The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The CDC confirms over 196,000 Americans have now died from the disease caused by the coronavirus; the World Health Organization estimates that the US death toll is now over 200,000.
You've most likely heard by now about Mecklenburg County's computer glitch that sent out false reports to over seven thousand residents that they had tested positive for COVID-19. That glitch did NOT make its way into the state reports on the number of cases in North Carolina.
As of Tuesday morning (Sept. 15th) North Carolina has had 186,887 positive cases of COVID-19 and there are 916 people currently hospitalized. There have been 3,111 deaths in the state.
According to the CDC, as of Monday, September 14th, the deaths per 100,000 in North Carolina is 29. Our population is estimated at about 10.5 million people.
South Carolina, whose population is a bit less than half that of North Carolina, reported 701 new COVID-19 cases and 22 additional confirmed deaths Tuesday; that brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases there to 130,917, probable cases to 2,553, confirmed deaths to 2,943, plus 155 probable deaths. If North Carolina's death rate from COVID-19 had been the same as South Carolina's, we would have over twice as many deaths as we have.
While North Carolina's statewide percentage of positive tests is hovering just over 5% for the last several days, South Carolina reported 15.7% positive on Tuesday.
Georgia reported 296,833 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon. That includes 1,571 new cases. The state also had 48 more deaths, bringing its total now to 6,398. Georgia's population, by the way, is about the same as North Carolina's. We've had about 100,000 less confirmed cases and less than half as many deaths.
North Carolina's death rate related to the coronavirus is the 20th lowest in the nation. Georgia, like South Carolina, has experienced 60 deaths per 100,000. Florida has had 59 deaths per 100,000.
The states who have had the most deaths per 100,000 population are New Jersey (180), New York (170), Massachusetts (134), Connecticut (126), Louisiana (113) and Rhode ISland (101). North Carolina's death rate is only slightly more than South Dakota (21) and North Dakota (22). Those states had the fewest restrictions related to trying to stop the spread of the disease, and only recently have they had big increases in new cases.
South Dakota, with an estimated population of just under a million people, had 1,529 new cases reported in the last seven days (as of Monday Sept. 14th) according to the CDC. North Carolina had 8,035. Had our rate of new cases been the same as South Dakota's, we would have had over 15,000 new cases.
North Dakota, population less than 800,000, reported 2,030 new cases. Had our rate of new cases been the same, we'd have had over 20,000 new cases.
South Carolina reported 6.912 new cases in the last week. Georgia had 11,195; Florida, 17,319; Tennessee, which has a population of just under seven million, had 7,698--almost as many as North Carolina.
Some of those states who have had the highest death rates were among the first to impose serious restrictions, and as a result, their number of new cases has declined significantly. New York, population over 20 million, had 3,071 new cases. New Jersey, population about nine million, had 2,576 new cases. Massachusetts, populaton about seven million, had 2,177. Connecticut, population about 3.6 million, had only 961. Louisiana, population a little less than five million, did not do as well; they had 4,626 new cases.
The restrictions related to the pandemic vary from state to state. South Dakota still has the fewest restrictions (almost none). Hawaii has the most. The Aloha state moved from 37 to 51, down 14 positions on the latest list of rankings by the personal finance website WalletHub. The state has limited gatherings to 10 people and has ordered regional closures as schools reopened, plus new service limits for reopening restaurants and bars, and a limited statewide quarantine.
North Carolina, moving to Phase 2.5 of Governor Roy Cooper's reopening plan, moved up from 49 to 38. Under Phase 2.5 the state has expanded its limit on large gatherings to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors, allowed gyms to reopen with certain restrictions supposedly in place, although for the most part not being followed.
Behind South Dakota, the states with the fewest restrictions are Utah, Oklahoma, Iowa, Wyoming, Arkansas and North Dakota. The Dakotas and Iowa had some of the highest percentages of positive tests for the virus over the last two weeks.
Behind Hawaii with the most restrictions are California, Virginia, and Massachusetts. You can see the full list at https://wallethub.com/edu/states-coronavirus-restrictions/73818/.
Nationwide, while the number of new cases and the death toll from the disease continues to grow, it is growing at a slower pace than it was a month ago. The last three weeks have seen both the daily reports of new cases and the number of new deaths shrink in many states.
Lincoln County's number of active cases increased from 132 Friday to 138 Tuesday according to the latest report from the Health Dept. 16 people are awaiting results of their tests. The county has still had only 14 deaths from the disease.
Gaston County's active case count also increased--it's now 1,218, and since the Friday report, the number of deaths there has increased to 75 (up by seven). The good news is that the latest report on the percentage of positive tests in Gaston County is once again under 10%. For the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5, Gaston's positive rate was 8.1%--the lowest it has been since June. 36 Gaston County residents were hospitalized relative to COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Catawba County also added two more deaths to its total--now 51. The county has had new cases in the teens for the past several days--18 on Tuesday.
Cleveland County also had two more deaths; their total is now 53. Their active case count increased by ten to 160.