In One Month, Covid-19 Surpasses Entire NC Flu Season In Number Of Deaths
Covid-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. Officials in North Carolina are watching the state numbers rise as calls for reopening the state grow louder.
By the morning of Monday, April 20th, 179 people in North Carolina had died of Covid-19.
Secretary Mandy Cohen of the Department of Health and Human Services puts that number into perspective:
"North Carolina has had 167 flu deaths this past season. That flu season started all the way back in last September. Remember for Covid-19 we had our first laboratory-confirmed case on March 3rd, our first death reported on March 24th, and that was less than a month ago. So in less than a month, we have already surpassed flu deaths for this year."
While there is positive news in the development of a vaccine, Cohen says it will still probably be 12 to 18 months before it’s widely available.
"Not only do researchers obviously need to identify and isolate the virus, and put it into a form that allows it to be in a vaccine – but then they have to do trials to make sure that vaccine is safe in humans and they have to make sure to look for unintended consequences."
If all that goes perfectly, says Cohen, scientists then have to figure out how to mass-produce the vaccine.
In the meantime, ramping up testing is a critical step before lifting restrictions. Governor Roy Cooper says the state has 14 private labs that can test for Covid-19, but they’re looking to the federal government for more testing supplies and personal protective equipment.