An article in the News & Observer on Monday, Nov. 9 has the scary headline, “NC rolling average for new COVID-19 cases reaches record high, breaks 2,400 cases.”
The article goes into more detail about how the number of new cases reported each day has gone up. What the article doesn’t mention is that the number of people tested has gone up. More tests result in more cases whether the incidence of the disease in North Carolina is increasing or not.
If North Carolina performed zero tests, there would be zero new cases for that day, but it would not be an indication that there were no new cases of COVID-19 in the state.
For example, on Oct. 12 there were 21,224 tests reported and 1,276 were positive. On Oct. 13 there were 20,378 tests reported and 1,734 were positive.
But on Nov. 6 there were 41,517 tests reported and 2,908 were positive and on Nov. 7 there were 37,478 tests reported and 2,676 were positive.
The percentage of positive cases also increased, but the vast majority of that increase from October is from completing nearly double the number of tests. To report the increase in positive test results and not report the increase in the total number of tests performed is misleading.
If the number of positive cases reported for a day had increased by over 1,000 with a similar number of people tested that would be alarming, but it is not alarming that more tests result in more positive test results.
The article also reports the total number of deaths since March as 4,615, but doesn’t break it down. There has still been one death of anyone under 18 and five deaths of those under 25.
The number of deaths of those over 75 is 2,707, which is 59 percent of the total number of deaths even though this age group makes up 7 percent of the people who have tested positive.