Craven County reported its seventh and eight deaths from COVID-19-related causes, the first time since April that Craven County has had more than one death per month.
Craven County’s first COVID-19 case was reported in mid-March, and the first death of COVID-19 causes occurred on April 9.
It was the first of four deaths in April. That might lead reasonable people to be concerned about the pandemic.
Then there was a lull.
More than a month passed from the last death in April (April 21) until the next death, which occurred on May 27.
It was almost another month before the next death on June 19.
But then on July 7, the Craven County Health Department reported the seventh and eighth deaths (actually recorded on July 2 and July 6).
Why so many deaths in April, and then three months pass before anything like it?
In short: Social distancing and masks.
Few preventive measures were in place during the first weeks of the pandemic in Craven County. Local officials bided their time, waiting for state and federal guidelines about how to proceed.
It’s easy sitting on the sidelines to second-guess whether that was the right decision. They could have closed schools and other activities that are high-risk for COVID-19, but they didn’t.
And four people died as the result.
Letting the governor take the heat for imposing restrictions, Craven County and its cities locked down until phased lifting of restrictions on May 8 and May 22.
As cases continue to mount in Craven County (405 as of Tuesday), it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks that a large number of people started paying attention to preventive measures as restrictions were reimposed.
Many were spoon-fed propaganda from Fox News. Others like their GOP propaganda even spicier, choosing Newsmax, OAN, QAnon and other sources actually aimed at those who Hillary Clinton described as “deplorables.”
These people saw masks as some sort of anti-Trump measure concocted by child-molesting Democrats wanting to take control of Congress and the White House in November.
And they have two deaths on their hands — and counting.
All along the way, they came up with counter-argument talking points to explain away what was happening around the nation and the world:
That COVID-19 was no worse than the flu (it is much worse); that COVID-19 deaths weren’t really COVID-19 deaths (people are having their lives cut short, either directly or indirectly due to the virus); that the pandemic would magically go away by April (no comment); that come hell or high water, no one was going to take away their right to not mask up.
It’s time to stop playing political games. Things are getting serious.