The information wars

Mecklenberg to “stay at home,” Durham to follow

Our elected officials can’t seem to agree on who deserves to be helped. Our president, who has already spread dangerous misinformation, wants everything back on track by Easter. Misinformation abounds on social media and elsewhere — in China, seems like they’re claiming it’s an American virus.

Here in the Triad, on the ground, things are as real as it gets.

  • Guilford and Forsyth counties both recorded new cases of COVID-19. Forsyth jumped from 12 to 14 (+2). Guilford increased from 11 to 16 (+5). One of Guilford’s patients, recovering at High Point Hospital, is the first COVID-19 patient at a Wake Forest Baptist Health facility. Another — or maybe the same one, hard to say due to privacy concerns — is an Aggie. NC A&T reported today that a member of its community tested positive for COVID-19. They could not say whether it was a member of the student body, faculty or staff. That’s 30 cases total, no deaths and no recoveries.
  • In Greensboro, Melvin Municipal Building will be closed to the public beginning Thursday. There are other useful updates at this city government site as well.
  • Winston-Salem City Hall and other facilities will also be closed to the public beginning Wednesday. The W-S city site also has a coronavirus update page with useful information about city government and services.
  • No one has died from the coronavirus in the state of North Carolina, according to all sources as of 6:15 p.m. And a word about the data.
  • Yesterday I puzzled as to why the News & Observer‘s statewide count had been so far ahead of the others. They’re running a fantastic widget on all their coronavirus pages with an interactive map, a list of county totals and a chart showing the state’s daily increase of diagnosed cases, among other tools. Today I got some answers courtesy of Brooke Cain, David Raynor and Dawn Vaughan of the N&O.
    • It’s pretty dope, if you’re into this sort of thing. They’re keeping individual eyes on all 100 counties as they update. But then they’re tuning into government and medical social media accounts and other official sources to hear of new cases, and then they’re chasing down and verifying those before adding them to the tally. Raynor, the database editor, says that each day, “we compare what we have with what DHHS reports on their site. Generally, we already have what they report, but a few we missed so we add those to our total. So we’re always ahead of them.”
    • Outstanding.
    • Anyhow, the N&O puts the total cases in the state at 487, as of 6:37 p.m., with 76 new cases today — trending downward! No deaths, no recoveries, no serious cases.
    • Of the state’s 487 cases, 142 are on Mecklenberg, 29.1 percent. Wake and Durham counties have 137 between them. Guilford and Forsyth counties are ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively (and intuitively). And we have completed at least 8,502 tests.
  • Mecklenberg County goes on lockdown. The county, in conjunction with the city of Charlotte and other towns within, issued , similar to a “shelter in place.” It prohibits public and private meetings of more than 10 people. And everybody needs to stay home except for “essential services,” “essential activites,” “essential businesses” and government work.
    • These include, in this order: healthcare and public health; law enforcement, public safety and first responders; food and agriculture; energy; water and wastewater; transportation and logistics; public works; communication and information technology;” community-based government operations; human services; critical manufacturing; and hazardous-waste disposal.
  • Durham Mayor Steve Schewel is expected to make a similar announcement tomorrow morning.

A diversion

Follow the trail on this viral (in a good way) episode of the podcast “Reply All” — about a forgotten radio hit and efforts to duplicate, and thus remember, it — and it leads to Greensboro’s Evan Olson. I had been meaning to write about this before the shit hit the fan, so here ya go.

Program notes

  • I’m changing the feature photo on these missives from our tile to something more… I don’t know… abstract? I’m using public-domain images from the National Gallery of Art — one of the wonderful things our tax dollars pay for. This one is “Hail America,” a print by Joseph Pennell from 1909.
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