Image source: March 2 WRAL story on the State of the Union address. A year ago Pres. Joe Biden described the policies he espoused as “Neanderthal thinking,” though the seven-day average of new cases are slightly higher now than they were then. Something changed, and all but the most adept practitioners at Doublethink are able to see exactly what.

This past week 99.7% of people in NC were estimated to pose no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone. Furthermore, 98.8% of adult North Carolinians — and 97.5% of North Carolinians of any age — are estimated to have either been at least partially vaccinated or acquired natural immunity against Covid-19 or both. (See this discussion about those percentages, “How Come the Immunity Estimates Are So High When Case Numbers Are So High?“)

Note: After this week, the NC Threat-Free Index will move to biweekly rather than weekly updates. Congress, the president, media, and guests just gathered indoors, “unmasked,” for an interminable amount of time, and Gov. Roy Cooper once again had to revise his mask orders suddenly to align with the president and his party’s political needs (not showing up face-swaddled as an abject failure before the entire nation at his State of the Union address over a year into office despite having promised, ignorant of Canute, that he could order a virus to recede) and declare that the revision was based on “emerging science.” By and large, our media believe him. 

The past few months have made it clear now to nearly all of us just how political the Covid-19 orders have always been. An “emergency” in which the leaders who declared it behave as if nothing is wrong is no emergency in any plain understanding of the word, and neither is an “emergency” declared for the express purpose to “draw down federal funds.” 

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending February 28. 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.

  • As of February 28: over 2.5 million North Carolinians (2,534,052) were presumed to be recovered from Covid-19.
  • Active cases comprised just 1.3% 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 0.3% of NC’s population. Active cases are lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 minus recoveries and deaths.
  • Also, about 49 out of every 50 (97.9%) 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 0.2% 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.” A recent investigative report found that 1 in 3 Covid patients at UNC Health and a whopping 60% of Covid patients at WakeMed had gone to the hospital for non-Covid reasons.
  • All things considered, 99.7% 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.

Immunity, protection, post-vaccination infections, and reinfections

For the week ending February 28:

  • Now 98.8% of adult North Carolinians are estimated to have some protection against Covid-19, whether it’s through vaccination (this group alone is at 75%) or the stronger and more durable natural immunity from prior infection (there are as of this date 150 research studies attesting to the strength of natural immunity) or both. 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. 
  • Conversely, as of February 28, only 1.2% of adult North Carolinians were estimated to have neither vaccine-induced protection nor natural immunity. 
  • Looking at the total population, 97.5% of North Carolinians are estimated to have some protection against Covid-19. These estimates are based on DHHS case numbers, CDC estimates of actual infections, DHHS estimates of current vaccinations, and the formula outlined here.
  • The above estimates are based on the percentage of North Carolinians at least partially vaccinated (some vaccine-induced protection) and an estimate of natural immunity based in the total case count and the CDC actual infections multiplier (one in four; see discussed here). The CDC multiplier has an uncertainty interval of one reported case per 3.4 to 4.7 infections. Estimates based on the percentage of North Carolinians fully vaccinated and the percentage with natural immunity using the lower bound of the CDC actual infections multiplier would yield the following: 94.4% of adults, and 91.7% of all North Carolinians, with immunity or protection.
  • The most recent update from DHHS found 507,977 post-vaccination infections among 6,044,854 fully vaccinated individuals, and the estimated post-vaccination infection rate for the week ending February 14 was 8.4%. 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.
  • Also as of the week ending February 14, 41% of Covid-19 cases in North Carolina over the previous week were to people considered fully vaccinated. That proportion has been steady, if not increasing, since late December 2021. For the month of January, 40.6% of Covid-19 cases in North Carolina were to people considered fully vaccinated — up from 35.0% in December.
  • As of the week ending February 14, there had been 83,574 reinfections for those with prior lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19, and the estimated reinfection rate was 3.5%. For reasons discussed here, the actual reinfection rate is likely much lower than the estimated rate.