Image source: Screenshot from the Sept. 28 WRAL story by Travis Fain and Laura Leslie trying to demonize (a) parents petitioning school boards for relief from antiscientific mask mandates against children and (b) Republicans in the General Assembly for allowing them (the piece was titled “Despite request from school boards for help, Republicans beat back efforts to end monthly mask mandate votes”). This image was actually used to illustrate the reporters’ term of “shouting matches” (no, really). Meantime, on Oct. 18, the Cabarrus County School Board — one week after voting to extend its mask mandate against children — revisited the mandate and voted to make it optional beginning Oct. 26.

This past week nearly 99.7% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone, and over seven out of eight (88.1%) adult North Carolinians are estimated to have either vaccine-induced or natural immunity.

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending October 18 (click here for an explanation of the NC Threat-Free Index):

  • As of October 18: 1,399,393 North Carolinians are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19
  • Active cases comprised just 2.5% 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 less than 0.4% (four-tenths of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • Over 26 out of every 27 (96.3%) of NC’s total cases were recovered, meaning they are (a) no longer infectious, (b) have acquired persistent, longlasting, and robust natural immunity to Covid-19, and (c) have stronger immunity against Covid-19 and its variants than even those who are fully vaccinated
  • Only 0.16% of people in NC had died with COVID-19 (regardless of the actual cause of death and amid research findings as well as admissions from DHHS and the CDC that a significant proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths were “not related to COVID-19”)
  • All things considered, nearly 99.7% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone (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, reinfections, and post-vaccination infections

For the week ending October 18:

  • Now over seven-eighths (88.1%) of 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 (note: this estimate uses DHHS case numbers, CDC estimates of actual infections, DHHS estimates of current vaccinations, and the formula outlined here)
  • Furthermore, including vaccinated and naturally immune children (18 and under) into the mix, North Carolina is at 82.2% immunity
  • As of October 18, there had been 11,511 reinfections for those with prior lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19, and the estimated reinfection rate was almost 0.8% (note: for reasons discussed here, the actual reinfection rate is likely much lower than the estimated rate)
  • As of October 2, per the most recent update from DHHS, there had been 77,250 post-vaccination infections, and the estimated post-vaccination infection rate was over 1.5% (note: given how strictly DHHS defines a “post-vaccination infection” — 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 October 2, 21% of Covid-19 cases in North Carolina were to people considered fully vaccinated
  • As of October 18, fewer than one in eight (11.9%) North Carolinians were estimated to have neither vaccine-induced nor natural immunity