Data: NC’s COVID-19 mortality rate showing signs of stability

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina’s death rate due to COVID-19 appears to be stabilizing, according to a CBS17.com data analysis.

The mortality rate, calculated by dividing the number of deaths by the total number of confirmed cases, was at 3.78 percent Wednesday after the state Department of Health and Human Services reported 15,816 cases and 597 deaths.

That percentage has ranged between 3.61 percent and 3.8 percent during the month of May, a stabilization that stands as a stark contrast to the rapid climb of that figure during April.

The mortality rate was 0.61 percent on April 1 — when the state had reported just 10 total deaths — and rose to 3.6 percent on April 30 after the death count reached 378.

That rate has been above 3 percent every day since April 21, and reached a maximum of 3.8 percent on May 8.

Around the region, North Carolina’s rate falls in the middle of four other states that border it: South Carolina has a death rate of 4.4 percent while Georgia’s rate is 4.2 percent and Virginia’s figure is 3.4 percent.

“Because North Carolina took early and aggressive action, we are in a different position than many states,” DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “Our curve has been relatively flat to date. So, we have to evaluate our metrics within our state’s context. We have begun slowly easing restrictions beginning with more low-risk activities and anticipate continuing to do so in phases guided by science and data related to testing, tracing and trends. The number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in North Carolina has leveled off in recent weeks.”

Additionally, Tennessee’s rate of 1.6 percent could be a reflection of how it records deaths due to the coronavirus. According to media reports, that state’s total includes only deaths confirmed to be caused by the virus while omitting “probable” COVID-19 deaths from that count.

According to Johns Hopkins University’s online coronavirus tracker, the national death rate is 6 percent.

And calculating the death rate as a function of a state’s total population size — as statista.com does — makes North Carolina’s numbers look even better.

The state has recorded six deaths per 100,000 people in its population of 10.6 million, according to statista.com — better than Georgia (14), Virginia (10) and South Carolina (7). Tennessee shows four deaths per 100,000 people.

Nationally, New York has the most at 140, followed by New Jersey (105) and Connecticut (85).

The Johns Hopkins tracker shows the national death rate is 25.17 per 100,000 people.

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