After four straight weeks in decline, active cases of COVID-19 in NC increased the next two weeks. What about last week? They were down again last week as recoveries outpaced new cases for the fifth time in the last seven weeks.

The “total case count” of COVID-19 will always go up. But just because there were 177,919 total cases as of Monday, September 7, doesn’t mean that on Monday nearly 178,000 North Carolinians were infected. Far from it.

That’s because 156,652 North Carolinians are presumed recovered from the virus.

Active cases are known cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths (2,897). There are only 18,370 active cases of COVID-19 in NC — down 231 from last week (active cases are known cases minus deaths and recoveries).

Importantly, 88 percent of NC’s known cases of COVID-19 are presumed recovered. That’s over seven out of eight cases.

People walking around virus-free all across NC

Currently, about 0.17 percent of the people you might pass in a grocery store, a public park, a restaurant, etc. in NC could be an active case of the coronavirus. That includes asymptomatic or presymptomatic cases, and research finds that they are highly unlikely to transmit the virus despite what the Cooper administration and media say:

New research finds asymptomatic transmission is rare, or better put, conceptual … there’s no science that supports this idea that asymptomatic people are the most infectious people. What research there is on the question of asymptomatic transmission is very limited and not at all what we’ve been led to believe. …

The most reliable science on COVID-19 tells us that the more you’re in close contact with someone infected and symptomatic, and the more severe the case, the higher your risk of contracting it. On the other hand, your risk from a brief encounter with someone at a grocery store, someone walking from the door to the restaurant table, or someone going past on a public sidewalk is indistinguishable from zero.

Another 1.47 percent of those people you might pass by had the virus previously but are recovered. This is math with small numbers, but that means there are 8.5 times more people who have recovered from COVID-19 in NC than who currently have an active case of the virus.

Meanwhile, over 98.3 percent of the people you might pass by in NC have never had a confirmed case of COVID-19. Not counting asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases (meaning the following percentage would be a little higher), consider what that means:

99.77 percent of the people you might pass in NC pose no risk at all of transmitting the virus to you.

P.S. Last week I didn’t provide an update on recoveries, known cases, and deaths because the state Department of Health and Human Services announced problems (surprise, surprise) with new case data reported on Saturday, August 29. As explained in The News & Observer on August 31, under the headline Conflicting numbers, information gaps: Following NC’s COVID-19 data can be frustrating: “DHHS said a report of 2,500 new cases on Saturday was inflated by about 1,000 cases that should have been reported earlier in August.” That being the case, I couldn’t trust the numbers for the most recent three weeks to be accurate.