder Case, a Philo Vance adventure from 1933, stars William Powell as Vance, Mary Astor and a slew of other incredibly basic old-Hollywood tropes.

Program Notes

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