Despite what you may be hearing from the media – and even from our Governor – North Carolina shows no signs of a spike in COVID-19 cases. In his research analysis this week, Dr. Donald van der Vaart, former secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, explained the numbers North Carolina is seeing do not even remotely resemble a spike. Dr. van der Vaart writes:
The above graph shows that the total number of tests performed in North Carolina has been increasing. While we still lag New York, inexplicably, in performing tests, it is clear that as the number of tests goes up, so too does the number of (positive) cases increase…
To take into account reporting hiccups, one can look at the seven-day average for the ratio of positives to total tests, as I do here:
Dr. van der Vaart then examines COVID-19 hospitalizations:
But what about hospitalizations? Remember, the graph above simply says the ratio is constant or decreasing, but there are still more cases being found (due to the administration of more tests). Some of those cases require hospitalization, and so hospitalizations are going up too…
If we look at the number of hospitalizations as a fraction of total positives, that is, the fraction of the population that tested positive and are hospitalized, here is the result:
Dr. van der Vaart reports on deaths as well:
The death rate is a lagging indicator, but it has been remarkably constant. North Carolina ranks last in the country for reporting excess deaths to the Centers for Disease Control, which is the only reliable way of tracking COVID-19 deaths. So, the NC DHHS numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, even using their numbers, there is no evidence of a spike.
Dr. van der Vaart writes:
North Carolina does not show any signs of a spike. The narrative from the Cooper administration is consistently devoid of science and data. There is certainly very little to base a prolongation of current restrictions.