Local News

NC surpasses 10,000 COVID deaths

Posted February 9, 2021 5:44 p.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2021 12:11 p.m. EST

Across North Carolina, there are 10,000 empty seats at tables now. The spots are empty because of COVID.

"Together we grieve with the family and friends of the North Carolinians who have lost their lives to this terrible pandemic," said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state DHHS secretary, in a statement released Tuesday. "Each one of these numbers represents a daughter or son, a parent or grandparent, a neighbor or friend — people who are deeply loved and who were part of the fabric of our community."

Over the last 11 months, people from every demographic, age bracket and corner of the state have died due to the virus. Allegheny County has the fewest deaths, with 4, while Mecklenberg has lost almost 800 residents.

People between 25 and 49 years old have the highest case rates - making up 39 percent of all cases in the state. But that age group comprises of only 3 percent of those who have died.

The majority of deaths are among people who are 65 and up, despite that group making up less than 17 percent of the state's population.

Cohen said that's why state health officials are working to get that group vaccinated quickly and early.

"Unfortunately 83 percent of [our deaths in North Carolina] are for those over the age of 65," Cohen said. "I think that's why, when we have a limited supply [of vaccine], we went to the population that is highest risk of death.”

The state has been working with Walgreens and CVS to distribute to long-term health facilities, too. There have been more than 700 outbreaks at residential care sites or nursing homes, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. COVID has disproportionately affected people living in those facilities, resulting in at least 44 percent of the state’s deaths.

The state is targeting communities of color for vaccine distribution because data shows, they're at higher risk of contracting the virus. For example, 22 percent of people who have caught COVID are Hispanic, in comparison to 10 percent of the state's population.

But when it comes to dying from the coronavirus, race and ethnicity statistics are almost identical to the state’s. North Carolina's population is primarily White - 71 percent, and 66 percent of those who have died from COVID are white. Similarly, the state’s population is 22 percent Black, yet a quarter of all people who have died have been Black.

When it comes to gender, women hold a slim majority in the state but men have mostly died from the virus.

In addition to exceeding 10,000 deaths, the state also surpassed 800,000 total cases on Tuesday.

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