The last one

If you thought missed my daily updates last week, rest assured you did not. I veered over to the sports desk for a week to cover the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament for a longform piece that should drop tomorrow or for sure on Thursday when the paper comes out. Frankly, I didn’t have the bandwidth to keep up with these missives.

Frankly, I still don’t. So this will be may last daily update. We will still keep up with stats in the paper every week, but as for this feature: I’m tapping out.

I’ve been doing the update for almost exactly one year. The first one came out the day Guilford County reported its third confirmed case of COVID-19. But for me, the pandemic really began on the third day of last year’s ACC Tournament — the day they pulled Florida State off the court, gave them the trophy and sent everybody home.

I started doing the update when we stopped making a print publication, which lasted about 10 weeks. In the beginning I filed one every day. After six months or so, I started taking weekends off. Lately I have been consumed with newspaper business — great news for TCB, but enough to make me resent the daily update just a bit. And I. donot want to besmirch its memory.

I started doing the update because it was the only way to process the news cycle, which overwhelmed the capabilities of a weekly newspaper. I started it because we were all stuck inside our homes consuming media, looking for the latest data. I started it because I didn’t have much else to do for a while, there, except spend time with my family and wonder if I was going to die on a ventilator.

The update helped me get my head around the pandemic, helped me process a difficult campaign season and its surreal aftermath, helped me think more deeply about Black culture, helped me to feel if I was at least doing something, even if at times it felt like a body count.

Perhaps more than anything else, it has made me feel connected in a way so important to extroverts like me. I missed being out there with the other humans. The daily update felt very much like a conversation. And so I’m deeply appreciative of everyone who kept up, who appreciated the public-domain art I lifted from the Met, who watched the obscure YouTube gems I uncovered as diversions.

Thank you, all.

Let’s do the numbers one last time, shall we?

The numbers

On March 20, 2020, the first day I reported the numbers:

  • Forsyth County had just recorded its eighth case of coronavirus. As of today, there have been 32,683 cases and 357 deaths.
    • Today, 49,116 residents of Forsyth County have been fully vaccinated (12.8 percent)
    • You can schedule a vaccine on Forsyth County right here.
  • Guilford County had just logged its fourth case of coronavirus. To date there have been 40,114 confirmed cases in the county, and 533 deaths.
    • Today, 54,548 residents have been fully vaccinated (10.2 percent)
    • Schedule a vaccine in Guilford County here.
  • Statewide, we had just reached 172 known cases. No one had died here yet.
    • Today: We’ve had 887,311 diagnosed cases, and 11,722 North Carolinians have died from the coronavirus.
    • So far, 11.7 percent of the state (1,222,299) has been fully vaccinated.
    • Hospitalizations have dropped to triple digits; Cone has closed its Greensboro COVID facility.
    • FEMA vaccination sites have begun operation in Greensboro and Winston-Salem and other spots across the state.
  • It’s not over, but it is ending.

A diversion

Almost 15 years ago, I helped write a short screenplay that won a couple contests and eventually found its way to the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. Yes, I was there, drinking up a literal storm with my old friends Dusty and Matt and a few others in black suits and cheap sunglasses. It might not have been the most fun I ever had, but it’s right up there. And I’m quite proud of the work, of which my efforts were but a small part.

Program notes

  • For the last one, let’s go with “Hamlet and His Mother,” from Eugéne Delacriox, 1849. French, don’t you know. They’re hunting rats. Thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s public-domain collection.
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