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The NC Threat-Free Index and Immunity Update for the Week Ending September 20

Image source: Screenshot from a Sept. 13 WRAL report featuring anchor Gerald Owens and reporter Chris Lovingood unable to resist editorializing against parents and concerned citizens who rallied against forcing masks on schoolchildren before the Harnett County School Board, which voted to make face masks optional and cease inflicting psychological, physical, social, developmental, and academic harms on schoolchildren starting October 5. Owens led the report by mentioning that “this is happening even though the county has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state” and then asking Lovingood, “Why did the school board vote in favor of optional when so many people are unvaccinated?” Lovingood mentioned that one of the reasons was the “downward trend of Covid cases” in the district as well as “additional Covid protocols that they’re taking.” Lovingood concluded the live broadcast by reading a text on the air from pediatrician Lori Langdon, who he had interviewed to call parents’ concern about pathogens on children’s face masks a “myth” since surgeons with years of medical training are disciplined in proper surgical mask-wearing. Langdon’s text called the school board’s vote “Completely ridiculous. It is frustrating on a professional level. Shouldn’t experts’ opinions matter more than mob mentality”? Let the record reflect Langdon and WRAL’s opinion of parents knowing what’s best for their own children as … “mob mentality.”

This past week 99.3% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone, and more than four out of five (81.8%) adult North Carolinians are estimated to have either vaccine-induced or natural immunity.

Here is the NC Threat-Free Index for the week ending September 20:

  • As of September 20: 1,255,168 North Carolinians are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19.
  • Active cases comprised just 5.6% 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 0.7% (seven-tenths of one percent) of NC’s population (note: active cases are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus recoveries and deaths)
  • About 14 out of every 15 (93.2%) of NC’s total cases were recovered, meaning they are (a) no longer infectious and (b) have acquired persistent, long-lasting, and robust natural immunity to Covid-19
  • Only just over 0.1% of people in NC had died with COVID-19 (regardless of the actual cause of death and amid hints from DHHS and the CDC that a significant proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths were “not related to COVID-19“)
  • About 87.4% 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, 99.3% of people in NC posed no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone (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

For September 20, the estimate is now over four-fifths (81.8%) 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. (By comparison, recently released CDC research estimated combined infection- and vaccination-induced SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence for the Central and Western North Carolina Region at 81.2% (79.3%–82.9%; see Supplement 4).)

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 immunityVaccination is a means, not the end — the goal is herd immunity. That standard has been eclipsed: 68% of adult North Carolinians are partially vaccinated.

Furthermore, including vaccinated and naturally immune children (18 and under) into the mix, North Carolina is at 79.3% 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...