When it comes to coronavirus, more information is better

On Sunday, the Charlotte Observer published a good story¬†on its front page about the lack of information Mecklenburg County officials were giving the public about COVID-19. (The story was on the paper’s website Friday.)

“As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, county officials have refused to reveal demographic data about people who have tested positive, locations where they may have contracted the virus or if they engaged in activities that brought them in close contact with the public.”

On Sunday night, the Mecklenburg County public health director released a great deal of information about the spread of the disease, information the Observer published on its website last night and on the front page this morning.

“ZIP code 28277, encompassing Ballantyne, Piper Glen and other south Charlotte areas, has six or more cases. Another dense cluster of six or more cases was reported in east Charlotte in ZIP code 28205, including Plaza Midwood and Central Avenue. Four ZIP codes did not have any cases: 28204, 28214, 28262 and 28036.

“About half of all known cases involve adults ages 20 to 39, officials said. In one case, a resident under age 19 tested positive for the virus, Harris said.”

I don’t know if the county released the detailed information because of the Observer’s story or because they realized that it had vital information that would help the public understand the nature and size of the virus in the county.

Information is power: it helps you understand what you’re facing and how to contextualize it. If the Observer’s coverage help spur the release of more information, then good for them; they are serving the community.