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The NC Threat-Free Index for the Week Ending May 31 — Plus a Herd Immunity Update

Image source: Screenshot of May 28 WRAL report on crowds returning to North Carolina beaches for Memorial Day weekend.

WARNING: The numbers below concern what Gov. Roy Cooper is desperately referring to as a “State of Emergency.”

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending May 31.

  • As of May 31, there were 979,410 North Carolinians presumed to be recovered from COVID-19
  • Active cases comprised just 1.1% 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 0.1% (one-tenth of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • Over 39 out of every 40 (97.6%) of NC’s total cases were recovered, meaning they are no longer infectious
  • Only just over 0.1% of people in NC had died with COVID-19 (regardless of the actual cause of death)
  • About 90.6% 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 things considered, 99.9% 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 relative growth in lab-confirmed cases vs. recoveries, and it is likely understated because it does not account for vaccinations)

Herd immunity update

Prior to Biden administration crisis overload surprising Gov. Roy Cooper into having to lift nearly all personal and business restrictions, the Cooper administration’s standard for lifting those restrictions had been “once two-thirds of adult North Carolinians have received at least one vaccine dose.”

Cooper’s two-thirds standard must actually refer to community immunity (herd immunity), I assume, rather than being another arbitrary and capricious measure. Recognizing what people and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intrinsically knew until sometime in 2020, that community immunity has two prongs — vaccine-induced immunity and natural immunity — I estimated late last week that already more than two-thirds of adults in North Carolina were immune.

Updating the numbers for the week ending May 31, the estimate is now 69.8% of adult North Carolinians with immunity. As a reminder, it is widely accepted that herd immunity from Covid-19 is with 70% of people immune. The rapid decline in virus numbers in North Carolina is also indicative that North Carolina is either at or very near herd immunity.

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...