Number of COVID-19 cases in Craven County. The seventh case, reported by CarolinaEast Medical Center on Tuesday, has not been confirmed by state or county health agencies.

It’s news when every new COVID-19 case is added to the list in Craven County.

It’s also news when local businesses are forced to close for several days in order to undergo deep cleaning following news that an employee or customer has tested positive.

Fast forward to next week. News articles and TV segments won’t be about single cases or businesses, but lists of new cases and lists of businesses shutting down.

Add to that will be the daily tracker of how well CarolinaEast Medical Center is coping with the pandemic and whether its facilities and staff have reached or exceeded capacity.

This is not hysteria. This is reality.

Just over a month ago, President Trump said “The 15 cases within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero” and “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

On Tuesday evening, President Trump extended his social distancing order from 14 days to a month.

“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,” Mr. Trump said.

Modeling predicts somewhere between 80,000 and 200,000 deaths even with preventative measures.

Without taking measures? The death toll would soar to between 1 million and 2.5 million.

Mr. Trump said he would consider it a success if the death toll in the United States from COVID-19 is kept at 100,000.

This is not hysteria.

Stay at home, keep your distance, and wash your hands.

If you can’t stay at home (the ones who are the heroes in our society during this pandemic), then wash your hands, keep your distance, and if you feel sick, stay home.

If you are an employer, protect your workers and if you can, shut down temporarily.

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