On Friday, Oct. 16, two different messages were being circulated regarding the numbers behind the COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina – with two opposing messages as to how frightened the state citizens should be.

On Friday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) released its latest coronavirus stats for the state with the alarming headline “NCDHHS Reports Highest One-Day Increase of COVID-19 Cases.” The same day, John Locke Foundation put out a video with the tagline, “COVID-19 Case Numbers Can Be Misleading. Here’s What You Should Know.”

The state is in the habit of reporting new COVID-19 numbers just about every day of the week, however, Friday’s press update from the NCDHHS was more ominous than most. It stated, “The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state’s highest one-day increase of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases to date with 2,684 new cases reported. The department is also reporting the second highest number of hospitalizations in the past 30 days, with 1,148 reported.”

The state’s press release noted that the numbers were moving in the wrong direction – up rather than down – and also stated that it’s “more important than ever that all North Carolinians use the tools we have to slow the spread of the virus: wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting at least 6 feet from others and washing your hands often.”

The four-minute video by the John Locke Foundation – which can be found at www.carolinajournal.com/video – criticizes NC Governor Roy Cooper and other state officials for using skewed information in order to justify a shutdown of the state for political purposes. The video states, for instance, that the hospitalization numbers for the disease include everyone in a hospital who has tested positive for coronavirus even when they are hospitalized for other reasons and are showing no COVID-related symptoms. It also points out that 99.75 percent of citizens in the state are not carrying the disease and therefore cannot pass it along to anyone else – despite the impression one might get from the constant barrage of news focused on the virus.