THE 2-1-1

Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting was Saturday with Warren Buffett and vice-chairman Greg Abel answering questions from shareholders. Bill Murray called in with a question. Journalist Bill Murphy had the play-by-play in his newsletter Understandably. Murray’s question was asked on his behalf by CNBC anchor Rebecca Quick.

“Warren, this question comes from Bill Murray, the actor, who’s also a shareholder in Berkshire. He says this pandemic will graduate a new class of war veterans. Healthcare, food supply, deliveries, community services. So many owe so much to these few. How might this great country take our turn and care for all of them?”

Here’s part of what Buffett said, according to Murphy.

"Well, we won’t be able to pay, actually. It’s like people that landed at Normandy or something.

I mean the poor, the disadvantaged, they suffer. There’s an unimaginable suffering. At the same time, they’re doing all these things—they’re working 24-hour days, and we don’t even know their names. 

So, if we go overboard on something, we ought to do things that are going to help those people. 

This country, said it a lot of times before. But the history of it. I mean, we are a rich, rich, rich country, and the people that are doing the kind of work that Bill talks about, they’re contributing a whole lot more than some of the people that came out of the right womb, or got lucky and things, or know how to arbitrage bonds or whatever it may be.

In a large part, I’m one of those guys. 

So, you really try to create a society that under normal conditions with more than $60,000 of GDP per capita, that anybody that worked 40 hours a week can have a decent life without a second job and with a couple of kids. 

They can’t live like kings. I don’t mean that. But nobody should be left behind.”

There is a lot to unpack from Buffett’s answer, but the parts that echo in my head are…

we are a rich, rich, rich country,

they’re contributing a whole lot more than some of the people that came out of the right womb,

They can’t live like kings… But nobody should be left behind.

Conversations that veer toward a living wage, affordable health care benefits and lowering obstacles for the poor to reach the middle class are often derailed by labels like socialism or communism. I like how Buffett puts it.

Nobody should be left behind.

That’s not an -ism. It’s just taking care of your fellow human.

COVID-19 humbled many who were living well. Lawyers. Architects. Stockbrokers. The white-collar world took this disaster on the chin. That doesn’t happen often. COVID-19 has redefined what essential really means. It should also show us the value of not leaving anyone behind, be it a lawyer or a grocery store clerk.

--  Kevin Maurer

(H/T to Bill Murphy. Subscribe to his newsletter here.)
For new subscribers, we’re sending out this newsletter in an effort to track the coronavirus impact on the Cape Fear Region. Cape Fear Collective (CFC) is using NC 2-1-1 - a service run by the United Way of North Carolina. It allows residents to get free, confidential information and referrals related to community services. Consider It a metaphorical flashlight, allowing us to see trouble spots.
This update covers March 16 through May 3 for New Hanover, Onslow, Brunswick, Columbus, and Pender Counties. The archive of past weeks can be found here.
If you have comments, questions or suggestions, send us an email at or look us up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Here is Dr. Chris Prentice, a UNCW professor and data advisor to the Cape Fear Collective and Nick Pylypiw, director of data science for the Cape Fear Collective, with a breakdown of the data. 

Although the data offers a useful window into peoples’ needs, the sample size is relatively small from a statistical standpoint. So, we shouldn’t overreact to these insights or use them in isolation to make policy and management decisions.
  • We saw a big surge in most needs for the month following President Trump’s National Emergency declaration on March 13th, but the nature of requests has shifted somewhat in the last several weeks.
  • Total requests declined this week, sharply in some cases. However, we're quick to reiterate a caution from previous weeks: These data only capture new requests, not overall need. Callers who received referrals weeks ago still may require assistance but would not need to call 2-1-1 again to know where to go for help.
  • The exception to the overall trend is the moderate uptick in Healthcare requests. We'll be keeping a close eye on this metric in the coming weeks, especially as restrictions are relaxed.
  • Though requests for the week may be down from the previous week, smoothing the county level series reveals that all five counties are trending up and registering well above typical levels.
  • Looking at total requests since the beginning of last year, all counties had been trending down and were nearing pre-Florence levels before the COVID-19 outbreak.
New Hanover: Food, employment and income, and disaster-related needs saw the biggest jumps in the month starting March 14th. These needs remain high, but calls have started to taper in the last several weeks. Housing and Shelter calls are resisting the overall declining trend and are actually increasing in New Hanover County.
Onslow: Calls are declining in most categories for the last several weeks in Onslow County. Notably, Housing and Shelter requests, which initially plummeted in the month starting March 13th, have steadily climbed the last 2 weeks (though they still remain below typical levels).
Brunswick, Columbus, Pender: Food, employment and income, and disaster-related needs saw the biggest jumps in the month starting March 14th, but calls have started to taper in the last several weeks. We’ve seen some minor fluctuation over time, but these needs remain high. More recently, Housing and Shelter requests started to trend higher as well.


Now that we've had a few weeks to analyze the data, we're hoping to use these insights to create a dialogue with our partner organizations throughout the community. By combining these insights, and the feedback from each of you, with the other data sources we are maintaining, we hope to continue to provide valuable insight back to the community.
CFC is working to establish a true snapshot of health, opportunity, and disparity in New Hanover County. We believe that data should be current, accurate, and accessible to every organization and citizen. To learn more about the Cape Fear Collective’s data and analytics work, click here.
If you have comments, questions, or suggestions then send us an email at or look us up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


UNCW’s Dr. Rachel Carroll, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and Dr. Mark Lammers, professor and director of UNCW’s Data Science Program, have developed two tools that track COVID-19 cases in the Cape Fear region.
Carroll created a spatial-temporal tool that maps COVID-19 in the United States, North Carolina and the Cape Fear Region. Lammers developed a visualization tool that tracks COVID-19 cases by county in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. He wanted to do something more locally focused.
Both tools update daily using data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.


Cape Fear Collective and the Wilmington Chamber partnered with RTI International to bring a comprehensive skills analysis to our six-county region. The survey data will provide current and regionally-specific information for policy makers in workforce, education and economic development.  As an employer, whether in a large corporation, small business, nonprofit organization or government agency, please take a few minutes to complete the survey today.
SHARE Cape Fear provides an online portal for nonprofit organizations, including faith-based groups and churches with 501(c)3 status, to build a profile, set up a wish list, and call for volunteers. Neighbors to the site are able to connect with those organizations and sign up to help either through monetary or goods donation or volunteering. Registration for SHARE Cape Fear is free. For more information, visit


Here is a collection of links with the latest information on COVID-19. This is a rolling list and we’ll update as needed. If you find a helpful link, please send it and we’ll include it on the list.
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