Media focus with COVID-19 is on the case count, which is always rising. But a case of COVID isn’t a permanent infection. Only people with active cases of the virus can conceivably transmit the virus to you.

Your risk from someone who has never been infected or who no longer has an active case is zero. Even from people with active cases, your risk is low and it depends on several things:

Active cases

Active cases are the state’s total case count minus deaths and recoveries. This graph shows how active cases in North Carolina looked before DHHS added in antigen tests and made other data revisions vs. how they look as of Monday, Sept. 12. Please note: Relative reliability of any data from the Cooper administration has a very short shelf life.

Here are the trends as they seem from this week’s data:

  • Active cases have fallen now eight out of the past 12 weeks
  • Active cases are at still their lowest level in three and a half months, since mid-June
  • Active cases are down over one-fourth since their mid-July peak

99.75% of your fellow North Carolinians are virus-free

Here are more takeaways:

  • Only 9.7% of NC’s total case count constantly trumpeted by the Cooper administration and media are active cases
  • Active cases represent 0.21% of NC’s population; that is just over two-tenths of one percent
  • As of Monday, 206,471 people are presumed recovered from COVID-19
  • Nearly nine out of every ten (88.7%) of NC’s total cases are recovered, meaning they are no longer infectious
  • Only 0.04% of people in NC have died with COVID-19 (regardless of actual cause of death)
  • 97.8% of people in NC have never had a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • All considered, 99.75% of people in NC pose no threat to anyone of passing along a virus most have never had or the rest have recovered from

Reporting that never was

When DHHS added in antigen tests, driving the state’s case count to 204,331, do you remember how it was reported? The sudden, single-day addition of 6,142 cases — retroactive to May 10 — caused the News & Observer to write:

North Carolina is marking a grim milestone: surpassing 200,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The state blew past the number Friday with the addition of new testing data, which caused a spike of more than 6,000 cases from the day before.

Why have we not seen anything like this reported after DHHS announced 206,471 North Carolinians are presumed recovered from the virus?

North Carolina is marking a welcome milestone: surpassing 200,000 recoveries from the coronavirus.

The state blew past the number Monday with the addition of this week’s update, which saw a spike of nearly 14,000 recoveries from the week before.

The question’s rhetorical, of course. It’s well established our media have a lurid fascination with scary headlines about the virus. They refused to treat the news of recoveries surpassing 100,000 just two weeks after blanketing the state with jeremiads about cases topping 100,000. Fear sells, I guess.