Image source: Customers filing into the Wendell General Store, which does not require face masks of its customers. Last December owner Regina Harmon was cited by police for “defying an executive order” for the sign on her front door that said — and brace yourselves — “The Wendell General Store does not require a mask. If you choose to wear one you are welcome to!” As it turned out, people welcome such freedom and normality. According to Harmon, “We’ve been a thousand times busier because we’re willing to take a stance.”

This past week over 99.6% of people in NC were estimated to pose no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone, and nearly nine out of 10 (89.9%) adult North Carolinians are estimated to have either vaccine-induced or natural immunity.

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending December 20. All of the statistics generated for the NC Threat-Free Index are based on numbers provided by government sources. This link gives a detailed explanation of how each statistic is derived. You can compare them with the U.S. Threat-Free Index here.

  • As of December 20, there were 1,538,231 North Carolinians presumed to be recovered from Covid-19.
  • Active cases comprised just 2.6% of NC’s total case count. A case of Covid-19 isn’t a permanent infection. Only someone with an active case of the virus can conceivably transmit it to you. The total case count given banner headlines comprises active cases, the very large proportion of people who have recovered, and the very small proportion of people who have died with Covid-19.
  • Active cases represented nearly 0.4% (four-tenths of one percent) of NC’s population. Active cases are lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 minus recoveries and deaths.
  • Also, about 26 out of every 27 (96.2%) of NC’s total cases were recovered. People who have recovered from Covid-19 are no longer infectious. More importantly, a large and growing body of empirical research (“science and data”) shows that they have acquired persistentlong-lasting, and robust natural immunity to Covid-19 — immunity that is stronger against Covid-19 and its variants than even that enjoyed by those who are fully vaccinated.
  • Only 0.18% of people in NC had died with Covid-19. This statistic must be phrased in that manner (“with,” not “from”) because of the lack of clarity over the actual cause of death and because of the research finding as well as DHHS and the CDC admitting that a significant proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths were “not related to Covid-19.”
  • All things considered, over 99.6% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along Covid-19 to anyone. This estimate will fluctuate based on relative growth in lab-confirmed cases vs. recoveries.

Herd immunity, reinfections, and post-vaccination infections

For the week ending December 20:

  • Now nearly nine out of ten (89.9%adult North Carolinians are estimated to have some immunity, whether vaccine-induced immunity or natural immunity, the stronger and more durable immunity, to Covid-19. Adults are the ones most at risk of losing their jobs, access to government services, ability to travel, ability to buy groceries, etc., for not being vaccinated even though the ostensible public interest is in immunity. 
  • The total population of North Carolina is at 84.25% immunity. These estimates are based on DHHS case numbers, CDC estimates of actual infections, DHHS estimates of current vaccinations, and the formula outlined here.
  • As of December 20, there had been 14,459 reinfections for those with prior lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19, and the estimated reinfection rate was 0.9%. For reasons discussed here, the actual reinfection rate is likely much lower than the estimated rate.
  • As of December 4, per the most recent update from DHHS, there had been 112,752 post-vaccination infections, and the estimated post-vaccination infection rate was 2.1%. Given how strictly DHHS defines a “post-vaccination infection” — as of now, someone must be at least two weeks past receiving the second of two injections; anyone with only one injection or within two weeks of receiving the second “counts” as an unvaccinated case of Covid — the actual post-vaccination infection rate could be much higher than the estimated rate. (Note: DHHS has persisted in reporting over 200,000 fewer vaccinated North Carolinians than they were reporting less than a month ago. No reason for this change has been given.)
  • Also as of December 4, 24% of Covid-19 cases in North Carolina were to people considered fully vaccinated.
  • As of December 20, only about one in ten (10.1%) adult North Carolinians were estimated to have neithervaccine-induced nor natural immunity.

Note: There will be no Threat-Free Index update next week.