Image source: Screenshot of an Aug. 20 news story in which a bare-faced WRAL reporter Leslie Moreno points at a sign posted by downtown Raleigh retro sports apparel store The Vault Raleigh that reads “Masks Are Prohibited While Shopping At The Vault Raleigh.” As stated in the story (considered “news” because it is so critically important for WRAL to try to create a public enemy out of any entrepreneur not complying with demonstrably ineffective edicts): “Josh Breed, owner of the Vault, says that face masks are ineffective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, and that people need to ‘show their face’ while in his store. He’s concerned about thieves trying to rob the store and says they could be hiding behind a face mask … .Breed says he believes this new no-mask policy is keeping his staff safe.”

This past week 99.4% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone, and well over three-fourths (78.6%) of adult North Carolinians are estimated to be immune.

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending August 23:

  • As of August 23, 1,079,555 North Carolinians are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19.
  • Active cases comprised just 5.9% of NC’s total case count (note: a case of COVID isn’t a permanent infection, and only someone with an active case of the virus can conceivably transmit it to you)
  • Active cases represented 0.64% (just over six-tenths of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • About 13 out of every 14 (92.9%) of NC’s total cases were recovered, meaning they are (a) no longer infectious and (b) have acquired persistent, long-lasting, and robust natural immunity to Covid-19
  • Only just over 0.1% of people in NC had died with COVID-19 (regardless of the actual cause of death and amid hints from DHHS and the CDC that a significant proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths were “not related to COVID-19“)
  • About 89.1% people in NC had never had a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, despite the PCR test cycle threshold set so high as to produce a large amount of false positives (note: this proportion will always decline, but we have been living with this virus since February 2020, as far as testing is concerned)
  • All things considered, 99.4% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone — a virus many have never even had and the rest had recovered from (note: this proportion will fluctuate based on relative growth in lab-confirmed cases vs. recoveries, and it is likely understated because it does not account for vaccinations)

Herd immunity update

For August 23, the estimate is now well over three-fourths (78.6%) of adult North Carolinians with immunity (vaccine-induced immunity and natural immunity), using CDC estimates of actual infections and DHHS estimates of current vaccinations and the formula outlined here.

Recall that Cooper’s standard of immunity was two-thirds (66.7%) of adult North Carolinians partially vaccinated. This standard had no regard whatsoever for natural immunity from actual infection, even though that is the stronger and more durable immunity. Vaccination is a means, not the end — the goal is herd immunity. With 64 percent of North Carolinians already partially vaccinated, that should be more than sufficient for North Carolinians to be past the two-thirds goal of adult North Carolinians with immunity.

Furthermore, including vaccinated and naturally immune children (18 and under) into the mix, North Carolina is at 75.0% immunity.