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The NC Threat-Free Index and Immunity Update for the Week Ending July 26

Image source: Screenshot from a July 25 WNCT story reflecting people’s excitement in Charlotte to enjoy live music again upon the first major concert of the year.

This past week 99.8% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone, and an estimated 74.5% of adult North Carolinians are immune. Readers be advised: these numbers reflect what Gov. Roy Cooper desperately refers to as a “State of Emergency.”

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending July 26:

  • As of July 26, well over a million North Carolinians are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19 (the total is 1,005,765)
  • Active cases comprised just 1.7% 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 0.17% (fewer than two-tenths of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • About 33 out of every 34 (97.0%) 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 90.3% 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, 99.8% 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 July 26, the estimate is now 74.5% 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.

Recall that Cooper’s standard of immunity was two-thirds (66.7%) of adult North Carolinians partially vaccinated. This standard had no regard whatsoever for natural immunity from actual infection, even though that is the stronger and more durable immunity. Vaccination is a means, not the end — the goal is herd immunity. With 60 percent of North Carolinians already partially vaccinated, that should be more than sufficient for North Carolinians to be past two-thirds of adult North Carolinians with immunity.

Furthermore, including vaccinated and naturally immune children (18 and under) into the mix, North Carolina is at 70.3% immunity. As a reminder, it is widely accepted that herd immunity from Covid-19 is with 70% of people immune.

Deaths as reported vs. when they actually occurred

As with previous weeks, many “new” deaths announced in the past week actually occurred several months ago, even in 2020. There were 45 total “new” deaths announced in the past week, 35 of which (78%) had actually occurred from May 2021 on. Nine of the reported “new” deaths in the week from July 20–26 actually occurred between September 2020 to February 2021.

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...