Daily corona round-up

Lockdown, again

You’d have had to be pretty stupid to think that Gov. Cooper was going to announce the long-awaited advent of Phase 3 in North Carolina’s recovery, which was soft-booked for Dec. 11 (aka Friday), on television this afternoon.

Instead he delivered the bad news in a politician’s monotone: The state is jacked with it — 48 of our counties in the red zone and another 34 in the orange. And instead of Phase 3, a new curfew comes down on Friday: 10 p.m.-5 a.m. is the dead time, no selling booze after 9 p.m., details here.

Nobody likes it. But also, no one is staying home during these thickest days of the pandemic either. I was out in it today and the traffic is just as its always been, parking lots are full and there’s a panhandler at every intersection.

Looks like the only one taking precautions is the Alamance courthouse, where several reporters, including ours, were barred from covering a sentencing with a connection to Black Lives Matter protests there (not Greg Drumwright, but related).

Meanwhile, in Guilford County, Alan Branson rages against the dying of the light. He’s still down by about 75 votes, which gives him a better case, at least, than Trump.

The numbers

  • 4,670 today in North Carolina, 377,926 total. Combined with antigen positive cases, we’re at 404,032, which is about 3.85 percent of the state population — remember that her immunity kicks in at around 70 percent, which includes immunizations.
    • NC’s first batch of the vaccines will number 85,000 — but it’s the Pfizer vaccine which requires two doses, so 42,400 people. You’re probably not one of them.
    • I understand we’ll be getting more eventually.
    • 2,373 hospitalized. Do I need to say that’s a new high?
    • 9.7 percent positive test rate, descending.
  • Guilford County was shitty today: 609 new cases. I’ve never seen anything like it. 16,404 confirmed, 259 dead (+12), 1,596 active and 188 of those in the hospital.
  • Forsyth adds 215, for 15,134. 173 dead, 2,766 active cases.

A diversion

1969 was a groovy year, especially if you were Hugh Hefner, who published a magazine full of naked women and A-list journalism and threw televised jazz and rock parties in his penthouse. Hef’s schtick has not aged well, but in his own way he was forward-thinking. This episode opens with a hot performance by Ike and Tina Turner, which was overtly sexual and probably drug-addled. Ike anyway. But hey, that’s what 1969 was like — at least, in Hefner’s penthouse.

Program notes

  • “The Third Avenue Railroad Depot,” a painting completed in 1860, was brushed by William H. Schenck, who was superintendent of the Third Avenue Railroad Co. at the time. Note the horse-drawn streetcars and the lone hot-air balloon, which was supposed to cross the Atlantic but never did. Thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s public-domain collection.
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