North Carolina’s COVID-19 toll has passed 1 million cases and 13,000 deaths

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North Carolina reported its 1 millionth positive test for COVID-19 on Thursday, 450 days after reporting its first.

More than 13,000 North Carolinians have died due to the virus, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The pandemic has had a broad effect on society, including public health, the economy, education and politics.

Dr. Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina, told The News & Observer that in his four-decade career, he has never seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a physician and a public health person for 40 years, there’s really nothing like this,” Cohen said. “This is like the beginning of the HIV pandemic on steroids.”

Cohen said crucial lessons have been learned during the pandemic, such as knowing how diseases like COVID-19 primarily spread — through respiratory droplets in close contact with other people.

But to be ready for another pandemic, Cohen said, politicization of infectious diseases needs to stop.

“Politicizing an infectious disease never makes sense,” Cohen said. “It’s still politicized. That’s very unfortunate because we need to get past that getting ready for the next pandemic.”

Infections and deaths are the numbers by which the pandemic will be measured, but other numbers tallied over the past 15 months illuminate the breadth and depth of its effect. Here are some of them:

Clockwise from upper left: A nurse cares for a COVID patient in the ICU at UNC Hospital on Thanksgiving Day of 2020, Governor Roy Cooper wears a mask during one of his many COVID briefings, Funeral director Herbert Richardson closes the casket of Cleora W. Mann after the final viewing before her burial on Friday, May 1, 2020, and empty vials of PfizerÕs COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID vaccine clinic January 7, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic by the numbers in North Carolina

Total population: 10.5 million

People who tested positive for COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic: 1,000,416, 9.5%

Deaths due to COVID-19: 13,055

Deaths due to the flu since September 2019: 193

Most deaths in one day due to COVID-19: 127 on Jan. 15

Deaths due to COVID-19 in nursing homes and residential care facilities: 5,484; 42%

Percentage of N.C. population that is white: 63%

Percentage that is Black: 22%

Percentage that is Hispanic: 9.8%

Percentage of COVID-19 deaths that were white: 55.1%

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Percentage that were Black: 23.4%

Percentage that were Hispanic: 7%

People fully vaccinated: 4,030,074; 38% of total

Percentage of adults fully vaccinated: 49%

Percentage of people fully vaccinated by race:

  • White: 2,505,507; 62.2%

  • Black: 670,988; 16.6%

  • Hispanic: 264,229; 6.6%

Peak hospitalizations due to COVID-19: 3,992 on Jan. 13

Total number of COVID-19 tests administered: 13,172,092

People in 10 most populous counties: 4,820,470; 45% of total

People fully vaccinated in 10 most populous counties: 1,976,656; 48.2%

People in 90 least populous counties: 5,780,353; 55% of total

People fully vaccinated in 90 least populous counties: 2,003,482; 48.9% of total

People fully vaccinated from out of state: 71,348

Adults who are vaccine hesitant: 2.4 million; 29% of total

Percentage of Black adults who are vaccine hesitant: 39%

Percentage of white adults who are vaccine hesitant: 26%

Percentage of adults with previous COVID-19 infection who are vaccine hesitant: 47%

Percentage of adults with no previous infection who are vaccine hesitant: 27%

COVID-19 executive orders issued by Gov. Roy Cooper: 69

Bills related to the coronavirus introduced in the state legislature: 90

Bills related to the coronavirus enacted by the state legislature: 17

People who filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic: 1,503,109

Total amount paid to North Carolinians who filed for unemployment: $11,903,279,688

Pandemic’s peak unemployment rate: 12.9% in April 2020

Increase of people who receive food and nutrition services since March 2020: 354,285

People incarcerated in state prisons who have died due to COVID-19: 55

Drop in number of people incarcerated from 2019 to 2020: 4,952

Lowest average price of regular gas per gallon during pandemic: $1.71 in April 2020

Drop in miles driven in North Carolina from 2019 to 2020: 14 billion

Total masks ordered from private sector through DHHS: 47.4 million

Increase in retail liquor sales from 2019 to 2020: $189.7 million

Sources: The U.S. Census Bureau and its Household Pulse Survey, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, N.C. Office of the Governor, National Conference of State Legislatures, N.C. Department of Employment Security, N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Department of Public Safety, AAA Carolinas, N.C. Department of Transportation, and the N.C. ABC Commission.

This story will be updated.

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