Braggadocio is one of those words most often associated today with professional athletes and pompous politicians, but the word sprang to mind when reading the report about the number of local COVID-19 cases still active in the community.

Uh-oh, we thought, let’s not get too cocksure.

The Joint Information Center, which has been releasing information about the coronavirus in Knox County, was saying that only five “active” COVID-19 cases remain locally.

It was the kind of statement that makes us cringe.

There is much we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus. Most recently, we’ve learned there were COVID-19 related deaths even before the “first” positive test result.

Carriers may show no signs of the symptoms — no fever, no shortness of breath, no cough, not even a loss of taste or small — yet still spread the virus.

What would be closer to the truth would be to say that of those who had tested positive, now there are only five who are still self-quarantining in their homes.

We would assume the last thing those involved with the Joint Information Center want to do is feed this desire to “reopen” the economy before the time is right — to possibly cause COVID-19 to spread widely.

An asymptomatic carrier of the virus could unintentionally do a lot of damage in close quarters — with that damage then spreading exponentially.

We are pretty sure there are more than just five active cases of COVID-19 in the community, but that we only know of these five.

Of those tested so far, about 1 in 12 have tested positive; according to the U.S. Census Bureau estimate, there are almost 37,000 residents of Knox County, and of those only 211 have been tested.

The law of averages would suggest there are more active cases than local healthcare officials know about.

That we haven’t seen more cases could be because of local residents following the state’s stay-at-home order.

Those who would otherwise be out in the community unknowingly spreading the coronavirus have been hunkering down at home — and if they’ve been out have been keeping the necessary distance and taking the required precautions when in contact with others.

Those are steps we all still need to be practicing.

For while the number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 does seem to be slowing, there is no margin for error as we head into what all hope will be the last fews weeks of isolation.

We have come too far to let it all slip away now.

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