by Sam Hieb
I have a confession to make–I read the print edition of the New York Times every day. It’s complicated; it involves a deal within the capitalist system with my local carrier. But somehow I missed this story, so hat tip to Rhino Times county editor Scott Yost for passing along the news —via NYT—that Guilford County residents aren’t staying home like they should in the midst of the coronavirus.
The Times used information gathered from Cuebiq, a data collection firm that looked at data from every county in the United States. Compiling the data from around the country created the list of places “Where people were still traveling the most on Friday [March 27].”
Guilford County is 4th on the list that no one wants to be at the top of in these days when staying home is the smart thing to do. Guilford County followed number one Greenville County, South Carolina, number two Jefferson County, Alabama and number three Duval County, Florida. On Friday, March 27, those were the only four counties where travel still averaged over three miles a day.
….The Times article points out that not all travel is necessarily problematic, “But broadly higher levels of travel suggest more contact with others and more chances to spread or contract the disease, researchers said,” the article stated. “Counties with lax travel policies risk not only becoming the next hot spots of the disease, but also acting as reservoirs for the virus that reignite infection in places that have tamped it down, they said.”
Most interesting is the reader comments accompanying the NYT article—believe you me there’s a little bit of everything, but the money quote is from “Greg” in Lyon France:
The maps should be overlaid with population average level of education and percent of population voting for Trump. All will correlate quite well I think.
Right. Now if I’m reading the chart right, there’s dark red–indicating more travel– in Guilford County in the week beginning March 9—the week of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. While there was considerable pressure early on to lock out fans as the coronavirus became more serious, the tournament itself was not cancelled until Thursday the 12th. Also boosting travel was the face that the UNC Tar Heels were playing in the earliest rounds of the tournament for a change, and –in case you didn’t know–Guilford County has a rabid Tar Heel fan base. So doubt there was considerable travel from wide corners of Guilford county to the Greensboro Coliseum in hopes of witnessing a Blue Heaven miracle.
Numbers are what they are; but they can also be manipulated to suit one’s political agenda. Clearly this is an attempt to show NYT readers–like me–how dumb, redneck and Republican we are here in the South. As for “Greg” in Lyon……