COVID-19 and the zone defense

I’ve been trying to avoid commentary in this space, because I believe its value lies in accurate news, dispelled myths and timely information. I’ll write something longer next week when my thoughts about all this settle down.

Another note: I’ve got no enterprise reporting today. I tried to pull away from the news cycle — cut my lawn, made some personal calls, took a nap — and our reporters are out chasing their own stories for next week. So everything is from other sources — “curated aggregation” is what they call it. I call it the zone defense.

A few years ago, when I noticed that there weren’t enough news reporters to cover the most important stories in the Triad, I instigated the zone defense in our newsroom. This meant that if someone from another news source had a handle on an important story, we’d back off to go cover something else that needed it instead of competing for scoops. Seemed like common sense to me, but it goes against a century of newspaper strategy.

Anyway, here’s the news:

  • Guilford COVID-19 cases increase overnight from four to seven. Forsyth County cases increased from seven to 12. Seven of these cases are related to travel; four may have been community-spread.
  • The CDC website updates its numbers every day at 4 p.m. The NC Dept. of Health & Human Services has a page, too, that scrapes the CDC numbers every morning at 10:30 a.m. It’s got a county-by-county breakdown.
  • As of 7 p.m., there are 184 cases in North Carolina, with zero deaths, and 5,276 completed tests. You can read the fine print on the page.
  • The state, in line with the federal government, extended its tax deadline for individual, corporate and franchise tax.
  • Sen. Richard Burr took to Twitter to defend himself against accusations of insider trading and strong suggestions that he should resign. It was the usual: Quotes taken out of context, it was not a “secret society” he addressed, NPR is chasing a narrative, that he took the coronavirus seriously from the beginning.
  • So I guess everybody’s upset over nothing!

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