Here is the NC Threat-Free Index* for the week ending February 15:

  • As of Feb. 15, there were 765,456 North Carolinians 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 less than 0.5% (one-half 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 no longer infectious
  • Only 0.1% of people in NC had died with COVID-19 (regardless of the actual cause of death)
  • Meanwhile, about 92.2% 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 considered, about 99.5% 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 the relative growth in lab-confirmed cases vs. recoveries, and it is likely understated because it does not account for vaccinations)

* As I have occasionally pointed out, a weakness in this index is that it relies on data reporting from the Cooper administration, which is notoriously transient and opaque. To help me keep an eye on the integrity of these data, I keep my own estimates of (for example) recoveries. For what it’s worth, my recoveries estimates have consistently been more optimistic than the official estimates produced weekly by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Not this week, however. The official estimate from DHHS is higher than mine by about 15,000 recoveries. Furthermore, now my estimates from previous weeks (which are based on DHHS data) are suddenly lower than DHHS’ estimates. This index uses DHHS’ estimates. Each week I update the total cases and deaths reporting based on the most recent changes to those data reported by DHHS. The only numbers in this formula that don’t change are DHHS’ weekly recoveries numbers.