Image source: Screenshot of a WTVD ABC 11 story on First Friday crowds in downtown Raleigh, August 6, 2021.

This past week 99.6% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone, and over three-fourths (76.4%) of adult North Carolinians are estimated to be immune. 

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending August 9:

  • As of August 9, well over a million North Carolinians are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19 (the total is 1,025,847)
  • Active cases comprised just 4.4% 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 0.44% (fewer than one-half of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • About 17 out of every 18 (94.4%) of NC’s total cases were recovered, meaning they are no longer infectious
  • Only just over 0.1% of people in NC had died with COVID-19 (regardless of the actual cause of death and amid hints by DHHS and the CDC that a significant proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths were “not related to COVID-19“)
  • About 89.8% 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, 99.6% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone — a virus most had never 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 9, the estimate is now over three-fourths (76.4%) 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 62 percent of North Carolinians already partially vaccinated, that should be more than sufficient for North Carolinians to be past 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 72.4% immunity. As a reminder, it is widely accepted that herd immunity from Covid-19 is with 70% of people immune.

Deaths as reported vs. when they actually occurred

Unlike with previous weeks, most of the “new” deaths announced in the past week occurred within the past month. Even though 84 of the 89 deaths occurred in July through August, one of the reported “new” deaths actually occurred in October 2020. DHHS retracted two deaths from November and December 2020. Five “new” deaths occurred in January and February 2021.