Craven County released a fresh batch of COVID-19 statistics today (June 19, 2020), and it provides no useful or meaningful information.

Here’s why:

Craven County had a super cluster of family, friends, and co-workers between mid-April and early May, which added more than 150 lab-tested cases to the county’s total, which is 289 by the county’s count, or 292 by state count.

That cluster number is mixed in the overall total, but for privacy reasons, officials only report the total number for the cluster.

Meanwhile, the county statistics about age and gender don’t give you a clear picture because cluster numbers are mixed in.

All I can do is make assumptions, which I’ll do now.

I assume that because the percentage of cases 17 and under, and 25-49 are higher than the statewide averages, then the super cluster included a lot of children and non-elderly adults.

I assume that in general, younger people don’t get tested unless asked to do so by health authorities tracking down an outbreak.

I assume that among super cluster members, COVID-19 skipped young adults, because the percentage of total cases for that age group is the same as the state — 11 percent.

Therefore I assume that the cluster skewed the county numbers away from typical, and that Craven County’s population outside the cluster would more closely adhere to the statewide statistics, which for 0-17 is nine, and for 25-49 is 45.

And I conclude that the county’s percentages for older adults (27 percent for adults age 50 and over) are atypically lower than the state (34 percent statewide), which could lull older residents here into thinking they are safer than they really are.

If the county is going to release information about this pandemic, it would be helpful for that information to be useful and not misleading.

It could be because the county’s hands are tied by HIPAA laws that protect patient identity. The county even stopped issuing race and ethnicity data since the super cluster emerged). But there are other government agencies that are releasing more specific details about their COVID-19 cases so that residents who are in harm’s way can take greater precautions.

Having said that, here are the county stats:

Craven County COVID-19 Cases by Age, Gender, Death Rate, and Mode of Transmission

AGE

0-17

18-24

25-49

50-64

65+

Percent of Total Cases

22%

11%

39%

18%

9%

GENDER

Male

Female

   Percent of Total Cases

54%

46%

DEATH RATE

North Carolina

Craven County

Per 100,000   

         11.2 *data from 6-18-20

4.89

MODE OF TRANSMISSION

Travel

Community Transmission

Direct Contact

Unknown

   Percent of Total Cases

3%

16%

80%

1%

*Rates are calculated using population estimates from the US Census Bureau

2 Comments

  1. I’m not sure if any of these numbers are accurate based upon my recent experience. My wife and I have 5 children aged 6-17. Two members of our family have compromised immune systems so we have been extremely cautious through social distancing and limiting exposure. However, my eldest son recently decided to go to a friends’ graduation party in another county (that currently has higher numbers than Craven) against our wishes and recommendations. When he returned we weren’t sure exactly how to handle the situation so I set up a tent for him in the back yard as a pseudo quarantine until we could get him tested as a precaution. That is when we found out that it is nearly impossible to get tested if you are under the age of 18 and not showing any symptoms. I spoke with our doctor, urgent care facilities, the hospital, the health departments in Craven and Cateret Counties locally. Then I reached out to Duke Hospital, Wake Med and several other places in Raleigh to no avail. Every place said the same thing that they are limiting test to only people 18 and over. I said are you telling me that my 17-1/2 year old son who more than likely was just exposed during a mass gathering is somehow less likely to spread the virus because he is a couple months shy of his 18th birthday? This is ludicrous! I can’t get a test to literally save my life. Everyone is pushing to reopen and pretending this is no big deal even though it hasn’t fully hit us yet. It’s going to be too late once it does and they realize they were the cause of spreading it to a loved one they recently lost.
    So to circle back, I can tell you if I had such a hard time getting my son tested than everyone else is probably running into the same issue because I am one of the most persistent people I know. As a result the numbers are leaving out a large portion of the population that can and will continue to spread it around.
    This is exactly what happened to Italy when they thought it was fine to go let the kids play with their friends.

  2. I agree in that I would like to see more information with some serious explanations of what the data really means. However, I really believe that the experts do not really know anything other than this transmits human-to-human from respiration. Testing, tracing, and isolation of vulnerable segments have been the things that make sense to me. We are just going to have to live with this until there is a safe vaccine or the so-called herd immunity takes over.

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