On Thanksgiving Day 2020, eight months into the coronavirus pandemic and with vaccine yet to be widely available, North Carolina was averaging 3,663 new cases of COVID-19 daily and 34 deaths.
A year later, with 68% of North Carolina adults fully vaccinated, new cases are 45% lower. Through Wednesday, the rolling, seven-day average of new cases was 1,999. Twenty-three COVID-19 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours and 1,113 people are being treated for the virus in hospitals across the state.
Although vaccinated people who contract COVID-19 generally see fewer symptoms and are much less likely to be hospitalized, the rate of infection remains stubbornly high. About 6% of COVID-19 tests came back positive across the state Tuesday. That’s just a single percentage point lower than the positive rate a year ago.
Health experts expect vaccination to prevent a holiday spike like that seen in 2020, when daily new cases soared to 6,192 by Christmas Day and peaked at 8,781 on Jan. 12, 2021.
Data released last week by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed unvaccinated people in the state are more 5 times as likely to get coronavirus as those who’ve been vaccinated. Unvaccinated North Carolinians were also more than 25 times more likely to die from coronavirus when compared to vaccinated people.