Editorial: Craven County needs to release more detailed COVID-19 stats

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

June 19th, 2020 by
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