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The NC Threat-Free Index and Immunity Update for the Week Ending July 5

Image source: Screen shot from the recent WRAL report on people celebrating Independence Day in Fayetteville.

Over the past few weeks, the NC Threat-Free Index has included a disclaimer alerting readers that its numbers reflect what Gov. Roy Cooper refers to as a “State of Emergency.” Such a disclaimer seems necessary given there is such a massive gulf between what those numbers show and what any reasonable person could possibly call an “emergency.”

Cooper’s abuse of language and the Emergency Management Act calls to mind the very reason I started this index last year. As I wrote,

Normally, government officials and media consider it their public duty to calm people and tamp down unhealthy, irrational fears. Not this year. Apparently, part of their vision of a “new normal” involves terrified reporters terrifying viewers and terrific outrage at people who aren’t sufficiently terrified.

I prefer my media-fed mass hysterias narrated by Orson Welles.

I’m reminded of how great leaders responded to fearful crises. Their words were inspirational:

This present response, however, cannot be said to inspire anything noble or commendable — only shame and distaste.

With that said, here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending July 5:

  • As of July 5, there were an estimated 996,500* North Carolinians presumed to be recovered from COVID-19
  • Active cases comprised just 0.6% 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 0.06% (six-hundredths of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • Over 49 out of every 50 (98.1%) 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 90.5% 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, over 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)

Community immunity update

For June 21, the estimate is now 71.7% of adult North Carolinians with immunity (vaccine-induced immunity and natural immunity), using CDC estimates of actual infections and DHHS estimates of current vaccinations and the formula outlined here.

As a reminder, it is widely accepted that herd immunity from Covid-19 is with 70% of people immune. Furthermore, the ongoing, rapid decline in virus numbers in North Carolina (new cases are down 77% just since May 14, when Cooper lifted nearly all restrictions) is also indicative that North Carolina is either at or very near herd immunity.

Deaths as reported vs. when they actually occurred

Also, unlike with previous weeks, most of the “new” deaths announced in the past week occurred in the past two months. There were 35 total “new” deaths, and 35 that had occurred from May 2021 on. Five “new” deaths were announced from August–October 2020, but they were offset by five deaths retracted that had previously been reported in November 2020–January 2021.


* As of this writing, DHHS has not provided this week’s estimate of recoveries, although they are supposed to be provided on Mondays not later than 4 p.m. The estimate is therefore my own.

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...