Daily corona round-up

The nature of time

Let’s discuss, for a moment, the nature of time — that ultimate tyrant that determines and defines our very lives. Time is a river, moving inexorably in but one direction. Time is a steady drumbeat that never stops. Time is transformative, time is relative, time is linear, time is non-negotiable.

For example, I’m watching real-time statistics on the website after Sayaka Matsuoka dropped this big story today, about a Greensboro Whole Foods employee who has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and the store response.

There’s 94 people looking at this story in the site right now. Eventually those eyeballs will get quantified on our master analytics, and they’ll show up on our monthly reports in May. By attracting so many eyeballs at once, the master algorithm will reward us with boosted search-engine presence because of our temporal ability to generate popular content. This will, over the next few days, increase our site’s profile in search results for the topics we cover. Of course, these are real people who will read the story, share it or talk about it, and then more people will pile on until the thing hits critical mass, which in my experience will happen some time tomorrow, after the news aggregators pick it up, and then there might be a couple hundred or more looking a the story at any given moment. Like with today’s eyeballs, the dividends pay off down the road.

But right now, it just means there’s 94 browsers tuned into the story.

The coronavirus numbers work the same way: Today’s diagnosed cases might occupy a hospital bed by the weekend. Some of them might move on to the ICU. And then there is the final sorting: recovery or death. A drop in the rate of diagnoses is good news, but the numbers must play out, and that only happens over time.

Let’s get right into the numbers to further illustrate.

The numbers

  • Guilford County booked 14 new cases to make 151, with 11 verified deaths.
  • Forsyth County has just one more, standing at 124.
  • North Carolina continues its pace: Just 132 new cases today, the lowest daily increase since March 26. We stand at 5,274 (by the N&O count).
    • State numbers: Just 117 have died, and 431 are currently hospitalized. That leaves almost 4,700 cases in limbo. And as the N&O site reminds, “Figures for the number of people who have recovered after testing positive are not available.”
    • But this site has some numbers on that, claiming that as of today, 833 North Carolinians have recovered from the virus.
    • That still leaves 3,866 unresolved cases in our state.
  • This site says we’re a couple days away from peak resource use — there’s that pesky time element — but the numbers seem to lag a couple days behind.

Some news

  • ProPublica is piling on Sen. Richard Burr, with this week’s piece about the sale of his Washington, DC townhome to a lobbyist, who paid a bit above market value.
  • PTI Airport is getting $16.4 million in stimmy through the CARES Act, for airport maintenance, debt relief and operating costs.
    • Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem got $157,000.
  • At his presser today, Gov. Roy Cooper again reiterated the folly of ending restrictions too soon. We need an increase in testing, tracing and positive trends, or something like that. Marketing!
  • Word is the NC General Assembly will reopen April 28.

A diversion

With all this talk about time, I’m promoting a diversion that takes us back almost 100 years, to 1939 and a film serial called “Buck Rogers,” which took place 400 years from now! Confused? This is Episode 1 of the film serial, based on the radio serial, which became the basis for a TV series in 1979, and then a theatrical film, a novelization, an RPG and, Wikipedia tells me, a 2001 song by the rock group Feeder. Anyway: Behold! The future is here (and sorta racist).

Program notes

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