The number of new, verified COVID-19 cases in Craven County has accelerated somewhat, from about one new case a day, to about two.
Craven County has reported one death, but deaths tend to follow case increases by several weeks, and it is not unreasonable to expect Craven County’s death count to start increasing within a week.
It is important to note that just one month ago, Craven County had one confirmed case of COVID-19.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported that Craven County had 29 confirmed cases of the highly virulent, frequently deadly disease.
The Craven County Health Department’s most recent report said Craven County has 26 cases, but issues this disclaimer:
“When using the NCDHHS COVID-19 site to stay up to date, please keep in mind that county case numbers may change once residency is verified. Therefore, the total number on the county map may differ from the number of NC Cases.”
Fourteen individuals have recovered and five remain hospitalized, the county health department reported.
The county health department said 15 Craven County cases are from community transmission, and four are a direct contact with a previously confirmed positive cases.
That essentially means that 15 cases were contracted from unknown local sources and four were contracted from known local sources, for a total of 19 cases contracted from within Craven County.
Medical experts such as Dr. John Campbell estimate that for every confirmed case of COVID-19, there are 10 to 20 other cases that have not been detected by the health care system.
That’s because many people who contract the disease display little or no symptoms, and for those who do have mild symptoms, they may mistake their illness for seasonal allergies, flu, or cold.
They are also mostly children and young adults, and in the case of the adults, in many cases they are the ones who are continuing to work.
Despite their asymptomatic condition, they continue to be highly contagious.
Going by that math, Craven County can expect to have 290 to 580 cases in the community, only 29 of which are know.
As the nation watches the state and city of New York go through the process of epidemic and recovery, many people thing that a recovering New York means a recovering nation.
Nothing could be further from the truth. New York may be ramping down, along with California and Washington, but other places, including Detroit and Louisiana are just getting started.
And apparently, New Bern is just getting started, as well.
This is worrisome as some members of the population that already ignored social distancing and quarantine recommendations are now blending with people who are getting antsy after weeks of staying home and going without work.
Business owners and politicians, meanwhile, are pushing for restrictions to stop so that they can resume normal business operations. One Facebook group, Reopen NC, has 1,835 followers who range from people curious to know more, to conspiracy theorists who blame G5 cellular signals and partisans who blame Gov. Roy Cooper (but not, curiously, President Trump) for shutting down the economy.
The tragedy is the lost month when the United States could have prepared for the outbreak, that time between when President Trump closed the borders to Chinese travelers and when he started ordering vital supplies to fight the disease.
Now COVID-19 is ravaging New York and looking for other vulnerable targets, such as Small Town America — such as New Bern.
Even though President Trump seems to think the news media is a bigger threat than COVID-19, there is a massive group of medical professionals around the world seeking effective treatments and a vaccine.
As long as COVID-19 stays wild and in the open, free movement of people in society will cause it to spread until a vaccine is discovered.
The best tool continues to be avoiding contact with other people.
As China has demonstrated, a well-enforced, six-week quarantine will keep the disease from spreading and allow medical professionals to keep pace with cases that do arise.
That’s not what the United States is doing.
Craven County and surrounding counties
It is worth noting that Craven County now has the same number of confirmed cases as Onslow County. Onslow County has a population of 177,772. Craven County has a population of 103,505.
Here are the numbers as reported by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as of Tuesday.
Pitt, 68 cases, 1 death – three new cases since yesterday
Craven, 29 cases, 1 death – two new cases since yesterday
Onslow, 29 cases, 1 death – unchanged since yesterday
Carteret, 22 cases, 1 death – no change since yesterday
Lenoir, 14 cases, no deaths – one less case since yesterday
Beaufort, 13 cases, no deaths – one less case since yesterday
Jones, 7 cases, 1 death – unchanged since yesterday
Pamlico, 6 cases, no deaths – unchanged since yesterday